Tag: Alabama Land for Sale

Selling Land in Alabama – What is My Land Worth

Welcome to the John Hall and Company Selling Land in Alabama series.  This is part three in the series. Go here to read, part one written by Pete Hall, and part two written by Hoke Smith

Owning a piece of land for many has always been part of the American dream. It can provide a getaway back to the country for hunting, fishing, horseback/ATV riding, gardening, farming and building family memories.  Due to these memories and activities, many landowners will often “bake” these great times into the value of their land when it comes time to sell. This mistake can result in an overpriced listing that can be difficult to sell. An accurate value of your land is very important whether you are a buyer or a seller. Therefore, the question that is often asked “What is my land worth?

The first thing to remember when getting a value of your land is that value is only an opinion and that opinion is only as good as the amount of market data and the detail of data available. A contract is a fact, a listing is fact and a closed sale is a fact and those are some of the data points utilized to arrive at an opinion of value. The market uses the term “comp” for comparable sale or listing. The key is to make sure it is truly comparable.

Land is often difficult to value due to the lack of availability of sales and listings data. Unlike residential house, where 80% of all sales are typically input in a multiple listing service (MLS) and the data is readily available, land transactions are not typically included in the MLS. Much of the sales data is scattered amongst many land brokers and consultants and is difficult and time consuming to collect.

So, let’s move to the basics of what is my land worth. The first important step is to accurately assess all of the important economic and physical attributes of your property. I am often asked “What is land going for around here?” That is when I ask…What type of property is it? Is it crop land, pastureland, wooded land, timberland, cutover land or turnkey recreational land, etc.? These different types of land carry different values. My other question would be; “Where is it located? What do the surrounding properties look like? You get the picture. Not all rural land is the same.

Once the owner’s property type and description has been assessed it is time to move on to sales and listings of similar property. Sales of similar property should follow this definition of “market value” set by US Federal government for financial Institutions.

A definition of “market value” is below:

The most probable price which property should bring in a competitive an open market under all conditions requisite to a fare sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably and assuming the price is not affected by undo stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and passing title from seller to buyer whereby:

  1. The buyer and seller are typically motivated;
  2. both parties are well informed or well advised and each acting in what he or she considers his or her own best interest;
  3. a reasonable time is allowed for exposure to the open market
  4. payment is made in terms of cash or US dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto
  5. The price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale.

What this means is that when looking for comparable sales in order to arrive at an opinion of value is that the sale should be normal.

A land sale when a seller is forced to sell due to court order or bank foreclosure or where the adjoining property owner paid a premium because it was next to them is typically not a comparable sale.

A land sale with a premium sale price due to the owner offering below market financing (say 0%) is not typically a good comparable sale.

A land sale that was not exposed to the open market and the seller accepted the first offer they received is typically not a comparable sale.

A sale where one of the parties to the transaction was uninformed, such as a party did not know the true timber value or did not know the property was contaminated or had WRP easement on the land is not typically a good comparable sale.

Although most sellers would appreciate it if the adjoining landowner would pay a premium, this is not typically the case and is rare.

Once a sale has been identified for comparability to your land it is then important to research the transactional and property characteristics and compare them to your property.

Transactional adjustments include:

Property rights conveyed: Do all rights go with sale, mineral, surface, timber, etc.?

Financing terms: were terms normal or favorable due to owner financing?

Conditions of sale: Normal sale or not. Maybe the buyer paid a premium because they were on the back side of a 1031 exchange or maybe the sale was to a family member for a discount.

Expenditures made immediately after purchase: Did the purchaser pay a commission, or did purchaser have to buy access or clear a title problem after the purchase?

Market conditions (change in value over time). If the sale is a year or two old has the market changed?

All of the above have to be known, considered and adjusted for as it compares to your property.

Property adjustments include differences in:

Location: Area or neighborhood differences and proximity to major cities or major interstates.

Physical characteristics: access, topography, interior road system, flood zones/ wetlands, size, shape of site, improvements on the property.

Economic characteristics: CRP rent, timber leases, hunting leases, surface or mineral royalties or amount of timber.

Non-realty components of value: Land transactions often include personal items such as tractors, ATV’s, trailers or furnishings to name a few.

It is vitally important to understand each sale used as a comparison to your property to draw a credible conclusion in understanding what your property is worth. The more sales and listings available the more credible the opinion. Also, having the sales data is the first step to know what your property is worth but accurately analyzing the data is equally important. A business analyst once told me “just because you have the recipe, doesn’t make you a good cook.”

Remember, market changes are not linear.  It goes up and down and is like a wave in which there are troughs and crests within the rise and fall of overall land market movement. If your property is listed at the same time many similar properties like yours are listed, it could a trough moment where the supply exceeds demand and vice versa, a crest moment where demand exceeds supply if yours is one of the few listed properties for sale at the time. So, the number of listings also needs to be reviewed in light of the comparable sales.

Over the years I have seen many investments in land not optimized due to the seller not wanting to pay a knowledgeable broker or consultant prior to selling their land. I have seen this in other industries as well and have personally not paid for advice when I should have. My advice is to keep your day job and do what you do well and have a professional broker, appraiser or consultant help you with pricing your land and exposing to the market in order to maximize what you receive for it.

– Josh Hall, MAI



Selling Land in Alabama – How Does Selling Land Work?

Welcome to the John Hall and Company Selling Land in Alabama series.  This is part two in the series. Go here to read, part one written by Pete Hall

Selling a piece of property can be an intimidating or foreign concept to some landowners who have never sold property before. The following information is for those who ask themselves the question “where do I even begin” or “what are the steps I need to take in order to acquire the best value I can for my property”. We at John Hall and Company are here to provide you with the knowledge and confidence so that when you are selling a property, you know you are making educated decisions that will ultimately benefit you come the day of closing.

The first thing a landowner needs to recognize when deciding to sell their land is the understanding of what they own. It may sound simple, but when trying to maximize the monetary value that can be received a good understanding of what your property has to offer is necessary. Understanding what the property has to offer can be identified in several different ways. The location of a property can make a big impact on a property’s value. Depending on the location, the demand may be higher or lower than others areas. What is the best use for the property? Is it a potential development property, a home site, timberland, agricultural property, recreational property, or a combination of these? John Hall and Company is happy to help landowners wanting to sell their property understand the different aspects that will affect their property’s value. We do this by offering what we call a Brokers Opinion of Value or “BOV”.

The next question a landowner may have is “how do I value these different aspects of my property?” This is where you will need help. John Hall & Company is here to give our professional opinion with data to back up our statements, but we also have an extensive list of other professionals who can value individual characteristics of your property to help come up with a total value for the property. We have contacts such as certified foresters who can provide timber values, certified appraisers who can put together an official appraisal of your property, or we can use recent sales of properties that are similar to yours and in the same area to identify what other properties are selling for.

Once a landowner has a good grasp and understanding of their property, the next question is “How do I sell my property”. Real estate brokerages that are specifically catered towards selling properties such as yours are who you need to be looking into. If you have a home you want to sell, then a residential real estate agent may be your best option. If you are selling a commercial building, such as office space, then it would be most beneficial to seek out a commercial real estate brokerage. If you are selling a recreational hunting property, timberland property, farm, or other type of rural property even if it may have a home on it, then a real estate brokerage that specializes in that category (such as John Hall & Company) would be who you need to seek out. We encourage Sellers to ask as many questions about our company as possible so that you know we can be trusted and depended on. We want you to know that we are here to represent and serve you as our client in your best interest. Buyers for land come from all over the country. John Hall & Company’s marketing strategies are put in place to make sure that we are able to gain maximum exposure and in front of potential buyers.

After you have identified as real estate brokerage that you would like to represent you, the next step is listing your property to put on the market. A sales plan needs to be put in place and an initial listing price needs established. Once the real estate brokerage compiles all of their marketing materials and begins to advertise the property you may want to ask them to provide a monthly report on the traffic your listing is receiving through website views, phone calls, emails, etc. Upon receiving an offer(s) it would be beneficial to consult with your listing real estate agent and listen to their opinion. It is your real estate agent’s duty to represent you with your best interest in mind. Having knowledge of the market and experience in negotiating deals they will most likely have a good insight on how to navigate you through the negotiating and in turn ending with a contract and that is beneficial and pleasing to you as the seller. That real estate agent should then work with you and update you through the due diligence period of the contract and on to closing.

Selling land can be complicated in some situations, but it doesn’t have to be. The best advice for a landowner looking to sell their land is to find a real estate brokerage that specializes in selling property such as theirs. They should find an agent they can trust and depend on to represent with their best interest in mind. The end result should be you, as a seller, getting up from the closing table knowing that you got a good deal in a timely manner!

-Hoke Smith



Selling Land in Alabama – The John Hall & Company Advantage

When John Hall and Company is hired to sell your land, our goal is simple. We endeavor to command the highest possible return on your investment by marketing to a class of buyers willing to pay a premium for the time, effort, and stewardship you have poured into your property.

Selling land is our passion. We don’t see it as a job as much as a calling and serving our clients is our reward. As a 4th generation land owner my values and love for the land were shaped from my great grandfathers on down. One farmed cotton and owned a gin in North Alabama and the other bought acreage for his timber and cattle operations in Montgomery County. My father grew up on these properties, taught his boys to hunt, and our passion was fueled from lessons learned through conservation. My father started our company 35 years ago upon the foundations of INTEGRITY, SERVICE, and PRACTICING THE GOLDEN RULE. As such we only hire specialists whose passion reflects our own and who adhere to the core values he outlined so many years ago.

The experience gleaned from 35 years in the business, years of good will from building relationships, and first-hand understanding of all types of land transactions in Alabama ultimately give you, the land owner a significant advantage. We sell hunting plantations, timber investments, AG and cattle land, conservation easements, mini farms, and all types of land investments.

Selling Hunting Land:

The Company and Broker you decide to hire is the most important decision you’ll make after deciding to sell. In an overcrowded industry where corporate land companies have moved in and hired weekend warriors or anyone willing to get a real estate license, the industry has lost its heart and soul. You deserve a specialist with local market knowledge, technological marketing expertise, experience, and the information on hand to maximize your investment. You deserve the difference that results from using John Hall & Company.

There are a host of influences that can affect your property’s market value. Some you can control some you cannot. You may not be able to choose the timing or what pine pulp wood is selling for but make no mistake about it the broker who sells your land will make a difference in your net profit whether you are in a bear or a bull market.

At John Hall and Company we understand the significance the power of information will have on your net profit. When it comes to serving our clients, we have an intimate familiarity in the markets we serve because we put boots on the ground. We understand there are outliers and characteristics of certain properties that are rarely taken into account by most brokers and appraisers. There are certain areas where we find micro markets within the same county allowing us to justify a much higher bare land value than a property that is located fairly close by. It may be due to their better soils which produce better food sources and ultimately bigger wildlife. Certain areas may have been influenced by an institution like the bird dog field trials in Union Springs. Over time the field trials attracted a wealthy clientele of purchasers willing to pay a premium in this coveted area. A seller may own a smaller hunting tract surrounded by predominantly larger landowners who typically manage their plantations for trophy wildlife. Are you taking into account higher building costs and permitting issues associated with building a lake when assessing its worth? How will the new timber mills coming online effect the value of on your timber?

Whatever the case may be we can often identify these outliers and justify a command a higher price when we evaluate your property.

We have an incredible database of comparable sales we collect from the transactions we have sold, our relationships with appraisers, and the institutions that finance land. Being informed gives us the advantage when negotiating a price because we can justify it.

The biggest tool in our arsenal is our holistic marketing plan we have implemented to help identify and target our buyers. Quite simply, our strategic reach is second to none. We are continually educating ourselves in order to remain on the cutting edge because marketing in this day and age is constantly evolving. After engineering a personalized brochure of our client’s land we advertise the listing on a host of aggregator websites. This provides us the opportunity to expose your land on a local, regional, and national level. We utilize social media campaigns, Search Engine Optimization, create videos through our drone footage, and attract potential buyers through interactive mapping software. Newly listed properties are blasted out by reaching thousands upon thousands of past and potential clients. Every land broker and residential agent in the state receives a copy of the marketing brochure and they are encouraged to bring all offers.

To those of us who love the land, we understand the value of investing in hunting land is more than financial. Memories made while passing down your values through hunting and good stewardship cannot be measured in dollars and cents. The safety and security of knowing your family has a place to go during uncertain times is impossible to quantify. We know that during the time you own your property it’s almost inevitable that you will put more money in the land than it can produce. The financial that can result from investing in a hunting plantation is realized when the land is sold.

There are a host of influences that can affect your property’s market value. Some you can control some you cannot. You may not be able to choose the timing or what pine pulp wood is selling for but make no mistake about it the broker who sells your land will make a difference in your net profit whether you are in a bear or a bull market. When it comes time to selling your land, you can trust our team to guide you from the initial assessment through closing. I welcome you to take advantage of our knowledge and unique skill set in order to maximize your investment.

-Pete Hall, ALC

Click here for part two of this series, written by Hoke Smith, “How Does Selling Land Work?”


Land – The Ultimate Investment During Uncertain Times

As Alabamians began returning to work the reality of the new normal began to take shape. I, for one, was excited to get a haircut and to grab a meal from my favorite restaurant but it quickly became clear that the new economy looks vastly different than what we are used to.

Safety measures are being enforced. Social distancing is in effect. Bars, restaurants, retail, and the service industries are limited to the number of customers allowed in their stores.  Don’t even think about going to Costco without a mask! Gone are the days of cubicle farms as the down-sizing of office space continues. Similar precautions are in place everywhere from the dentist to manufacturing plants.  And how long will it be this way? By all reasonable accounts a vaccine will not be created, tested, and available to the masses for a year to 18 months. 

In fact the more we open the economy we find there are more questions than answers. What will universities and schools look like next fall? Will the manufacturing and supply chains throughout the country bounce back quickly or will there be enough demand? Will the stock market continue to vacillate wildly on any given day? Is my portfolio sufficiently diversified? Is my 401K safe?

Tony Robbins, the great motivational speaker has an insightful quote that says, “The quality of your life is a direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably tolerate.”

So how do we respond? We focus on what we can control and find ways to help our fellow man. We make sacrifices both large and small to protect one another and we adapt to the new normal finding dependable resources in the process.

These tenants are not new to John Hall & Company. For 33 years we’ve built our business around them. And because we implemented a holistic marketing strategy before the epidemic hit we were well situated to flourish in the new normal. In fact our clients have found that we have been able to provide the same level of customer service they have come to expect and depend on. 

Fortunately our team has not experienced a disruption in our productivity as land out performs other investments. We continue to list land and market our customer’s property through a variety digital marketing techniques including social media campaigns, email blasts, and Search Engine Optimization. We have been able to show land to potential purchasers through drone videos and interactive mapping software. For our Seller’s we still go out and physically evaluate their land to provide an assessment of value. We provide comparable sales data and up to date market analysis and then maximize their return by exposing the property to the right buyers. And despite the shut-down of “non-essential” businesses we still close transactions electronically and continue to connect our clients with services they need such us closing attorneys, surveyors, foresters, etc.

What many may not realize is that while the stock market continues to fluctuate and other commercial investments falter land values have remained strong. In fact we have seen as much or more interest in recreational hunting and timber tracts than ever.

My father, who started John Hall & Company is 75 years old and has had a few health scares over the last three years. He personifies the category of those most vulnerable to the virus. While he took all the necessary precautions, isolated, and worked remotely the single biggest blessing we realized was the family farm. The farm provided a safe place for him to go and find purpose. He drove out there several times a week, strategized with a consulting forester about our timber cutting program, fixed up roads, worked on the fishing lake, and managed all those small projects we talk about doing but never quite get to. I can’t think of one other investment or asset that can provide a place of refuge, financial security, and purpose other than owning a piece of land.

If you have been thinking about buying land in Alabama there’s never been a more prudent time. Call us and let our company find an asset that will allow you to pass down your values and create a legacy to leave for future generations.

Pete Hall

Accredited Land Consultant

John Hall & Company

Key Considerations in the Land Buying Process

Key Considerations in the Land Buying Process

When beginning the process of buying recreational hunting land in Alabama there is a host of considerations to keep in mind. In fact these key considerations are so numerous many are over looked in the selection process.  While overwhelming these factors are vitally important not only finding the right tract, but they will ultimately determine your enjoyment of the land, and your return when selling.

When representing buyers I provide my clients with a list of these factors to consider. But I also impress upon my buyers to clients pare down all of these options to the top 5 most important characteristics in order to aid in the selection process. What are the “must haves” and the “nonnegotiable?” Here is a list to consider when buying land…..


In a series of upcoming articles I am going to explore many of these. For today we are going to look solely at Location which rightfully so is at the top of the list.

Travel time – How far is the land you purchase from your residence or office, door to door? The travel time to your land will impact how often you go there. Distance from home will be a factor in how easy it is to manage the land. Will you need a land manager, a company to help with wildlife services, planting food plots, etc?

Location determines the price you pay as well as your exit strategy in terms of resale. Some counties have micro markets where dirt values are higher in a certain pocket of a county. In Bullock County there such micro markets exist because there are many large land owners of 500 to several thousand acres. It is also home of the field trials and many named quail plantations. You can be sure that your neighbor is has the same game management goals you do. They are planting food plots, supplemental feeding the deer, managing to QDMA standards, harvesting doe to control over population and for the most part are shooting mature bucks only. While you may pay a higher dirt value to purchase the land you can rest assured the land holds its value better than most areas.

Location determines the quality of the land you purchase and the types of hunting available to you. For instance the Black Belt region and outlying counties provide the soils and food sources that are major factors in the size of your deer, mass and quality of your racks, and your herd’s population. Water sources i.e. rivers and creeks provide better timber and food sources, cover for deer, roosting areas for turkeys, and potential duck habitat.

Location can determine topography which also effects wildlife quality. For example in Autauga County if you are south of CR 14 the land is level to gently rolling. It’s close to the Alabama River and the wildlife is bigger and more abundant. North of CR 14 the land begins to become hillier and even steep. The soils change and there are not only fewer deer per square mile but the size and racks are inferior.

Proximity to larger metro areas – If you are within an hour from larger metro areas you have a larger buying pool when you decide to sell. An example of this is the triangle between Montgomery, Columbus, and Auburn. That being said Birmingham buyers are used to driving two hours plus to get to their land and we have many buyers from Georgia, and Florida who seek out recreational hunting land in Alabama.

Distance to timber markets can make a big difference in the value of your timber. How far are you from these mills? What types of mills are they? Is there competition or is one major mill setting the price?

Location can also adversely affect your land value. Are you are close to a high crime town, a landfill, or surrounded by small land owners? Are there hunting clubs with the “If it’s brown it’s down” mentality?

For more information or if you need a consultant to talk about buying or selling land in Alabama call Pete Hall at 334 312 7099.

Pete Hall

Accredited Land Consultant

John Hall & Company

Autauga County 77 +/- acres – SOLD!

John Matulia just closed on this 77 acre recreational tract in Autauga County! Also would be an awesome homesite! We love to help people buy and sell land!

“Only a short drive from Prattville, Alabama this tract provides great recreational opportunity along with possible home sites with around 0.5 miles of road frontage on CR 119. This tract is composed of 45 acres of predominately hardwood with some pines mixed in and the remaining 32 acres is previously used pasture land that is now young natural pine regrowth. There are 3 food plots on the property well placed that range from roughly 1 acre to 0.25 acre with room to expand if needed. The 45-acre hardwood stand has practically been untouched leaving potential for new food plot sites, road systems, or leave to remain as a sanctuary for wildlife. A small power line runs down the west side of the property parallel with CR 119 giving a buyer access to power along with water nearby. The topography of this property is considered rolling with much of the property slowly changing in elevation 30 – 40 feet with a wet weather drain that feeds into a creek along the east side of the property.”

Call us today to sell or find your next recreational property! 334-270-8400


Macon County – 575+/- acres SOLD!


Pete Hall and Hoke Smith just closed on this beautiful property in Macon County. This was a highly diversified tract of land with excellent recreational hunting, fenced and cross-fenced cattle land, and rich soil to grow timber. It was a pleasure to work with the buyer and the seller on this tract.


Call us today to help sell your land! 334-270-8400