Land Leader, LLC is proud to announce the hiring of their new President, Jeff Culbertson. Culbertson joined LandLeader in May 2020 after having spent four decades growing his reputation as one of the nation’s leading real estate experts. His early retirement at 38 years old was short lived after selling Silicon Valley-based Contempo Realty to National Real Estate Trust, the parent of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. By his early 40’s, he was back in the game building on a legacy that has earned him the distinction of accolades he’s too shy to talk about. “I’m living proof that sometimes the blind squirrel gets the nut,” he quipped when asked about his accolades in the real estate industry.
Culbertson has spent the latter part of his career working with Coldwell Banker Real Estate directly and indirectly by training and leading thousands of agents and brokers to success. However, the opportunity to join LandLeader intrigued him as he recognized a uniqueness within the real estate industry that is largely an untapped national-scope business. “I grew up in a small town. Hunting and fishing was pretty much what we did when we were not busy playing sports. The LandLeader brokers are true stewards of the land. When I was doing my research on the group, and then later on speaking with the group . . . it became very clear that this group truly does live what they sell.”
He continued, “One of the reasons I was intrigued by LandLeader is the fact that they’ve developed a true niche’ in the industry. One that is not easily learned or duplicated. The group of brokers that make up LandLeader have been ranchers, farmers, foresters, forestry workers and land appraisers. The group has the ability to work together to appraise very complex and large land opportunities. That is a specialty that gets sought out by buyers and sellers wanting to purchase and sell that unique type of property.”
While the nation reels from a pandemic that has resulted in tens of millions of unemployed and the tragic deaths of nearly 100,000 fellow Americans, there’s one undeniable fact that is driving a narrative to return to nature—outdoors and space equal safety and freedom from lockdown. Hordes of Americans are leaving their urban settings that offer convenience of commerce and entertainment for a less risky environment for their families. According to Brooking’s Institute Senior Fellow William Frey, the 2010s were the decade of moving to the big city, but the trend prior to the Coronavirus pandemic had already shown a nearly 50 percent decline in growth to places like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Now, with the forced hand upon most to work from home, being in the big city with its congestion of likely virus carriers has led many to consider that perhaps a less threatening setting would be more beneficial—particularly if working from home can continue after the pandemic subsides.
“We’re seeing a 300 percent increase in buyer activity on our national website since early April, which is a clear indication of consumer interest in pure land purchase,” said Culbertson.
“We have already seen year-on-year growth in the recreational land purchase segment, but since the pandemic is creating a spotlight on home-based work, it seems logical that consumers would look into getting away from densely populated areas and find a nature-themed home setting,” he added.
Culbertson continued, commenting that Land Leader, LLC developed LandLeader.com, one of the nation’s largest online syndicated land sales portals, in 2014. With consumers relying heavily on technology to find properties, LandLeader.com provides an invaluable service for independent land brokers and brokerages not tied to a national affiliation.
Garrett Zoller, one of LandLeader’s founders who is based in the Pacific Northwest, says the unique tool for consumers and brokers is revolutionary by some accounts. “If you’re a broker or brokerage and are seeing your leads diminish due to increased competition, it’s no longer possible to be competitive if you’re not looking to the internet as a new marketplace to harvest leads. Using the web is not a new concept, but with mobile smart phones becoming the leading device for search engine use, it just means the likelihood of being noticed in search results and having client listings show up is more and more difficult to accomplish. In fact, the cost of having your listings show up first is beyond the budget many independent brokers and brokerages can afford with the proven decline in income all brokerages have seen the past decade,” stated Garrett. “LandLeader.com was the brainchild of several nationwide brokers who put their heads together to create one portal which is singly focused on land only. It is not built around residential or commercial buildings, although some land listings may include those structures. It is dedicated to mostly undeveloped and natural land areas or working farms and plantations that appeal to recreational and business-minded buyers.
“However,” Garrett continued, “one aspect an independent agent can’t easily replicate is the cost of marketing that continues to rise through technology-based channels. Frankly, a local agent or even smaller brokerage can’t replicate the visibility of leads that LandLeader.com provides for the lower cost we provide through sheer volume. By the time an independent broker pays for listing their land properties, it vastly eats into their margin. Our model allows for less costly promotion but also for a faster learning curve for newer brokers to get in the game. Our founders leverage their mutual experiences to train and cross train participating brokers and their agents on how to become successful in selling land properties, and that alone is worth the price of admission.”
While the country begins to transition back to the surging economy experienced the past few years, the real estate industry continues to grow in unique ways. Land sales growth has seen a 30 percent year-on-year increase since 2014, and there is a strong opportunity for brokers to rethink their overall strategy and diversify using proven technology such as LandLeader.com. During this time of transition, LandLeader is proud to follow Jeff Culbertson’s leadership into the coming months.