Forums **Ask A Question** Choosing a market in Alabama

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  • #23873
    Brandon Stephens
    Post count: 5

    Hi All,

    I’m a new member based in Atlanta,GA 3wks old and I’m trying to choose a market and ultimately do my first mailer in Alabama. I’m considering the following counties:

    low population density but near a city:
    N.W. Jackson
    C.W. Calhoun
    S.W Washington

    low population density and dom less than 100 days

    I’ve searched the forum doesn’t seem to be much conversation/topics about Alabama. Can anyone speak to their experience working AL or any of these counties?

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
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  • Collins B. Case
    Post count: 28

    Hey Brandon, I’ve mailed some in Alabama. I did not like it and do not overall recommend it because the property values are wildly inconsistent – too easy to overprice a bulk of the mailers. That’s my experience. But hey, there is no perfect county (that I know of)… and if you are more motivated to mail ‘Bama… go for it!

    Laurie Phillips
    Post count: 62

    Hi Brandon, and welcome. I’m pretty new too, and after a lot of overthinking – should I mail to this popular vacation county even though its 5 hours from a population area, etc. – I went back to Land Academy 1.0 and followed Steve’s instructions exactly for picking a new county. I decided being new wasn’t the right time to be creative. His process didn’t involve minute analysis. Just pick a county following the process, have some data to support your choices, and mail. That’s what I did, but you may have more knowledge of the areas or of REI in general so take what I say above with your experience in mind.

    You’ll find discussion here of counties that are a PITA, but everyone finds gold in their own claim so to speak. The forum discussions are one source to validate your picks, but its not the main source I use. The most valuable thing I’ve done is to pick up the phone. Call realtors. Ask them what the market is like. DOM is only one indicator. I found a county that is flooded with land for sale, but realtors only listed a few properties on the MLS that were representative of the others because there were only a few big land owners who didn’t want 1,000 properties listed at the same time. I’d never heard of that before. Call the county. They love people asking about an area. In one county I found a huge discrepancy in assessed value and found out that the local Superfund site had polluted a lot of streams and was still scheduled for clean-up. Just a few calls for each county also helped verify the retail PPA, and I learn a ton from each call.

    Good luck, and let us know what/how you do in a few months.

    Kevin Farrell
    Post count: 1539

    Brandon – Laurie is giving great advice here. As Laurie suggests, stick to the basics when picking a county. Get good data and then send the mail.

    Kevin Farrell - Moderator
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    Brandon Stephens
    Post count: 5


    Thanks for your encouraging words and advice here. For some irrational reason I have a slight fear calling the county and some realtors but I will do it tomorrow, see what I can find out. I’ve decided to mail GA instead of AL for now. I’ve just finished my first scrub now on to pricing and eventually mail merged pdf off to O2O.

    I can already tell I’m a data person love working in excel and not talking to anyone lol. I’m also resisting the urge to apply the use of this Data (commercial) to do direct mail campaigns for service business (lot cleaning, etc) that I can outsource.

    Laurie Phillips
    Post count: 62

    It’s a great feeling to get that first mailer out!

    Here’s an example of the value of calling people. I spent an hour last week on the phone with the president of the Wyoming state realtors land institute. I learned more in that hour about buying and selling in Wyoming than I could have in a week of nonstop reading.

    He educated me on:
    1.) Why listing prices for large acreage there can be useless for comps. Where there aren’t many local comps realtors use comps from more expensive counties, price the land irrationally high, and people uneducated about the market (i.e., Kanye/Kardashian) come in and buy at that price, creating a new, unrealistic standard for pricing. This may be common elsewhere but it was particularly helpful for me to be confident that I can ignore outlier comps and price my offers right-ish.
    2.) How water rights differ from other western states
    3.) Where to look to see if there are oil and gas rights that come with the property (they can be valuable if you get more than 50% ownership)
    4.) Conservation easements (it drops the land value but there are people that want this land too)
    5.) Water: there are places in Wyoming where they will never be able to dig deep enough to find water (and how to find out whether a property is likely to have that problem).

    That call will make a meaningful difference with pricing. I’ll offer rock bottom prices where you are more likely to get unicorns than water from drilling a well, and higher PPA where the land has oil/gas/water rights.

    I’m more of a Steve than a Jill – I like the data side better – but the Internet can’t replace time with an expert, so I call them.

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