Ramblings July 2016

July 27, 2016

Here we go! I really need to work on that Self Discipline! It really is shameful that it takes me over a year to update my Ramblings. The only defense I offer, and it is weak at best….is that my old Ramblings usually have some pretty good information. I apologize.

If you were to judge the current real estate market by the number of new real estate agents jumping into the market, you would come to the conclusion that we have a pretty strong real estate market in our area! Consider these numbers taken from the Thomasville Area Board of REALTORS MLS. In the first half of 2015 there were about 304 residential properties that had sold. At the mid year point in 2016 there had been around 328 residential sales. That is a decent bump. This gradual increase is consistent with what we have seen over the past 4 years. (See Old Ramblings) Check this out. In the first half of 2015 there were only 5 residential properties that sold for over $500,000.0. The first half of 2016 had 13 Residential properties sell that were listed for over $500,000.000. That is a huge jump! While Farm land has not really been that hot….(although I still believe!)…..we have seen a significant increase in the demand for small acreage properties in that 10 to 50 acre size tracts, more or less. Through the first half of 2016 we have sold 3 tracts that have been on the market for years, where the owners really believed in their properties and it finally paid off with sales with strong numbers. These buyers were both local and from out of town. We have a similar property under contract now that we have folks moving back to Thomasville who are purchasing. I have not seen that much writing on it lately….but in years past you used to hear about how urban America would start moving out to the country…..I can see that a little clearer now. City Planners are pushing connectivity but with connectivity often comes loss of privacy and when you start sharing your elbow room…..eventually someone is going to get elbowed! Just saying. I think everybody should have 40 Acres and a mule. You have to keep in mind that farmland values always run in cycles and we are about 3 to 5 years out of historic high values. Yes, farmers are not making the money they were making a few years back. But you know what? Around here, those farm rents really have not dropped. I like that kind of investment. Another thing, you don’t go buying property a the top of the market…..this is why folks need to be looking at picking up Ag Land now to help diversify there investments. Lets recap…….farm rent on the land rented out to farmers has not decreased…….our residential rents have not decreased……so what does that tell us about real estate. How much interest are the banks paying you? CDs? Stocks? There you go. You buy low and you sell high. Now is the time to be picking up land/real estate. You ask any old Dirt Dog who has been peddling land for more than 20 years and he will tell you, “You make your money when you buy land, not when you sell it.” Consider the drop in Ag Land Value back in around 1983 to 1986. After that point Ag Land just stayed on a steady climb. Investing in AG Land is competitive and offers reasonable returns with low volatility. Ag land performs well in growth and inflationary periods. (Yea…..I picked that up at the conference!)

Farm land Trends

Locally what I have been seeing is that very little farmland is changing hands. I have not seen a huge drop in prices but as those properties that are on the market stay on the market with little or no activity…the price will adjust. Farmland prices haves softened which is why it is a good time to be making offers. As I mentioned earlier…the small land tracts are doing well. Land Use Regulations in our area, along with a limited supply in part to significant plantation holdings in the area….create a perfect storm for keeping strong price in place for small acreage. Toss in the fact that Downtown Thomasville continues to draw folks to this area and you can see how our demand for small acreage stays pumped up. For the Thomasville Area…the old adage really does hold true,” Don’t wait to buy land, buy land and wait!” That wait will not be long in Thomas County.

When I was little I had this book. I cant remember the name but the story went like this. People were messing up the world with pollution, trash, and things of that nature. All the animals go together and took all the junk and refuse and built a wall around the last remaining forested area. When the people wanted to get in because they ruined all of their natural resources the animals would not let them in. The animals did give them seeds to plant though. The people learned their lesson….and they all lived happily ever after. Always liked that story. Thomasville reminds me of that forest that the animals walled off. We are pretty much surrounded by plantations to the South and West and a strong mix of farms and plantations to the North and East. We really do have a wall of plantations surrounding and protecting Thomasville. These plantations do a lot for us. Just the other day my kids who are 17, 14, and 11 asked to ride down New Hope Road to Millpond on the (Long Way) home and they wanted to ride in the back of the truck….just like they did when they were 4, 7, and 10. I think it would surprise folks to find out just how much red clay is in the DNA of folks from Thomas County or most rural country folk. The singers, Brooks and Dunn, knew what they were singing about! I can’t drive down one of these dirt roads or take 319 to Tallahassee and not just flat out thank God for where I live.

I did get to attend the land conference down in Orlando back in March. As always Dean Saunders puts on a first class show. Great speakers, relevant topics, and awesome food kept the attention and interest in focus. Short Version- The Southeast is good. Hang in there and Hang on. Some of the conference topics were: Risk Reward and Land Appreciation, Economic Outlook, The Florida South American Connection, and Trends and Commercial Real Estate Outlook. Noted speakers at the conference were Real Estate Economist Dr. Mark Dotzour,PHD., Real Estate Center Texas A & M. and Paul Gheno, PHD., President Florida Ag Reserve, Retired. The Lay of the Land Conference is put on by Caldwell Banker Commercial – Saunders Real Estate.

Hunting and Fishing:
Common story these days. We are battling hogs. I met on a tract yesterday that several years back there were no hogs….now they have rolled in and set up shop. We have been working on the roads and feed plots and I am just astounded at the destruction these guys bring to a property. The fellow I met with was a local hog trapper. Very excited about how that might turn out. I have turned Colin out on the 4 wheeler (under supervision) and had him spreading seed with a drag behind him. The boy is growing up…..getting to be a real help. Colin is coming along on his fly casting. That pleases me. He shot his first buck this year…..a nice wide rack 8 Pt. What a moment! Emmaline shot at two deer but missed the mark a little bit. We have already planted plots for this upcoming season and we are ready to go.


Charlotte and I did a “Hunt and Learn Falconry Hunt” put on by GA DNR this past January. Now that was big fun. Just some daddy/daughter time. We took off on Friday and came back on Sunday. That really is some big fun running through the woods with Hawks chasing squirrels! Exciting to say the lease. Don’t feel too bad for the squirrels…they got away 50% of the time. Worth doing again. Thy brought out Owls, Eagles, and other birds for all the participants to check out. They also went into great detail about falconry, how they train and capture wild birds, and the permitting process involved. Don’t have a place to take your kid hunting…..Google, “Hunt and Learn”. Florida probably has a similar program.

I did an everglades trip this year back in late March with 5 other guys from Thomasville. We did not load the boat,(wrong moon phase) but we sure had a great time. We caught some reds and some snook and got our fill of casting flys under mangroves. We did not see any pythons but we sure did have some fun. We trailored two small boats down there and it was really a pretty easy trip…….except for that whole hub assembly I had to replace in the Bass Pro Shop Parking Lot in For Myers. Actually, at 47 years old, successfully pulling that off was the most gratifying experience of the trip…. I had to call my dad and tell him what I did!


I tied a bunch of Tarpon flies this year but have not been able to make it down but once tarpon fishing…. Now we have caught plenty of trout on the fly…..but it has been just a little rough to make it on the outside of Lanark Reef in my little boat. As I close in on 50, I think I might have to make one of those midlife decisions which involves purchasing a bigger boat. I think a Bay Boat.

Emmaline and Charlotte will be at the County High School this year and Colin will be at Thomasville Scholars Academy. Our prayers go to all the students, teachers, and parents this years. We are praying for a great and safe year for everyone.

My apologies for the grammar, spelling, and mistakes in composition. I am doing good just to get this done!

Continue praying for our country and our leadership and military.