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Posts by : John Hilton

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Sumter South Carolina

Tue, Nov 8th 2011 5:13 pm by John Hilton General

Sumter, South Carolina is known as the "Gamecock City" with the motto "Uncommon Patriotism".  During the 1740s, settlers arrived to establish roots along the banks of the Wateree River. The "Carolina Backcountry," as it was then known, became a predominantly agricultural area called Craven County, later Claremont County.

Today, the city retains its status as a major hub, both for industry and infrastructure. In modern times, the city has taken on additional dimension as a center for business culture and finance, as its rich historic homes and military support come together to form a destination for the east central portion of South Carolina. 

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Land Hedges Inflation and Systematic Risk

Mon, May 17th 2010 9:38 am by John Hilton General

Land hedges both inflation and systemic risk

May 10, 2010 3 Comments


Land hedges both inflation and systemic risk


On Thursday, May 6th, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell almost 1,000 points, a little more than nine percent, in 16 minutes, and no one knows why. At day’s end, the DJIA was down only 342 points, and everyone didn’t think that was too bad…considering the place it had visited.


Fingers of possible blame pointed in many directions—Greeks bearing debt, Jihadist glitches, automatic computer-trading programs, a trader’s “fat-finger” mistake, jitters about financial-reform legislation, too much sugar in Wall Street’s afternoon power drinks, a Madoff mole wreaking revenge.


A thousand point drop got me...

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13 Documents You Should Have Before Buying Country Property

Thu, Jan 7th 2010 10:30 pm by John Hilton General

13 Documents You Should Have Before Buying Country Property

By Curtis Seltzer on April 17, 2008

1. Copy of the seller's deed with the boundary description.
This description may be found in an earlier deed, which is referenced in the seller's deed. The deed may include the price the seller paid for the property, or tax notations, such as deed stamps, that would allow you to calculate the price.

13 Documents You Should Have Before Buying Country Property2. Topographic map with boundary lines drawn on it, taken from seller's deed description.
Use this map to locate boundaries on the ground and find your way around unfamiliar terrain. If a recorded survey is available, make a copy for your files.

3. Recorded documents, in addition to seller's deed....

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Legal Access?

Thu, Dec 31st 2009 10:30 pm by John Hilton General

Should you buy property without legal access?

By Curtis Seltzer on October 27, 2009

I learned this week about 150 acres that was priced at about $300/A. It seems to have a lot of merchantable timber, more than enough to cover the cost of acquisition. But I haven't had a chance yet to confirm that prospect. It did have two problems.

First, it came burdened with a conservation easement that prohibited any residential construction. I could live with that in a timberland investment. Second, however, was disclosure that it had no legal access. Is being landlocked a deal-killer?

Well, like so many other things, it depends on the particulars. These no-access deals can be winners or absolute ...

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Fourteen Numbers You Need to Know Before Buying Country Property

Tue, Dec 29th 2009 10:30 pm by John Hilton General

Fourteen Numbers You Need to Know Before Buying Country Property

By Curtis Seltzer on March 18, 2008

1.  Acres.
How many acres will the seller convey to you, physically on the ground and legally in his deed?  These numbers should be the same, but are often different.

A surveyor can plot the seller's deed description on a topographical map that you can use in the field. The plotting will determine exactly how many acres the seller can convey to you by deed and whether the deed description closes.  If the drawn boundary does not close, there's an error in the description. It's not uncommon to find either more or less acreage on the ground than in the deed.

142.  Tax-assessed value.
What is ...

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Timberland investing: Different ways to make a future buck

Wed, Dec 23rd 2009 10:30 pm by John Hilton General

Timberland investing: Different ways to make a future buck

By Curtis Seltzer on November 17, 2009

It's been almost impossible not to make money in timberland for the last 100 years. Whatever type you bought, the only trick you had to know was to hold it for a long time. The trees grew, increasing the volume of valuable timber. The trees upgraded themselves from small-diameters tosawtimber diameters, and when this "in-growth" threshold was cross it multiplied a tree's value per unit of volume many times over. You could cut some trees at the top of the stumpage cycle if you needed cash. And, finally, the dirt itself - often called "bare land" - appreciated as our population grew.

The "st...

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Get in Price: Key to Investing

Wed, Dec 16th 2009 10:15 pm by John Hilton General

Get-in price is key to making money in land when the future is uncertain

By Curtis Seltzer on November 10, 2009

During football season, we are bombarded with "analysts" telling us that the key to victory for one team or another is the offensive line, or "making plays," or winning a match up, or controlling turnovers, or remembering that the "other team puts its pants on one leg at a time just like us."

Only one factor determines a winner in football-which team scores the most points. One analyst summed up his insight into a game between two low-scoring NFL teams: "Points are going to count in this one." Can't quarrel with that. This commentator appears to be paid real dollars for his w...

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Seller, Improve your Land Marketing

Tue, Dec 8th 2009 10:13 pm by John Hilton General

Three cheap ways for land sellers to improve their marketing

By Curtis Seltzer on October 18, 2008

Three cheap ways for land sellers to improve their marketingThe devaluation in real-estate values that began in metropolitan areas in 2007 with over-valued residential properties is starting to roll into the country. Sales seem to be slowing.

Sellers lower their asking prices to move their properties in a market that's turned against them.

A cut in price will have more impact on buyers if it's packaged with three trust-building gestures that position them to make a deal.

1. Provide complete property information.

I advise sellers to put together a packet that includes the following:

  • Seller's deed with boundary description. If the seller did a...

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Funding your Land Investment

Mon, Sep 14th 2009 12:40 pm by John Hilton General

Browse: Home / / Funding Your Land Investment

Funding Your Land Investment

By Robert King on September 10, 2009

How will I fund a land investment?
Those beginning the process of purchasing land usually have a general idea of how they plan to pay for the investment. However, I have seen many buyers change their method of funding because they became educated on an option that was previously unknown to them and offered them some distinct advantage. Some may simply not understand the process or what they can afford. Following is a brief explanation of the most commonly used methods to fund land transactions.

Cash - Most land transactions that I work with are cash transaction...

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Land Valuation

Thu, Jul 30th 2009 9:40 pm by John Hilton General

By Curtis Seltzer on July 14, 2009

LandThink posted my weekly "Country Real Estate" column last week that discussed a low-cost, low-tech approach to estimating a property's current market value using, what I call, tax-assessed value (TAV) analysis.

This approach adjusts a property's TAV up or down in light of recent sales for similar properties to find current market value. TAV analysis is not an appraisal or a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA). It doesn't try to find a target property's value by tweaking the specifics of recent comparable sales.

What's the difference between market value and net intrinsic worth?It starts with a base-line valuation (provided free via periodic reassessments for tax purposes) and calculates an adjustment factor based on...

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Timber Cruise Fraud

Thu, Jul 30th 2009 9:38 pm by John Hilton General


By Curtis Seltzer on July 21, 2009

Timberland sellers often provide buyers with an estimate of their property's timber volume and its value. I've seen these take many forms: an oral opinion usually preceded by the phrase "at least"; a hand-scribbled scrap of paper that said "oak, $200,000, pine, $50,000" etc.; a walk-through estimate done by a consulting forester the seller hired;  several hundred pages of consultant-gathered-and-analyzed data sliced and diced every which way; and aerial images that indicate volume and other specifics, among many others.

Bogus cruises: How they work, Part IMy experience over the years with seller timber estimates in all formats is that they always need to be verified, and, at worst, th...

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Land Disclosure

Thu, Jul 30th 2009 9:34 pm by John Hilton General

By Lou Jewell ALC on July 22, 2009

Anyone involved in a typical Land transaction, leasing, buying or selling may be exposed to 93 plus potential Land issues. For years now I have advocated for need of a "Land Disclosure" form throughout our country. So far only four states have such a document available for the real estate industry and they are Arizona, California, Georgia and Tennessee.

93 Plus Potential Land Disclosure IssuesMost states have "Residential Property Disclosure" forms which are executed at time of the listing by the sellers and reviewed and signed off by the buyers during the offering process. We recommend these forms to also be used even in cases where you are selling without the assistance of a real estate fi...

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United States: Interstate Land Sales Act: How A Presale Contingency Clause May Negate ILSA´s "Improved Lot" Disclosure Exemption

Thu, Jul 30th 2009 9:32 pm by John Hilton General

Article by Daniel Bachrach and Anthony M. Rodriguez

Recently, in Jankus v. Edge Investors,1 the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Court) issued a highly controversial ruling holding that the use of the 180-day "free look" presale contingency clause in the developer's condominium unit purchase agreement invalidated the developer's use of the improved lot exemption from the registration and disclosure requirements of the Interstate Land Sales Act (ILSA). While the full impact of the ruling is unclear, undoubtedly Jankus will have a negative impact on the ability of developers to utilize the 180-day free look period while simultaneously availing themselves o...

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Due Dilligence Tips

Thu, Jul 30th 2009 9:29 pm by John Hilton General

Due Dilligence things to look for when investing

If you have decided to invest in real property you are headed in the right direction. Now what? There are so many horror stories deriving from title issues, environmental issue, financials fraud, insurance fraud, misrepresentation, and many other common mishaps when dealing with real property.

As you know it can be very difficult to identify your property/investment and then take the time to perform the needed due dilligence services.

This is where a good real estate brokerage and consulting firm is worth its wieght in gold. You can hire one of these firms with usually no cost to you and get top knotch service that you just will not be abl...

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Land Investment

Thu, Jul 30th 2009 9:28 pm by John Hilton General

Do you want an investment that holds its value in these turbulent times? Set your sights on land.

During 2008, as the Dow fell by 31.4 percent and home prices dropped 12.4 percent, according to NAR research, the prices of farm and pasture land generally maintained its value. Land prices usually stabilize during a down turn and hold their value during financial storms, says Lou Jewell, ALC, Dan River Real Estate Inc., Pilot Mountain, N.C.
Combine that stability with the low management and maintenance requirements and rising scarcity, and you have an investment ideal for these challenging times.

Land is the ultimate source of wealth. As the population expands, there will be more demand for ...

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