Matchmaking Made Easy for Land Owners and Seekers
John Evans is young Floridian who is putting his real estate and web savvy to work for land owners. For owners looking for new revenue streams after Hurricane Irma, LandleaseExchange.com might be an avenue to consider.
Florida Grower® magazine asked Evans about what inspired this endeavor and to explain how the website works.
Tell us a little about your background.
Evans: I was born and raised in Oviedo. My family has been in various forms of agriculture and real estate investment since the late 1800s. While we were primarily involved in the citrus industry, we have been involved in various other forms of agriculture (celery, cattle, we currently own approximately 50 acres of blueberries across the state of Florida).
I graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2008 with a real estate finance degree. I came back to Florida and started working in what I like to refer to as the agri-real estate industry In addition to my role as Founder, President, and CEO of LandLeaseExchange.com, I am currently the Vice President of Maury L. Carter & Associates, Inc. an Orlando based land firm.
I was fortunate to be a part of Class IX of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute and Class 5 of FFVA’s Emerging Leadership Development Program. I give great credit to both programs as the education and experiences I received in those programs helped me gain a deep and intimate understanding of Florida’s agricultural industry.
How did the idea for the website come about?
Evans: Currently, Maury L. Carter & Associates, Inc. has more than 130 land properties listed for sale across the state. We also own and manage approximately 13,000 acres across the state (for our principals and clients). In addition to the calls we receive from people inquiring about purchasing our properties, we receive hundreds (if not thousands) of unsolicited phone calls a year on the properties in our portfolio from individuals and companies looking to lease or rent our properties for various reasons. The key word to remember is “unsolicited.” We don’t advertise leasing our land, but the demand for land use is so greatly needed, land users call our signs to inquiry about leasing property. Most of the properties in our portfolio are currently leased out for hunting, cattle, and farming ventures. I recognized that there was this enormous need and demand for private land use in various forms. I was astounded by the vast demand for private land use in our state for agricultural, recreational, agritourism, natural resources, and other uses.
In addition to recognizing the need for private land use for users, I also recognized an equally important element: Land owners want to generate or create additional revenue streams from their lands. By way of my agri-real estate brokerage career, I constantly have land owners ask me how they can turn their land into additional cash revenue.
So, after recognizing both needs, I set out to solve two problems. Thus, I created the concept of LandLeaseExchange.com. Land Owners post their properties for marketing and exposure for various reasons and land users come to the website, search, and find properties they are looking for. If there is a property of interest, land users connect directly with the land owner to start discussions about the property. We connect land owners directly with land users.
We offer land owners the option to post their properties for:
• Production Agricultural Leases — anything from corn and soybeans, to timber leases, to citrus leases, to cattle leases.
• Recreational Opportunities — camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, mountain bike riding, various equestrian uses, RV/Motorhome sites, bird watching, shooting, etc.
• Special Events, Corporate Retreats, and Religious Retreats — We offer land owners with the necessary amenities on their land to offer their properties for various retreats.
• Estates, Cabins, and Rural Lodging Opportunities — Many land owners have lodging on site that they can rent/lease out to those wanting to get out into the country.
• Agritourism Sites — Land owners can’t really lease these types of properties, but this is yet another way for land owners to market their properties for use to the general public, these include U-Picks, corn mazes, farm tours, etc.
• Communication and Energy — These are highly sophisticated leasing ventures that land owners can offer their property to companies needing land for billboards, solar energy farms, and much more.
Who are the ideal candidates for using the website?
Evans: We have two ideal candidates that can utilize our website:
1) Land owners who want to earn more income from their property by leasing it out for various needs, and…
2) Land users who want to use land for various purposes.
How do you sign up or make use of the site?
Evans: Signing up on the website is user friendly and easy. You can create a profile and search properties, or you can create a profile and post properties. Land users are free to search the site for available properties, and land owners pay a nominal monthly subscription fee to post their properties.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Evans: The response to our website has been tremendous. We have had hundreds of users sign up. Florida is now the third most populated state in the country. A vast majority of which that have need or want for land use in various forms. In addition to that, our state was visited by 115 million people last year alone. Other real estate sectors are getting in on the Airbnb and VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) mania and earning vasts amounts of cash income from assets already available to them. Land owners are no different. People want to use land, want the exclusivity and unique experience, and are willing to pay for it.