Three tools to help you find Land

Real Estate Agent with Land Pro Real Estate, Inc. 168366

Three tools to help you find Land.


Several articles have come out about how you find Land to invest in. Here are three tools I have used for years to help locate and evaluate Land.

 If you are interested in a specific market area Google the county and state and use the search words "Surry County NC MLS" for example.  MLS stands for Mutable Listing Service. Wikipedia defines MLS "A Multiple Listing Service (MLS, also Multiple Listing System or Multiple Listings Service) is a suite of services that enables brokers to establish contractual offers of compensation (among brokers), facilitates cooperation with other broker participants, accumulates and disseminates information to enable appraisals, and is a facility for the orderly correlation and dissemination of listing information to better serve broker's clients, customers and the public. A multiple listing service's database and software is used by real estate brokers in real estate .... representing sellers under a listing contract to widely share information about properties with other brokers who may represent potential buyers or wish to cooperate with a seller's broker in finding a buyer for the property or asset.® The listing data stored in a multiple listing service's database is the proprietary information of the broker who has obtained a listing agreement with a property's seller."

This is the data source used by most real estate firms to promote and share their listings around the country to members of their local MLS. Not all areas have a MLS, and it makes it harder to source information for what is available.  A lot of real estate company websites have linked with their local MLS service and through IDX, International Data Exchange, all data is feed to their site usually once a day.

 If you are looking in an area without a MLS service, you will have to rely on the local real estate firm to help you.  Not all MLS organizations participate in IDX.

 Wikipedia defines IDX  "An Internet Data Exchange (IDX) is a real estate property search site which allows the public to conduct searches of approved Multiple Listing Service properties in a certain area.

Site users generally gain the benefit of anonymous property searching and review. IDX sites usually provide less detailed information than the full Realtor Multiple Listing Service, limiting the data to that which is deemed publicly accessible. This system benefits both parties. The benefit to realtors is that users of their IDX web site can search freely, establish some confidence, and qualify themselves before contacting the realtor. The benefits to clients are to save time and refine his target.

Certain rules apply to the real estate companies' ability to display each detail about a property. These "display rules" are set by the Multiple Listing Service organization, which generally forms its policy around the recommendations of the National Association of Realtors.

IDX policy is nearing its replacement by a new Internet Listing Display policy being formed by the National Association of Realtors.

A common and standard data exchange protocol for IDX information is the Real Estate Transaction Specification or RETS."

 By identifying a real estate company, and there may be more than one, this link service will have all current listings in their jurisdictions. Our MLS service in our immediate market is the Triad Mutable Listing Service.  It is based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and currently has 19,000+ active listings posted and covers 14 counties around Winston-Salem to include several counties in Southern Virginia. We also on our company website have links to five other MLS sites in our expanded market, but these MLS organizations do not have IDX services.

 There are several versions of the IDX system and for example, our site has the most current version of IDX MLS feeds. One of the problems with a lot of the "Third Party Users" sites is that they are not updated frequently or rely on the agent to keep them up. This can be frustrating in that when you find something you really like to find out that it was closed six months ago.

 Another tool is GIS, Geographic Information System.  According to "A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts.

A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared."

If you are looking for Land...Google "Surry County NC GIS", for example. If the county or jurisdiction has a GIS site, you will be able to pull up aerials and possibly  topography maps, flood pains, tax cards, deed information, soils,  school and fire districts and other important information. These sites are invaluable tools for evaluating Land. Most counties have GIS for their jurisdiction, but there are still a lot of areas that do not. It those situations, use Google Earth maps. The drawback  with Google Earth, which is a wonderful tool is that they do not incorporate tax maps for specific parcels, which makes it hard to evaluate a particular site.  It also is lacking with another information that a county or jurisdiction will have found on a GIS site.

 Last, go to  Realtors® Land Institute and find a Realtor® who has had formal Land training. We are not taught anything about Land in real estate school so 99.9% of our Realtors® have no formal Land training. These three combinations will help you find that right Land investment.

 Here is a bonus. Watch for RPR "Realtor Property Resource"  According to RPRblog,  NAR's "Second Century Initiatives include the creation of the Realtors Property ResourceTM (RPR), an online real estate library/archive that will provide real estate professionals with data on every property in the United States.

This initiative will provide access to a national database of real property information and will give real estate professionals the best access to real property information needed to serve their clients and customers. It will include in-depth, trusted information on every parcel of real property, including public record information, details of prior transactions, MLS-provided information, zoning information, transfer tax information, and other relevant information.

The initiative will be based on the collaborative efforts of REALTORS® and the real estate community, including MLSs. It will drive development and implementation of data standards and definitions, and will increase the breadth, depth, immediacy and power of real estate information available to REALTORS®.

The RPRTM will provide unmatched access to a single-source national compilation of tax and assessment data; property data; neighborhood, school, demographic and psychographic information; and maps, trends and reports. It will be exclusive to members of NAR, and members of subscribing MLS/CIE's who are participants of the RPR.

 There will be no public access to the RPRTM, and the database and its data cannot be shared through consumer websites.

The RPRTM is not a national MLS, and will carry no offers of cooperation and compensation comparable data, liens, zoning, permits, environmental, neighborhoods, school districts and community demographics."

This soon to be launched site as mentioned above will be only for Realtors®. There will be ways  to identify the users once the site has been launched.



Lou Jewell ALC

Accredited land Consultant

"An Advocate for Land"



Comments (2)


Great advice, Lou..."...find a Realtor® who has had formal Land training..."

and I am adding this    ->    !!!!!!!!!!

Sep 24, 2010 07:34 AM
Lou Jewell ALC
Land Pro Real Estate, Inc. - Pilot Mountain, NC

Thanks janeAnne~.... You understand.

Sep 24, 2010 08:39 AM