Change can come quickly when it comes to the value of farmland, predicated on a variety of factors that include commodity prices.
That is why it is so important when buying or selling farmland to work with an expert in the field. Barnes Realty is a full-time, full-service agency that meets farmland real estate needs of all kinds.
“We’ve been out there ‘in the trenches’ every day for almost 40 years and I am still surprised at how fast things can change,” said owner/broker Rick Barnes. “From our vantage point, we see trends long before we read about them in the farm magazines. Therefore, we work to keep our clients informed about what’s really happening in the real estate market.”
As an example, Barnes said the company had a public offering on what he described as a nice upland farm near Elmo, Mo.
“It was a good farm, mostly tillable, with a good location on a hard surface state road,” Barnes explained. “It was a ‘no sale.’ Our best bid was $4,500 per acre, $500 an acre under the minimum price the owner had agreed to take prior to the sale.
“One year ago, about the same time of the year, we sold a lesser quality tract of the same size on a gravel road for $7,000 per acre. I know, corn and bean prices are a lot lower now than they were then, and that’s the reason, right? Well, it is. No doubt.
“But did those 25 people who came to the sale do the right thing? I don’t think so. Let me explain. I survived the land crash of the early 1980s. It was hard, but I made it and I learned something through that ordeal. It cost me a lot of money to learn it, but I’m giving it to you for free! Are you ready? Here it is:
“If you are a careful land buyer you will do very well investing in the land, especially in a down market.”
Barnes went on to say that land is a long-term investment that is purchased for the return it will bring over time.
“If you watch your debt level and stay on your toes you can make some uncommonly good investments as values drop and competition for land declines on account of short-term commodity price fluctuations,” Barnes said.
Investors will have another opportunity to purchase quality farmland with 143 acres in Brown County for sale at public offering on Dec. 11. The public offering will be at 10:30 a.m. at the Fisher Community Center, 201 E. Iowa St. Hiawatha, Kan.
Barnes described this southwestern Brown County farm as “a nice amount of Delaware River bottom ground with Kennebec soils and upland Wymore soils.” He added that there are 2.1 acres of CRP paying $226 per acre.
This land currently has a tenant who is interested in continuing the lease with a new owner through 2014.
Barnes said the farm has some excellent timber, perfect for hunting, where trophy deer and turkey have been taken in the past as well as a small pond that has produced some nice fish.
To reach the farm, from Powhatten, Kan., go a half mile south on Goldfinch Road, then 2.5 miles west on 170th Street, then one mile south on Dogwood Road to 160th Street.
Barnes Realty can help investors find exactly the right farmland, since it lists property throughout the Midwest and has a long history in the business.
“Over the years, we’ve become known as the ‘go to’ realty company if you’re interested in buying farmland here in the Midwest,” Barnes said. The company also can help investors manage the property once it is purchased, including finding tenant farmers to lease it.
As the company grew through its 40-year history, Barnes realized it needed a faster way for clients to view its listings.
“We started by using a small airplane, but eventually began using a helicopter, which did a much better job for us,” said Jamie Barnes, Rick’s son and business partner. “A couple of years ago we upgraded to the Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter that we’re using today. It’s proven to be an extremely useful tool in our business by helping us cover a much larger geographic area of the Midwest.”
Although Barnes started the company by offering traditional real estate listings of farmland, the company has branched out to include public offerings, a sales method that is similar to an auction.
“Unlike the typical auction, we always have a reserve price, that is a set price that we won’t sell below. If the property doesn’t sell for that much, then we sell it using a conventional listing method,” Rick Barnes explained.
Barnes said farms are sold in a variety of ways. They can be broken down and offered as multiple parcels or kept together as one package. However the land is sold, Barnes uses numerous advertising venues, including Internet sites, email and old-fashioned regular mail sent directly to potential buyers.
Prospective buyers can see aerial photographs and videos on Barnes Realty’s website BarnesRealty.com and its YouTube channel.
Barnes Realty is located in Mound City, Mo., with a branch office in Hiawatha, Kan. Interested clients may call the Mound City office at 660-442-3177 or Hiawatha office at 785-742-4580.
Locations: 18156 Mound City, Mo. 64470 and 1711 Oregon St., Hiawatha, Kan. 66434.
Contact: Mound City office at 660-442-3177, Hiawatha office at 785-742-4580 or Jamie Barnes at 660-851-1125 (cell).