Archive for 2009

eBay Real Estate Records 15,000th Property Sold Within Its Land Marketplace

It’s “all in the family” for the seller of 160 acres in Wyoming, whose family-run business sells land exclusively on eBay

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug. 12, 2002– It was announced today that Mr. Doug Caffey, founder of GotAcres.com, sold the 15,000th parcel of land within eBay Real Estate’s land marketplace. Leveraging the speed, reliability and exposure that eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY - News; www.ebay.com), offers, Mr. Caffey sold a 160-acre land parcel southwest of Casper, Wyoming to a buyer in Maryland.

“My family has been in the business of buying and selling land for over 35 years now - in an industry that previously relied only on telephones, newspaper ads and facsimile machines,” said Mr. Caffey of Costa Mesa, California. “When you consider that selling is simply a percentage game; eBay is a sure bet because it provides instant exposure to millions of people - without regard to time of day - for only a few dollars a day. GotAcres.com now sells only through eBay because we can move more properties, for less expense and with higher returns.”

GotAcres.com is typical of many sellers that use eBay as a way to conduct business. Mr. Caffey and his family specialize in acquiring and selling large tracts of land at some of the lowest prices per acre in addition to offering seller financing.

The parcel of land sold in Wyoming is home to many species of wild animals, including large herds of antelope, and was perfect for Timothy Buckley. Mr. Buckley was interested in finding a parcel of land that both suited his budget and helped him fulfill what he termed, “My dream of owning a piece of America.”

Visitors to eBay Real Estate’s land marketplace can preview and purchase land from across the country. Landowners within the market can either post their property for sale as an auction or as an ad listing to generate referrals from interested parties.

Doug Galen, vice president of eBay Real Estate, Travel and New Business added, “Without eBay, this marketplace could never exist, leaving millions of us city slickers without any way of ever knowing that there was that perfect piece of land just over the horizon.”

For more information about eBay Real Estate or its land marketplace, visit www.ebayrealestate.com or call (408) 376-5146.

ABOUT eBAY REAL ESTATE

eBay Real Estate is the world’s online marketplace for real estate-related properties and services. Launched in August of 2000, eBay Real Estate operates five core categories within its marketplace: residential homes, timeshares, foreclosures, plots of land and commercial real estate. Both individual buyers and sellers and real estate professionals can enjoy a complete offering of services that make purchasing or selling a home safer, easier and more efficient. eBay Real Estate is a business unit of eBay, Inc. and can be found at www.ebayrealestate.com.

The High End Rural Acreage Market versus the Low End

Trophy ranches located in the Western states are referred to as belonging to the “high-end” rural acreage market. The definition of a “trophy” ranch is acreage with beautiful views, trees, streams, ponds and excellent hunting potential. The value of such property is determined solely by individual perceptions of a finite number of wealthy buyers; in other words, the pricing of properties in the high-end rural acreage market is purely subjective.

On the other hand, the “low-end” market is objective in nature (in other words, it is not influenced by emotions or individual perceptions). The term “low-end” refers to the lowest per- acre prices available anywhere in the United States. This market is much easier to evaluate, using pure, absolute numbers, rather than perceptions and emotions.

What about price fluctuations in the high-end rural acreage market over the last several years? The premier trophy ranch real estate brokerage firm, Hall & Hall located in Billings, Montana, recently announced that $160 million worth of purchase contracts had fallen through; sales had plunged from $1.2 billion in 2007 to only $50 million for the first half of 2009; and prices had declined another 20% in just the last six months.

Now, what about price fluctuations in the low-end rural acreage market? While the volume of sales has slowed somewhat, prices still remain near historical all time highs. Twenty years ago (in 1989) the lowest per-acre priced land in the United States could be found in Northern Nevada, West Texas, Northwest Utah, Eastern Montana and Southern Wyoming. Large tracts of rural acreage and rangeland could have been acquired at that time for as little as $10 to $20 per acre. Today, except for a few isolated examples, the lowest per-acre prices to be consistently found in these same areas would be $250 to $500 per acre. This represents a price increase of approximately 25-fold, while during the same period the Dow Jones increased from around 1,200 to a little over 9,000 – only a 7.5-fold increase.

Thus, history reveals that it is almost impossible to lose money owning large tracts of low-priced acreage, if it is purchased cheaply enough and held long enough!

To view low-priced land for sale, CLICK HERE.

The Rural Acreage Game

Raw, undeveloped rural acreage always has been one of the most exciting and overlooked segments of the real estate business. This type of property generally increases in value through the years solely as the result of two inevitable causes – an ever-increasing population, together with ever-present inflation. In fact, history proves that it is practically impossible to lose money owning land if bought cheaply enough and held long enough.

Doug Caffey began dealing in rural land in 1967 with the purchase of 160 acres located on the slopes of Mt. Shasta in Northern California. On literally the last day of the 90-day escrow Caffey finally resold 80 acres for enough to pay for the entire 160 acres and immediately began searching for more deals.

In the ensuing years Caffey became one of the largest rural land dealers in the Western United States. He has been involved in the acquisition and marketing of approximately 500,000 acres scattered throughout California, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota, West Texas and Oklahoma. His partnerships and companies control millions of dollars worth of land sales contracts and trust deeds, and bank references can be provided.

Caffey’s view of the land business has always been exceedingly simple. While most land investors and dealers take the “subjective” approach (meaning that values are based on the buyer’s perception of future development potential), Caffey’s approach is strictly “objective,” (meaning that a low per-acre price is all that really matters). That is why in 1993, Caffey and his partner quickly purchased the 17,000-acre Blake Sheep Ranch that no one wanted in Sweetwater County, Wyoming — solely because the price was only $13 per acre.

Through the years, this ranch was resold in smaller tracts for prices as high as 25 times the purchase price, resulting in a profit of several million dollars. Yet nothing was done to the land, no development occurred, and the zoning remained the same. Price alone was what attracted Caffey and his partner, and price alone was the primary motivation for subsequent purchasers.

In Caffey’s 40-year career in the rural acreage game he has been involved in various interesting deals with a cast of colorful and notable characters, including the following:

Caffey and another partner purchased 600 acres in Whiskeytown, California and resold it to a legendary Hollywood talent manager and wheeler-dealer.

Caffey purchased the “Ranch of the Stars” in Lassen County, California from Art and Jack Linkletter and resold it.

He optioned the Ochotorena Sheep Ranch near Ravendale in Northern California and resold it to an investment group in the Philippines headed by a prominent attorney who had been on General MacArthur’s staff during World War II.

He purchased a large ranch in Siskiyou County, California from the Parsons family and resold most of it to Hong Kong investors.

In 1973, Caffey traveled to New Jersey and optioned 112,000 acres practically bordering Reno, Nevada from Curtis-Wright Corporation. Among the potential buyers he personally showed the property to was Morris Shenker, Jimmy Hoffa’s mob connected attorney who later owned the Dunes Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Even though the land was optioned for the amazingly low price of $25 per acre, and offered for sale at just $69 per acre, a buyer was never found. But today, that same land contains shopping centers, commercial developments and housing subdivisions and is worth many millions of dollars.

There were many other deals involving real and prospective buyers including Cal Worthington (the famous TV car salesman); John DeLorean; several movie stars; the president of World Airways; the vice-president of Harrah’s Hotels and Casinos; Robert L. Vesco (the fugitive financier who was accused of stealing over $200 million in the 1970s); wealthy Japanese investors; and several Wall Street tycoons.

Caffey is eminently familiar with all aspects of the rural land business including purchase negotiations, installment land sales, county and state subdivision regulations, release clauses, substitution of collateral agreements, ingress and egress easements, title policy issues, marketing programs, account servicing and collections, and institutional and private financing. Caffey firmly believes that this particular niche of the real estate business is in the embryonic stage and offers spectacular potential.

If you wish to discuss with Caffey directly any rural land opportunities, thoughts or ideas you might have, email doug@CheapLandinAmerica.com or phone (800) 421-7163.

To view rural acreage investments, CLICK HERE.

The Magic of Low “Per Acre” Land Prices

Is there a foolproof method of buying land that is historically guaranteed to increase assets? Yes, there is! The secret is buying rural land in the United States at a low “per-acre” price and holding it long enough.

Consider the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 of 530 million acres for three cents per acre, the Alaska Purchase in 1867 of 375 million acres for two cents per acre, or the vast railroad holdings and large ranches assembled in the late 1800s and early 1900s for prices ranging from 10 cents to $10 per acre.

Even as late as 1993, the lowest-priced acreage to be found in the United States (located in several Western states) was around $15 per acre, and by March of 2009, those same properties are around $250 per acre. The price rose to 16 times the original purchase price in just 16 years!

As a comparison, note that the Dow Jones in 1993 was 3,500 and today (March of 2009) is around 7,000, representing a price increase of barely two times. Does anyone really believe that the low per-acre prices of today won’t be a tremendous bargain compared to the prices 20 years from now?

Big-name banks and financial institutions have collapsed, trillions of dollars in stock market value has evaporated, billions of dollars in home values have been lost to foreclosures, and Treasury bills are paying dismal returns. Are there any dependable assets still available? Perhaps low-priced rural acreage located in the “boondocks” of rural America might offer some interesting possibilities.

Please consider the following facts pertaining to low-priced rural land.

1) Unlike many assets, low-priced land – if purchased cheaply enough and held long enough – has historically proven to be one asset on which it is virtually impossible to lose money.

2) Projections are that by 2050, the population of the United States will increase by 100 million people, yet not one acre of new land will be created.

3) Inflation alone can beneficially impact the value of low-priced land. Remember how much postage stamps, automobiles, food, shelter and a gallon of gasoline have increased over the last few decades?

4) Land can’t be manufactured, stolen, destroyed, burned down, or mismanaged and always remains.

5) Unlike common stocks raw land never “goes out of business” and can’t be outdated by new technology. Many excellent stocks of 50 years ago simply don’t exist today yet every acre of land that existed 50 years ago is still here and is worth more today than it was then.

To view land with low per-acre prices, CLICK HERE.