Forming an Alliance: Texas Alliance of Land Brokers
In the Beginning
In the spring of 1994, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared thirty-four counties of Central Texas as critical habitat for the black-capped vireo and the golden-cheeked warbler and were in the process of passing an endangered species act that would prohibit landowners in those counties from cutting old cedar and require permits for cutting any cedar trees for fear of disturbing the birds’ habitat. This infuriated many landowners, who felt the federal government was unjustly imposing on private property and state’s rights. That summer, Marshall Kuykendall, a ranch broker, became involved in the leadership of a push-back organization called “Take Back Texas”. This group was a loose confederation of ranchers, farmers, ranch brokers and property rights advocates who strongly opposed any form of bureaucratic power grab. The reach of the organization soon extended beyond those thirty-four counties directly affected by the pending legislation and garnered support from folks across entire State of Texas.
The “Take Back Texas” organization grew stronger and its voice louder; in September of 1994, approximately 4,000 members and supporters gathered in Austin on the south side of the Colorado River on South Congress. They staged a classic protest, marching across the Colorado River, and then a mile or so up Congress Avenue to the Capitol Building steps. There Marshall and other leaders gave their booming protest speeches to an energized crowd.
At the time, Governor Ann Richards was running a very close race for re-election against George W. Bush. Mrs. Richards supported the Fish and Wildlife Service position while Mr. Bush strongly opposed it. The protest got the attention of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and, surprised by the strength of the opposition, they soon retracted their bird habitat rule. This and other issues highlighting the ever-increasing overreach of government became central themes and ultimately decided the outcome of the election. The end result was that in November, Texans spoke and George W. Bush won a landslide victory.
Several ranch brokers were encouraged and inspired by the success of “Take Back Texas” and decided to meet on a regular basis. The first meeting convened in late 1994 at Twin Sisters Café, just south of Blanco, with 8 members in attendance; they called themselves the Texas Land Brokers Club. Since then, the group has enjoyed a very dynamic evolution and in 2005 incorporated under a new name, the Texas Alliance of Land Brokers (TALB).
Today, with a membership of 200-plus, this professional organization is now comprised of a diverse number of real estate professionals who are highly specialized in the knowledge of farm and ranch properties and rural estates. These members include licensed real estate brokers and agents, professionally designated rural real estate appraisers, and accredited land consultants. Affiliate members include financial institutions, property exchange experts, title companies, contractors, attorneys, surveyors, and a variety of other rural-oriented entities. TALB upholds that two ideas are central to success: ethics and information. TALB stands for education, broker co-operation on listings, ethics in dealings, marketing, private property rights and general camaraderie and friendship.
As a TALB member, some of the numerous benefits include the opportunity to capitalize on the Web visibility, social connections and the wealth of valuable information essential to navigating today’s complex market. The highly visible TALB website, launched in 2009, provides a strong foundation upon which TALB members can join a highly specialized social network. Members are encouraged to build an integrated Web presence that links a personal site to the TALB main site via a membership directory, upload personalized listings and contact information to the TALB property database, and allows them to attain immediate access to the network of other registered members. TALB visibility and member identification is further enhanced through a growing network of industry-leading media partners that serve to promote the organization and often provide discounted rates to its membership. Current partners include Texas Farm & Ranch, Lands of Texas, Open Fences, and Texas Real Estate Magazine. All TALB members are invited to attend monthly meetings. These social luncheons average 60 to 80 members and provide an opportunity for members to meet face to face, engage with quality speakers on topics highly relevant to the rural real estate community and share information that strengthens the TALB network and benefits potential buyers and sellers.
TALB is dedicated to making the quest of owning or selling “a piece of Texas” an experience in excellence. Each licensed member offers an in-depth knowledge of the details of the farm and ranch contract; land markets; mineral, water and timber rights; location of specific rural properties; as well as the political issues and government regulations related to rural land ownership. The continued dedication to specialized knowledge, a highly visible online network and ethical dealings with buyers and sellers have closed thousands of real estate transactions and today, TALB continues to grow.
Over the last eighteen years, eighteen presidents and dozens of officers and directors have volunteered their time and expertise to serve and build a solid, respected organization. The results of their efforts are evident at the TALB website: www.texaslandbrokers.org.
TALB is currently undertaking an initiative to open a chapter in the Greater Houston area. Once the Houston expansion succeeds, additional regional chapters will likely be added, as well. GO TALB!
For more information on Texas Alliance of Land Brokers and upcoming events, please visit www.texaslandbrokers.org.