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Buying Land

How Buying Land Led to Unexpected Blessings

December 22, 2021

The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.

– Psalm 85:12

There are many things to consider when thinking about what a piece of ground can do for a family, but Harvest is a powerful one. The harvest of crops, vegetables, timber, and even memories comes to mind. When my wife Heather and I decided to buy a piece of land we never knew all the ways the Lord would bless us through that purchase and that journey. We never expected to be moved by the mountain that would eventually be under our boots on that chilly January afternoon.

I’ve always dreamed of owning my own piece of ground. I grew up in the outdoors and always found a struggle between what I wanted to do and what the landowner who was leasing me the hunting rights on that ground would let me do. If only I could own the land and then I could do what I wanted. It was always a dream with heavy ties to wildlife. I always viewed a property and ranked it based on how likely I thought it could become a turn-key deer and turkey hunting property. Were there sanctuaries and ample food? Could it be accessed from multiple directions? Does it have live water? Was it diverse? After getting married and probably driving my wife insane by talking about this dream non-stop, I somehow roped her into getting on board. Although owning land didn’t start out as a dream for her in the beginning of our search, she did have a wish list of features. She wanted a place to stay or camp on the property, a creek for our future children to enjoy, a nice place for a garden so we could share homegrown vegetables with the family, and it just had to feel right. What I didn’t know at the time was that I would end up giving up some of the things I thought would make the property perfect, but in the end, we ended up with the perfect place for us.

My wife Heather and I after a day of work

I only had my real estate license for a couple of months when I sent my wife a pin on a map. I asked her to drive by and look at the place on her way home from a small town boutique. As she and her mom headed to the pin, the GPS on her phone took her down a 2 lane county road that was a shortcut or cutoff road between two state highways here in Arkansas. She passed a banner hanging on a fence that read, “for sale by owner-40 acres with a shop”. All she knew was it was a pretty area and she thought it looked like there was a creek on the property but it was hard to tell from the road. Here I am with a real estate license in my pocket and my wife finds the property we would end up buying! It has a cold mountain spring water creek on it, a shop with a wood stove that is now doubling as a cabin, and perfect place for a garden. Even though you can only access it from one side and it is all pretty much-closed canopy forest, I am a man that loves a challenge and a project, so I’m slowly but surely on the right track of making the habitat some of the best in the area.

I knew after walking the land that it had quite a bit of mature timber on it, but I didn’t grow up around big timber. Being from Central Oklahoma, to me, big mature oaks were blackjack trees. The country I hunted on growing up was in the Cross-Timbers region of Oklahoma with short scrubby oaks, slow-growing hickories, and thickets of cedars. I hoped I had at least enough timber to trade it out for some dozer work to establish some trails and food plot locations. Little did I know, we would make a deal with a logger for a significant timber harvest. I knew to accomplish the habitat goals, I needed to open the canopy to allow some sunlight to the forest floor so natural grasses and forbs would grow to provide browse, bedding, and brooding areas for the deer and turkey. There was a new sawmill on the 2 lane highway that leads to our road, so I figured I would stop in and drop off some National Land Realty hats and introduce myself. When talking to the logger who had started the sawmill, I mentioned my 40 acres just down the road. “Let’s go look at it,” he said. He found quite a bit of mature walnut for it being just a 40-acre tract. I also wanted to take out some of the really mature white and red oak as well. Not only did we come to a deal on the timber that day, but as we were hiking to the top of the mountain, he gave me the go-ahead to list his house on 10 acres since they were moving to the land of the mill was on. I thanked God for leading me there. He didn’t just lead me to the mill and to the logger. He led me to the LAND. If it wouldn’t have been for my wife and I being led to that steep, rocky, overgrown 40-acre mountain property, I probably never would have walked into that office at the mill.

I only had one transaction under my belt prior to buying the property. It was a cash sale that went under contract 3 days after I listed it. A 3.5-acre lot to build on, no financing, no survey or appraisal: it was too easy. Managing my own transaction so early in my real estate career gave me the opportunity to learn without having to do it at the expense of someone else’s purchase. I made a relationship with one of the best surveyors in Northwest Arkansas, who I still use and refer clients to today. I developed a great friendship with my loan officer at Farm Credit. He was one of the first people I have become close friends with since moving to Arkansas that wasn’t introduced to me by my wife. We also have created a referral pipeline for sharing business as well. I am also great friends with the logger who harvested the timber from the property. Getting started in the world of real estate has given me many struggles, but this is the first job that I’ve ever been passionate about. I’ve finally started a career. It was a bold move for me to take the chance to make this dream a reality, and with the support of my amazing wife, the connections that God has led me to, hard work, and the help from my brokerage, I can see prosperity on the horizon.

Our land purchase has grown to influence a multitude of aspects in our lives, as well as those of our family and friends, in ways that I could never have predicted. This next part of my story illustrates just that.

I didn’t grow up in a religious household. I had elders in my family who were spiritual, but I didn’t attend church regularly as a child. I didn’t find my faith until I was in my twenties. After moving to Arkansas when I married Heather, I expressed wanting to be baptized. I prayed about it and didn’t want to force it. I knew God would make it happen on His timing. Heather’s grandpa is pretty much considered the spiritual leader of her family. I felt led to ask him to perform the baptism. We all just assumed it would take place in Beaver Lake, which is close to where we live and where many of their family members had been baptized. Grandpa came to me in the early months of summer and told me, “the Lord said I’m supposed to baptize you on the 4th of July”; my favorite holiday! For some reason, I asked him if we could do it in the creek on our 40 acres. We planned a small lunch of sandwiches and cokes and invited my wife’s immediate family to come. The day was great and I felt like a new man!

Heather’s aunt and uncle were two of the family members that came that day. About a month ago, Heather’s uncle became sick. He had been in the hospital for 3 weeks. He is the only member of their household who works, doing remodel work as a self-employed contractor. If he’s off work, he’s not getting paid. Their family was on my heart when I remembered our first timber check. We do a weekly tithe of 10 percent of Heather’s income to our church, but normally with my commission checks not being on a set schedule, we hold that 10 percent back and give that tithe to someone who we feel God shows us is in need. We had placed 10 percent of that timber money in an envelope and put it in our safe. I talked to Heather, we prayed about it, and then agreed that we needed to give that 500 dollars to her aunt to help them with bills that were piling up. We wrote her a note explaining to her where that money came from and why we were led to give it. I cried while writing it. If it wouldn’t have been for that harvest of timber on our land, we wouldn’t have been able to pass on that blessing.

I have always known that God would use me in the outdoors. That’s when I feel most connected to him. I have always longed to be in a position where I could turn my love for wildlife and the countryside into a career that could support my family. I knew it was the right decision when I lost my job and found myself in real estate school that I wanted to specialize in selling land. Little did I know that BUYING land would lead me to so many blessings and allow me to bless those around me. It didn’t matter that its steep, rocky, and tough to navigate, every inch of it is His creation and the Bible tells us this:

Abraham called that place “the Lord will provide”. And to this day it is said, on the mountain of the Lord, it will be provided.

– Genesis 22:14

About the Author
Ryan Harris joined National Land Realty in September 2020 with 10 years of experience in helping hunters and landowners lease land for hunting rights. He also owns a part-time taxidermy business, Bonehead Taxidermy. Ryan and his wife, Heather, recently purchased 40 acres of their own and plan to use it as a model property for a habitat management and consulting business. He is also a member of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). Ryan and his wife live on Beaver Lake, just outside of Rogers, Arkansas. They have 2 cats, Bob and Marley, and 1 dog, Dolly. In his free time, Ryan enjoys spending time on his boat, crappie fishing, and just enjoying all things “lake life.” Ryan and Heather love spending time with their friends and family, and doing different fundraisers and activities to help their local community. View Ryan's Listings and Reviews on NationalLand.com