I remember the day when we “took Texas out of Texas.” Mark Harman had flown up from Fredericksburg, Texas to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Mark was smiling in a way that showed pride, and he spoke with a drawl like a country music singer, chin cocked sideways. Cheeks were roughhewn, and his hair was sandy and wavering like a flag blowing in the breeze. Mark was here to interview for a brokerage position. He wouldn’t relocate, that wasn’t our point for bringing him to the Rocky Mountain West.
Our point was…to see if this shotgun bearing clays shooter would be as good at sales as he was in the field, and that was the fall of 2019. Now two years into this, we are sure Mark has the “knack.” Here’s what he has to say about being a Ranch Broker in Texas and buying land in the Hill Country.
Q: What do you like about what you do?
A: My passion for the outdoors runs deep and began at a very young age. Ranch brokerage for me is an extension of my childhood, days in the field and on the water.
Let’s explore this more deeply…when Mark and I spoke about one of his recent ranch sales he came off reflective. Mark’s childhood lifestyle was idyllic, and he can assist clients looking to buy land in Texas envision a place to show their generations what roaming is all about. A scenario where Mark “delivered an impactful dream” occurred with the relocation of California clients, Vern and Michelle Mangels. They set their sights on a property two years (2019) ago in the Hill Country. Set on 120 acres, seven miles outside of Fredericksburg, Mark showed Vern and Michelle their own “slice of heaven.” With little experience with rural land purchasing, Mark helped to educate this couple on how to take care of the habitat through management, conservation and enhancement. He created a real connection. He created opportunity. They called him with questions from home construction to lake development. And ultimately through their land education, Mark believes the Mangels will be great stewards of the land.
Q: How do you maintain trust with our clients?
A: By always speaking the truth and being completely transparent and honest. Trust is earned in multiple ways. One way is understanding the product with knowledge and wisdom. By placing the client’s interests in the #1 position always.
Let me take you on a “trip”…by placing the client’s best interests in the #1 position always, is due to the fact that Mark can constantly summon his deep passion for the ranches he sells. For starters, he brings the basics of the senses as he talks about the combination, he says it is unlike any other. No traffic. And a breeze. The sounds of birds bring him to a sense of clarity and home. Bobwhites, cardinals, painted buntings, finch, dove and the occasional turkey. The Texas ranch world is alive with their tweets and whistles that sweep upward in pitch and larger sounds of clucking, purring, and fly-down cackles. Marks says there’s an exact smell on a ranch in the springtime in Texas Hill Country, and it breathes like a grape popsicle; these are the mountain laurels. And an enduring appeal too, in the feldspar and quartz in granite rock, sighs the fragrance like earth and petrichor. In Mason County, Mark sees granite outcroppings with big boulders. If he could find the ideal ranch for sale in Texas for a buyer it would have year-round water, cascading off these granite outcrops and with that gentle-sweet smell, all bound together.
Q: What’s something people would be surprised to know about the ranch brokerage industry in Texas?
A: Interesting question and one I have not ever really pondered. Time comes to mind. I seriously doubt many folks have a good grasp on how much time a true real estate professional invests in their craft. This is especially true in Texas farm and ranch real estate. Time? It’s gone in a hurry and I can’t get it back no matter how much money I earn! A few of my clients over the years have appeared shocked to learn that I drive 40,000+ miles per year.
Paging through the chapter preceding ranch real estate, there was the petroleum business in Midland…Mark traveled to far off Texas towns. Mark ran mineral title in courthouses researching where surface was severed from the mineral estate, gave the data to the oil companies, who then decided if they wanted to pursue a lease; if they did, Mark would help to negotiate an oil and gas lease. It was monetarily rewarding, and additionally allowed him to get to know landowners during meals. There’s nothing like relationships created on the road. One day Jim Cauthen mentioned to Mark “you should get your real estate license.” Jim Cauthen was a partner at Lone Star Oil and Gas, based in Midland, TX. Their conversation is what led Mark into real estate, and how it all got started. Mark says it was a fantastic new arena of business, where he could use his confidence making deals. He had flexibility to negotiate for Buyers and Sellers, because in the petroleum business Mark had to do what’s best for oil and gas company yet fair to clients.
Mark’s bilateral commitment is telltale in this top representation. For those currently looking to buy a Texas ranch, Mark could become the most sought-after Texas Broker. At the time this article is written, Mark-through Live Water Properties-is offering two quality ranches for sale in Texas. The Spring Lakes Ranch in Mineola has productive fishing on four lakes, numerous ponds and creeks. The 280 acres has miles of wooded trails and productive hay fields. Secluded and private, the luxurious and modern farmhouse is an ideal retreat for the recreationalist. One should also investigate and visit Helluva Ranch, 1,000 acres, where the current seller has set the property up for great hunting opportunities. Located in Melvin, there’s a 30-acre lake to explore and diversity in the ecology on the ranch. This property’s price is reduced, the seller is motivated. Mark brings you up close on the phone or in person to all that Texas hill country has to offer. Explore Texas land for sale…and get to know the dynamic ranch spirit of Mark Harman.