If you are looking to buy or sell land in New York, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia, chances are that you have seen properties listed by Brian Bullard and Timberland Realty. Brian is an owner and managing broker for Timberland Realty, an owner of a forestry and natural resources consulting firm FORECON, Inc., and a founding owner/member of LandLeader. This is the story of how a love for the outdoors has turned into a career and the establishment of one of the most prestigious land sales networks in the United States.
They say that if you do what you love then you will never work a day in your life. This would be true for Brian Bullard except, for one thing, he has only missed three days of work in the last 36 years of his career. Brian does what he loves for a living and brings his passion for the outdoors and the environment around us to everyone he has the privilege to work with. “I thoroughly enjoy meeting landowners and seeing the really cool things they have done with their properties; there is always something new to learn and no two properties are ever the same. That’s what makes this so enjoyable day in and day out,” said Brian.
The Value of Understanding the Land You Own
Brian received his Bachelor of Science in Forestry and Natural Resource Management from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse and his Master of Science in Resource Management and Policy with a focus on Outdoor Recreation Management. In Brian’s words, “I can design everything from ski areas to campsites and have done some really neat environmentally all-inclusive subdivisions where I layout all roads, the site clearing plan for homes to capture specific features of the property, designed trail systems across all parcels for all users, pond design, common areas and more.” When embarking on a new piece of land, Brian can quickly identify nearly every type of tree, plant, shrub, and species of wildlife on it. To him, that’s the easy stuff.
The impressive part is that Brian can then diagnose exactly what to do with that land in accordance with the landowner’s goals. Want to harvest trees from a plot of land? Brian can tell you which trees to harvest, how long to wait for the next harvest, where your access roads should be located, and how many board feet can be produced. Would you like to cultivate your land for hunting? Brian can create a plan for you to thin out thick stands of trees to create underbrush that will feed and hold game as well as where your stand should be. To hear him talk about land is to hear eight years of higher education, 30 years of experience, and a lifetime obsession with the outdoors.
Bringing More Opportunities to Landowners
Brian’s finely honed skills stem from his experience with FORECON, Inc., his first professional job in forestry. The company is described as, “one of the oldest established professional forestry consulting firms operating in the hardwood regions of the Eastern United States.” When he started with FORECON, Inc., Timberland Realty was started by Brian’s partner, John Gifford who early on noted the value-added for clients if real estate facilitation was an option. Once John secured the brokerage license in 1987, Brian became licensed shortly thereafter. Timberland Realty is officially “a division of FORECON, Inc.” With the license in place, the company could provide consultation for how to manage land as well as facilitate real estate transactions.
Clients come to FORECON, Inc. for a variety of reasons ranging from forest management planning, environmental permitting, an interest in creating and improving wildlife habitat for all species, using the land for hunting, creating or improving wetlands for waterfowl, or maybe an owner wants to harvest trees for financial gain. These are all topics that Brian can assist with. FORECON, Inc. also manages over 200,000 acres for institutional timberland investors, REITs, and private high-net-worth individuals and companies, many of which utilize Timberland Realty to assist in acquisitions, dispositions, or both due to their in-depth knowledge of both timberland values and recreational property values.
Narrowing Down Goals to Get Results
First, he gathers information from the owner based on their goals. This may be to make a profit or it could be to further enjoy the landscape for recreation. Based on these goals he can make a recommendation. For example, in the case of timber sales, Brian’s input can be invaluable. “In timber sales, a harvest may not always be the best option to make a profit. Companies will pay a premium for well-managed land. If you harvest your timber and sell it with the intent of selling the property later, it may provide more profit to properly manage the land and sell it with equity intact,” said Brian. This situation is also where Timberland Realty comes into the picture. Not only can Brian assist with the management of the land, but he can also assist with the value assessment of that land as well as the sale. It’s not hard to see the genius in this plan as well as the total value that Brian Bullard brings to the table.
Growing a Rural Real Estate Brand
Timberland Realty functioned independently until 1997. Then one day, Brian was watching his usual lineup of Saturday TV, sitting with his dog, and drinking coffee. His attention was caught by an ad for Cabela’s Trophy Properties and he immediately saw the value in aligning with the well-known national brand. After presenting the idea to join as a broker for Cabela’s, it wasn’t long before business quickly took off. Timberland Realty quickly became one of the premier real estate companies for recreational property sales in the New York area, expanding to West Virginia and Pennsylvania. This relationship enabled Timberland Realty to grow until Cabela’s sold their Trophy Properties division in 2014.
Involvement with Cabela’s Trophy Properties had another benefit. Brian had become acquainted with several other brokers in the national network and among several of them, they decided that 2014 did not have to be the end of their business alliance. This group of friends and business owners formed the establishment of LandLeader, which has become one of the most reputable farm, ranch, and recreational property marketing companies in the United States.
With Cabela’s, Brian saw the benefit of having a recognizable name behind his real estate business, however; he and several of his partners in what is now known as LandLeader, noticed that the Cabela’s Trophy Properties business model had room for improvement. Brian wanted to establish a collective for real estate that was created by practicing real estate professionals. “The Cabela’s experience was great, but taught us that a real estate enterprise owned by a retail giant lives and dies at the whim of the retailer, not the realtor.” The driving idea behind LandLeader is to maximize value to real estate clients by using a national network of real estate companies to exchange ideas and maximize the marketing power shared between them.
Combining a Love for the Outdoors and Business Success
Timberland Realty is truly a family affair for the Bullard family. Patty, Brian’s wife, was his first employee and is a driving force in the daily administration of the company. He has expanded slowly and methodically throughout the years. In his mind, it’s better to do things right than to do them fast. On this account, he has done things right. Patty operated as a licensed salesperson while simultaneously running the office administration. Brian felt this was key to providing the best service to buyers and sellers alike. “I wanted my office administrator to know real estate sales, contracts, the laws, rules, and regulations to effectively deal with the public so that when they call they can get real answers and not always have to wait for another agent to contact them.” By operating this way, every piece of Timberland Realty is prepared to assist sellers and buyers and give accurate, professional information at all times.
Today, you can find Brian in the outdoors. Whether it be for work or for play, it’s all the same to him. He is an avid enthusiast of hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing, and camping. He and Patty live on a lake and spend plenty of time on the water. There aren’t many outdoor activities that Brian misses out on. He is a quiet person and has the subtle demeanor of a teacher. This is a good fit as he is constantly speaking at educational seminars about forestry, wildland management, and real estate. With his extensive knowledge of the topic, catching one of his talks can be an invaluable experience. Brian is an owner of FORECON, Inc., a founding owner/member of LandLeader, and an owner and Managing Broker of Timberland Realty. Under his patient and knowledgeable leadership, it is no wonder that LandLeader has achieved substantial success since 2015.
If you live in New York, West Virginia, or Pennsylvania and have questions on land, Brian Bullard can be contacted at: