Ray Swearingen, Broker/Owner Horizon Farm and Ranch Realty, LLC, said his real estate agency has three simple principles they have built their business around for the past 11 years: honesty, loyalty and integrity.
Swearingen said following those principles and treating customers like family has been at the core of their business since its start.
“Treat every customer like family and you will find that folks will want to do business,” Swearingen said. “We are ‘open’ pretty much all day, every day. When the phone rings we are here to help our customers.”
In order to do this Swearingen said it’s important to include a handshake, a smile, and social interaction when working with their customers.
When COVID hit the country last spring, most businesses were shut down or had to start doing business differently. Farm and Ranch was no exception. They had to make some changes that unfortunately took some of that personal touch away. New things had to be put into place to do business instead.
“Masks, hand sanitizer, and electronic signatures were the biggest things for us and our clients to grow accustomed to,” Swearingen said. “Gratefully, we have weathered the storm so far.”
Swearingen said the mandatory shutdown last year brought on a rocky start to business in 2020. It hit during the early spring months when their live land auctions usually start taking place.
We had over 18 tracts booked for auction when the mandatory shutdowns were ordered,” Swearingen said. “Keeping our buyers’ and sellers’ health and safety at the forefront, we had to postpone most of our sales and proceeded with caution when it was time to move forward.”
They managed to get through the backlog when restrictions were lessened. They took precautions to stay safe and continued to treat their customers like family as best they could. Swearingen said he was thankful for their understanding customers during this time.
“The customers and communities we serve have remained positive through all the chaos of COVID,” Swearingen said. “There are just a lot of good, hardworking people in our nation’s heartland...that is the best support you can have. I sincerely thank our past and present customers for their patronage and patience through these times. We are all family in a roundabout way at the end of the day. If we work for each other, rather than against each other, everything else will work itself out.”
He said the year ended on a pretty stable and positive note and that their 2021 spring sales look to be strong. He said the real estate market has several favorable things going for them right now.
“With low interest rates, a fantastic rally in the commodities, and the modest government disaster payments we have finally found a stable to slightly higher land market for many areas,” Swearingen said. “The housing market is crazy good right now with the low interest rates.”
He said he is looking forward to things getting back to pre-COVID conditions soon. There are also a few new business items he is looking forward to putting into place as well.
“We are working on adding a couple more agents in rural areas that have invited us in,” Swearingen said.
They are also giving their website: www.horizonfarmranch.com a new facelift. It should be live soon, so he encourages everyone to check it out.
Horizon Farm and Ranch Realty, LLC, is a family-owned and operated real estate agency based out of Bennington, KS. They have agents throughout central Kansas that serve the entire state.
Their agents broker farms, ranches, recreational land and rural homes. Recently the business has expanded into the residential and commercial markets successfully as well.
“Our clients are afforded both private treaty/open market sales as well as a public land auction service with a marketing platform that is second to none,” Swearingen said. “We also perform market evaluations of rural properties for our potential sellers, banks, and attorneys.”
Holly Hollenbeck is a contributing writer for the Reflector-Chronicle.