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Winter Haven-based land brokerage firm seeks nationwide growth through merger

Crosby & Associates, a Winter Haven land brokerage firm that Ben Crosby founded 38 years ago, is seeking to widen its scope of services through a merger with National Land Realty.

Leaders of the two companies say the union will benefit both parties as they build on each other’s strengths. Jason Burbage, president of National Realty, said he wanted to grow the company’s small presence in Florida. When he saw a chance to gain that foothold with a man whose business acumen he admired, Burbage jumped at the chance.

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“Ben’s reputation around the country is something most people would like to achieve,” Burbage told GrowthSpotter. “When discussions started happening and we realized there was some interest (in a merger), the excitement was primarily that it was Ben and his team.”

Crosby pointed to National Land Realty’s powerful brand in the land buying and selling business and its presence in 32 states, factors he said will help Crosby & Associates to expand its reach “exponentially.”

Ben Crosby founded his land-focused real estate brokerage 38 years ago.
Ben Crosby founded his land-focused real estate brokerage 38 years ago.(Handout)

“One of the reasons I made this decision was that people around Florida and people coming to Florida, may be dealing with (National Land Realty) in other locations. They will be referred to us down here,” Crosby told GrowthSpotter. “Reciprocally, people I do business with here in Florida and that I do business with in other states, having National Land Realty, which is mostly nationwide, there will be support. Maybe I can travel less.”

Crosby said his small residential division and property management operation will remain under the Crosby & Associates flag. But the firm’s commercial and land business is rolling into National Land Realty.

In addition to National Land Realty’s nationwide scope, Crosby said he was impressed by the larger company’s proprietary technology that his firm can now utilize when seeking to hook up buyers with the perfect tract of land.

Land Tour 360™ allows people to take a virtual tour of a property from different elevations and angles. Burbage said the tool can save potential buyers several trips to the rural property and a lot of driving around the tract. Some land sales involve hundreds, if not thousands of acres.

“When you’re in the rural property business, our agents and most buyers for that matter, are looking at a radius around their home that can be an hour, maybe two hours from where they live,” Burbage said. “Just going out and researching the property, the time it takes to tour the tract and the expenses associated with that can be huge. What we wanted to create was the ability for folks to research and garner as much information as they possibly can.”

Another technological tool now available to Crosby through the merger is LandBase™, which catalogs land data, such as surrounding property values, in detailed ways that can quickly inform a customer about a potential property buy.

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“The concept is giving folks the ability to get a feeling for what the property values are so they can do the research as they’re looking for property,” Burbage said.

Crosby went into investment banking after graduating from the University of South Florida in 1972. While making some personal investments, including in citrus groves, Crosby decided he should get a real estate license. He found he enjoyed helping people analyze and invest in property, so in 1983 he founded Crosby & Associates.

“In Florida, so much of our agricultural land is transitioning to other uses, mostly development of one kind or another,” Crosby said. “We help clients with the tools they need to make the decisions about when it’s the right time, what the right price is and what they do next with that capital.”

Founded in Greenville, S.C. in 2007, National Land Realty is a full-service real estate brokerage company specializing in farm, ranch, recreational, plantation, timber, equestrian, waterfront and commercial land. The company has more than 70 offices in 32 states from coast to coast.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at Newsroom@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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