Welcome to our ranch broker question and answer series. Each month, we feature one of Mirr Ranch Group’s knowledgeable and experienced brokers.
This month, we’re showcasing one of our Senior Vice Presidents, Jared Souza. Also an outfitter, he has a lifetime of practical ranch experience gained from living and working on ranches throughout the West.
Read on to find out more about Jared, how he became a ranch broker, and what makes him tick.
All About Wyoming Ranch Real Estate Pro: Jared Souza
Q: Why did you get involved with ranch brokerage?
A: I got involved with the ranch real estate business by accident. I grew up on a ranch, and my father was always a cowboy and ranch manager, as well as my grandfather, and all my uncles. Cattle, horses, and hard work were all I knew, and I loved every aspect of it and never really pictured myself doing anything else but working on a ranch.
After college, I went back to the ranch working under my dad on an absentee owner, cow-calf operation, and worked there for several years. During that time I got exposed to some very successful businessmen that used to come to the ranch and hang out. This kinda opened my eyes to things I didn’t even know existed in the world.
One of these individuals was Ken Mirr himself. He had represented my boss at the time on the purchase of the ranch I worked on and visited frequently. We developed a relationship over the years and when he decided to start Mirr Ranch Group, he offered me a position. The timing wasn’t quite right at that point, but I never forgot about the opportunity. A few years later when my family started to grow, I decided I wanted something more than what just ranching would offer me, and I jumped in with both feet into a real estate career.
Q: When did you know that ranch brokerage was your calling?
A: I knew ranch real estate was my calling when I closed my first deal. I had an outfitting business, so I’ve always enjoyed building relationships with people and obviously spending time outdoors. I remember when I started showing my first ranch property and it came at a unique time.
It was 2012, and properties weren’t flying off the shelves by any means. We were in an extreme drought, fires everywhere, and we were still in recovery mode from 2008. It was a buyer’s market, there was plenty of inventory, and it seemed that the ranch buyers that were shopping then were tough characters.
I pretty much got thrown to the wolves, and I realized real quick that I enjoyed pretty much every aspect of it. From shaking hands, touring the property, sharing my love for the land and the lifestyle, and negotiating and being a problem solver – this was the life for me.
Q: What’s your biggest challenge as a ranch broker?
A: My biggest challenge as a ranch broker is competitiveness. This is a big competitive environment. There’s a lot of good ranch brokerages out there, and there’s a lot of good ranch brokers. And we’re dealing with a finite product, on both the buying and the selling side. To capitalize on such a small marketplace is one of my biggest challenges, and about the only way I’ve figured out how to get anything out of that was just hustling, and doing the best job I can.
We are a boutique firm and because of this, I have had tons of exposure to a number of different real estate issues and hurdles, including negotiations with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, boundary disputes, access, environmental issues, Spanish Lands Grants, conservation easements, settlements, and forced partitions.
I have served as an expert witness on a number of cases and while I don’t consider myself an expert, I have managed to wade myself through some very complex issues. I sleep well at night because I know no matter the outcome in any of my deals, that I have done the very best job I can for the client and customer.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the job?
A: My favorite part about being a ranch broker is obviously the field trips. I’ve had a great opportunity to spend a good portion of my life on some of the most pristine beautiful pieces of property known to man, behind closed locked gates that no one else gets to go to unless you’re a buyer or you happen to own the land. Hearing the success stories, the American Dream, and getting to share my love and passion for the land is my favorite part of waking up every morning.
That’s the highlight of the job, but I get my kicks by solving problems. The ranch real estate business intrigues me because there are a lot of moving parts and there’s a lot of issues that arise. I like to try to think through these problems and create solutions for all these different unique situations that we find ourselves in when dealing with ranch real estate transactions.
Q: What about your background makes you a better ranch broker?
A: My background really helps me in the ranch brokerage business because I’ve seen a lot of complexities that occur on or from owning property, from running an agriculture operation to outfitting to dealing with drought, wildfires, and legal issues. I have pretty much seen it all.
I grew up on a ranch, have worked a number of operations, and run an outfitting business. Basically, anything you would see on a piece of dirt in the Western US, I’ve seen with my own eyes or felt with my own hands. So far in my real estate career, I’ve had almost zero turnovers on any of the properties that I’ve successfully marketed. The only thing I can attribute that to is I work very hard in trying to match the right buyer to the right piece of property versus just throwing them into something and see if they’ll enjoy it or not.
Q: Where can we find you when you’re not working?
A: If I’m not working, you can find me enjoying some aspect of the outdoors. We have lots of animals we raise, we love farming and gardening, hunting, and fishing. If I’m not showing properties or closing real estate deals, I’m running my outfitting business or hanging out with my family, or trying to stay involved with our youth.
Usually, everything we do is either outdoors-oriented or we are taking care of our own piece of land. I own a little piece of irrigated ground outside of Wheatland, and I never really realized the amount of joy and love you get out of owning your own little place.
I am a staunch supporter of conservation and conserving not only our landscapes within the western US but our ag operations as well. I believe every piece of ground can benefit from a properly managed agricultural operation, whether it is tillable ground or a high elevation cattle operation. I don’t believe anything benefits from becoming fallow. I have been on the board of the Wyoming Stockgrowers Land Trust for a couple of years, and enjoy the complexities of conserving working Wyoming landscapes.