West Virginians love deer and deer hunting. A well-known national real-estate company is counting on that.
Whitetail Properties, which brokers hunting land and farmland in 30 states, has set up business in the Mountain State.
“West Virginia had been on our radar for the longest time,” said Dan Perez, chief executive officer for the Pittsfield, Illinois-based company. “We’d been getting a lot of inquiries from West Virginia, from people asking them to represent them as seller’s or buyer’s agents.”
Most of those people knew about the company from the cable television show, “Whitetail Properties,” that airs on the Sportsman Channel. Perez said the show’s national audience is a major reason his company racks up more than $1 billion worth of sales each year.
“People know who we are,” he said. “We don’t do residential real estate, and we don’t do commercial. We do land. And $1 billion worth of land is a heap of land.”
He said the company has developed a network of 230 hunting-savvy agents to help buyers connect with sellers. So far, West Virginia has one agent: Jeremy Allen, who covers a 10-county territory between Parkersburg in the north and Huntington and Charleston in the south.
“The way Whitetail Properties sets things up, agents have designated territories and aren’t allowed to compete with one another,” Allen said. “My area of responsibility covers Cabell, Kanawha, Jackson, Lincoln, Mason, Putnam, Roane, Wayne, Wirt and Wood counties.”
It’s an area rich in deer and turkeys, two of the state’s premier game animals. Allen said it’s also rich in old farms and tracts of timberland.
“The ForestLand Group is an investment company that holds a lot of timberland that used to be owned by Westvaco Corp.,” Allen said. “ForestLand has been leasing those properties to hunters. A lot of guys I know lease those tracts. Well, the ForestLand people have decided to sell some of that land. They have approximately 60,000 acres available right now in the western portion of the state.”
Most of the parcels, he said, are in Wood, Mason, Ritchie, Pleasants and Calhoun counties.
“This is really good hunting land,” he continued. “People who have been leasing these tracts usually manage the deer on them pretty well.”
Allen believes his experience at managing the deer on his 100-acre farm in northern Putnam County will help him advise prospective buyers and sellers on how to better maintain their lands for wildlife.
“Whitetail Properties also recommends that its agents undergo training in biology and deer herd management,” he said. “I’ve already gone through some of the training. The company wants you to really know what you’re doing.”
Allen also believes his experience in photography and videography will help him put deals together. Since 2013, he has produced a hunting-video program, “Appalachian Trophy TV,” that currently airs on the carbontv.com website.
“With video and drone footage, I’ll be able to give buyers a really good idea of what the property is like before they ever visit it,” he said. “To see my listings, people only need to visit the Whitetail Properties website.”
Company CEO Perez said agents are being hired to cover other territories within the Mountain State.
“Our hiring process is extremely rigorous,” he said. “Our staff coordinator interviews them first, and then they do a phone interview with four people, and if they make the cut they come here for an in-person interview. We want to be confident they’ll always work in their client’s best interest.
“We’re excited to finally be working in West Virginia. My God, the people there have been wanting us to serve them for many years, and now we’re finally there.”