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Be certain property lines are marked before selling timber

By Jim Griffith
Registered Forester #1616

Selling timber requires more than just knowing what it is you have to sell, how much it is worth, and having a list of potential buyers. It is always good to know where your property lines are, but when selling timber, it is of the utmost importance to identify and mark the boundaries of the sale area. The sale area usually includes at least in part, the property boundaries.

On numerous occasions, I have had landowners point out the window and tell me their property line was “Somewhere along here,” as we drove down the highway at 50 mph. When it comes to cutting trees, “somewhere” is just not close enough for landlines. Most adjoining landowners don’t take kindly to having a logger cross the property line and cut their trees without an agreement. This would be a trespass and could be quite costly to the logger or the landowner.

Without marked and established boundaries, most timber buyers will include a written clause in the timber deed that releases them from any responsibility for trespass or cutting across a line onto an adjoining landowner, unless the property lines are physically marked in the field. I have had loggers cut across landlines even when they are marked, so selling your timber without marking the lines is putting yourself at risk.

I am not saying you need to go out and hire a surveyor. Marking sale boundaries is a service a Georgia Farm Bureau forester can generally provide. Most of the time, if the lines are not already marked, the corners are at least distinguishable, although at times with considerable effort. With the corners located, the property lines can then be identified and marked for the sale, without the additional expense of a surveyor.

There have been many lawsuits over landline disputes. Marking your landlines before the timber sale will prevent you from being involved in an avoidable dispute with your neighbor. This could save you time, money, and friendships.

Marking timber sale boundaries is just one of the many services your Georgia Farm Bureau forestry professional is trained to provide you in addition to helping you receive increased sale proceeds.

Jim Griffith is general manager of the Georgia Farm Bureau Timber and Real Estate Companies.

Georgia Farm Bureau News – March 2006

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