In order to maximize the value of your timber and harvest responsibly, you need a trustworthy independent forestry consultant and you need at least 25 acres of land with trees. Timberland investments are often more valuable than a house, and typically have generational implications, so you want to make wise choices regarding your land. We understand that the process of selling your standing timber can be hectic and intimidating. Before you begin, here are a few things you should know.
The short answer is this: it’s hard to tell. This is a common first question from timberland owners when they consider selling timber. Knowing the acreage of timberland isn’t enough.
Expertise is required to determine the exact value of your timber. There are a number of factors to be considered, including but not limited to:
type of timber
quality of the timber
density of the stand
How do I get an expert’s estimate on the value of my standing timber?
You should contact a registered forester. This is one of those things you don’t want to do yourself. If your overconfident uncle insists he can give you an estimate, then humor him by hearing his opinion, but don’t take it to the bank. More than when selling a house, professional, unbiased advice is a precious necessity when selling timber.
Unfortunately, there are some people claiming to be professionals who would try to swindle you out of the full value of your timber. We’ve heard too many stories of landowners being defrauded by a nice stranger with all the right language. One victim, a grandmother from south Georgia, was cheated out of $18,000 almost overnight. That’s a grandchild’s tuition, a new car, or a down payment on a new home! The moral: don’t let a friendly smile and a crisp shirt convince you of a person’s moral uprightness.
Also, don’t rush too quickly into learning the monetary value of your timber. Learn from Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg, and don’t expose yourself to those positioned to take advantage of your haste.
Allow the psychological payoff for all your hard investigatory work to be finding the right professional. They will maximize your timber’s value, improve the quality of your land, and begin a long-term working relationship with you, much like with a doctor or veterinarian.
Who can I trust to harvest my standing timber?
You can trust independent forestry contractors, but do your homework. It’s important to learn about a company’s reputation before committing to them the care of a large family investment. Check out their website if they have one, but if not, feel free to ask them for a list of references or past customers.
Timber Update is dedicated to ensuring that timberland owners get the most value out of their timber, therefore we network with reputable professionals across the industry. Be sure to search our list of contractors in your area to find the right one for you.
Independent forestry consultants are individually licensed foresters who combine expertise in timber management with market maneuverability. Or, to think about it another way, independent forestry consultants are like architects when building a home. They have the training and experience needed to get the job done well, and they also coordinate with several contractors, acting as managers of a large project (your timber sale).
Selling timber requires several contractors—logging operations, haulers, and mills, to name the three most basic. Independent forestry consultants often have a wide network of contractors in order to custom-tailor service for each landowner. And if a specific contractor isn’t working up to par, an independent consultant is free to make a quick decision in finding a better one.
Because an independent consultant’s loyalty is wholly given to the landowner, they often spend quality time learning and developing your family’s goals for the land. As well, independent forestry consultants are well prepared to address all the challenges a timber harvest might face.
Okay, so I’ll find the right independent forestry consultant. Then what?
Actually, finding the right consultant is all you have to do, for now. Set up a meeting with a forestry consultant by clicking below, and they will lead you through the entire harvest.
Stay tuned to our blog. In the coming weeks, we’ll meet with real timberland owners, forestry consultants, and other industry professionals to give you an inside view of the processes involved in harvesting timber.
Until then, keep growing.
Matthew Noxsel, Editor
Be sure to check out The Complete Guide to Selling Timber – Part II