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Use reliable buyers and a contract when selling your timber

By Jim Griffith
Registered Forester #1616

It is again the time of year when tree planting season has come to an end. The end of the planting season marks the beginning of many new forests. The beginning of a new forest will be followed, in many years to come, with the ending of a mature forest. After years of hard labor and substantial expenditures to manage your forest, you want to make wise decisions in the termination and sell of your mature forest.

It is important that you know what you are doing when you sell your trees. You must become educated in what you are selling, how to negotiate the best deal, and who the top money players in your market are. Or, you must find someone you can trust who already has this knowledge and is set up to assist people like you. Either of these options could take time and effort on your part.

Regardless of whether you sell your timber yourself or hire someone to handle the transaction, you must conduct an inventory of your standing timber. Chances are, learning how to take a timber inventory is not something you will want to learn to do yourself. You will need to hire the services of a professional forester to do a timber cruise on the stand of trees you plan to sell. If you are selling multiple stands you will want to inventory them separately, in the event you decide to sell only a portion of your timber.

In the event you hire a forestry consultant to assist you in the sell of your trees you will want to make sure they have plenty of experience and come with reliable recommendations. A trustworthy name can be as good as a contract, but you will still want a written agreement with your consultant. Everything should be put in writing. You will want a timber deed. This is a contract between you and the buyer of your timber. You will want to write out the details of the agreement. The agreement will identify your understanding of what they will do for you. You will also want a hold-harmless clause in this agreement along with proof of insurance from the buyer, including errors and omissions insurance.

It is important to do your homework when you are selling timber, whether you are hiring a forestry consultant to assist you in the sale or conducting the sale yourself.

Jim Griffith is general manager of the GFB Real Estate & Timber Companies.
Farm Bureau News – April 2004

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