Before you sell your timber consider this

By Tom Brickman on December 3, 2012

Knowing what your timber is worth ahead of time is important

Rural land in Alabama often has timber on it.  So, a question many landowners ask is, “what’s it worth, and how do I get top dollar?”.

Fact is, trees that look pretty can be almost worthless.  Yet, well managed, mature, planted pines can fetch as much as $2500/acre.

Unless you have the experience and contacts, the best way to answer these questions may be to retain an experienced consulting forester to advise you.  By “consulting”, we mean a forester that does not also buy timber for mills or for his own account.

How you sell timber is important

When thinning your trees, get at least three per-ton bids before making a decision. You’ll be paid by the ton as the trees are cut. When it’s time for the final harvest, always get an independent appraisal ahead of time. Then, let timber buyers compete by using the “Sealed Bid” method of selling. By inviting 100 timber buyers to bid on your timber you’ll put significantly more money in your pocket (100% more is not uncommon) than if you only get a price from two or three timber buyers.

Always use a written contract

A written contract will cover things like insurance minimums, amount of performance bond above the price of the timber, termination date, and of course, price and payment terms. With a final harvest, be sure all trees are paid for in advance before harvest begins (avoid selling final harvest on a $ per-ton basis, getting paid as the trees are cut).

2 thoughts on “Before you sell your timber consider this

  1. There are a lot of good ideas on what to look for when selling timber, I didn’t know that there was so much. I don’t know how to price timber, so I would go and ask a consultant and get their opinion. I would imagine that would help out a lot, and help you sell more timber.

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