Needed for testing asking price
In Alabama, standing timber can be worth as much as $3,000 per acre. And, a property that looks clear cut along the road may have excellent timber on the back side across the creek. Testing the asking price of a property you are considering for purchase will require you to have some idea of the timber value.
Looks can be deceiving
If you do not have experience with timber, it’s a good idea to have a consulting forester walk the property for a “rough check” on timber value. Getting someone with an experienced eye to look at the timber is important because looks can be deceiving. Timber that looks pretty may actually be low value, or a property that looks cut-over may be valuable planted pine.
“Rough check” or, formal appraisal
A quick walk-over is fairly inexpensive ($300 to $400) and may be enough of a check if the timber has unexceptional value. If a “rough check” reveals that the timber value is a significant portion of the purchase price (say, 50% or more), then a formal timber cruise and appraisal may be appropriate. A timber cruise is the process of counting and measuring the trees, and is labor intensive. However, most foresters will give partial credit of the cost of a “rough check” towards a formal appraisal. A timber cruise and appraisal will typically run about $5 to 10 per acre depending on the size of the property. But, this is a small price to pay for peace of mind (and good info for establishing your timber tax basis).