How to Sell Timber From Your Land

Check out these seven tips on how to sell timber before you decide to harvest and sell the trees on your property.

| September/October 2011

One of the great things about country living is having trees next door. You can’t find quieter neighbors, and trees have a multitude of benefits: beauty, wildlife habitat, windbreak, privacy and income, among others. Timber is a valuable commodity, and since most landowners only have timber harvested once or twice in a lifetime (at least on a large scale), some careful thought and a few simple actions before you sell your timber can ensure the process is done right. These tips are all about how to sell timber.

1. Mark your property lines

Surprisingly, some landowners only vaguely know the location of their property lines. But accurately marked lines are like a breath of fresh air for timber buyers. Buyers can offer a more aggressive price since they need not worry about accidentally cutting a neighbor’s timber – and the hefty fines associated with it. Accurately marked boundaries also make cruising timber (figuring up timber value) easier.

If your lines aren’t marked, and you only vaguely know their location, a few things can help. First, check the county courthouse for plats, deeds and tax maps. If your land was surveyed in the past, plats show exactly where the lines and corners are located. If not, some deeds contain detailed descriptions of lines and corners. And though the lines on tax maps aren’t guaranteed to be accurate, they do show you where the county thinks your land begins and ends for tax purposes. Many counties now have plats, deeds and tax maps online.

Once you’ve verified – on the ground and with your neighbors – where the lines and corners are located, you can spray one or two horizontal lines on trees within five feet of the boundary, facing the boundary. Reserve three horizontal lines for trees near the corner. A group of trees with three painted lines is the established sign for corner. And just remember: When in doubt, call a surveyor.

2. Know your forest objectives

To practice sustainable forestry, landowners must plan long-term. This often means sacrificing some present-day profits for the benefit of future generations. Decisions made today about timber harvesting will have a long-lasting impact.

Defining and prioritizing forest objectives can help landowners plan. To identify objectives, ask yourself a few questions: What do I want to manage for? For recreation, aesthetics, profit? For wildlife? If so, what species? Deer? Songbirds? Snakes? The answers to these questions will guide your forest management, particularly when and how you harvest timber. Of course, many landowners will answer yes to several of these questions, which is what makes forest management both challenging and enjoyable.

3/18/2018 5:48:53 PM

Agree, how do you know what the lumber market is doing/ And how to make a good sale for both parties

6/28/2014 2:12:12 PM

Hi I have a question about selling timber. My dad recently sold his but I'm afraid he has been taken advantage of. He is an elderly man who has become forgetful and confused at times. So my question is what percentage would you pay someone to show your timber to the buyer?

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