Frequently Asked Questions…

Q: I inherited some timberland from my relatives. How do I know how much the timber is worth?

A: Market values for timber, like any commodity, fluctuate based on supply and demand for the particular types of wood in any given geographical location. As it relates to your specific property, you would need to consult with a professional forester to perform a timber “cruise.”

Q: What is a timber cruise?

A: A professional forester will walk over your property and record a sample of the timber on your property, noting the width, height, type, and quality of the timber. Based on the size of your property, he will use the recorded sample to estimate the total value of all of your timber at current market prices.

Q: What kind of return will I get from my investment in timberland?

A: Standard projections show an annualized return of approximately 14.5% over a period of about 32 years (Select the “Forestry” option on the navigational bar). This, of course, depends on many variables, such as soil conditions, weather patterns, and appropriate professional management, and results will vary accordingly.

Q: If I decide to cut and sell my timber, how will I know I’m getting a fair price?

A: Our forestry professionals will determine the estimated fair value of your timber, based on current market prices, and then recommend a range of value to you. We would then solicit bids from many reputable timber dealers. The bids often vary significantly from the lowest to the highest, based on current market conditions and the timber dealers’ needs at the time. This bid sale method frequently results in an acceptable rate of return. Of course, you, the landowner, retain the right to refuse all bids and market your timber at a later date. Another option is to negotiate directly with timber dealers. However, this method may not result in proceeds as high as the bid sale method.

Q: How do I make sure my timberland is handed down to my children so they can enjoy the benefits as I have?

A: Estate planning is a must for forest landowners. Proper estate planning can ensure that your loved ones enjoy the benefits of land ownership for years to come. Many wills can be prepared with inexpensive legal will kits purchased at various places. However, estate planning of this magnitude is more complex and consultation with a tax attorney or CPA is highly recommended. Yes, it will cost more initially, but the cost can easily be recouped in terms of the tax dollars saved in the long run.

Q: How can I generate additional income from my property?

A: Consider leasing out hunting and/or fishing rights. This is an easy, inexpensive way to generate additional income without consuming any of your forest resources.

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