Selling and Other Options for Your Land

What is the value of your land?

For most landowners, the land holds both personal and financial value. It’s home to memories and experiences, but also contains timber and other natural resources that can provide significant income. Planning for your land’s future will require balancing these personal and financial needs.

At times, financial needs become a concern for many families. You may find yourself wondering if you or your heirs can afford to keep your land, and you may consider selling some or all of it to provide for your own or your family’s needs. The good news is that there are other options too:

  • Capitalizing on other resources. The land itself isn’t the only thing of value in your woods. Your trees, wildlife, and recreational opportunities also hold value. Timber harvests, hunting leases and other activities can enable you to generate significant income from your woods—in many cases, enough to avoid selling the land.
  • Establishing a conservation easement. A conservation easement is a legal arrangement between a landowner and a government agency or land trust that ensures the land will never be developed. The landowner continues to own the land, and enjoys reduced property and estate taxes that can make the land more affordable to keep.
  • Seeking landowner assistance. Many local and national programs —including a number of programs supported by the USDA Farm Bill—offer financial help to landowners in need of assistance.
  • Donating part or all of your land. In most cases, landowners can claim the value of land donated to a conservation organization or agency as a tax-deductible charitable contribution; donating part or all of your land can also reduce your estate tax burden.

Only you can decide which option is right for you and your woods. Whatever you decide to do, it’s best to start planning for it early—and that’s the part that many landowners struggle with the most.

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