LandVest Orchestrates Conservation Sales To Help Clients Reach Their Financial Objectives
With today’s market for land still weak, landowners who have significant forest or farm land as a part of their primary or second homes may find it difficult to sell their property and recover their investment. Selling development rights on undeveloped forest or farmland through public and/or private conservation groups allows owners to combine that income with the fee sale of the restricted property to reach their financial goals.
Clients’ lands are typically acquired as a part of an inheritance or purchase or assembled over time to ensure privacy and/or protect the views. One effective strategy is to do a baseline feasibility assessment to determine if there are ecological assets of local, regional or more widespread significance on the land, such as unique habitats, part of a targeted effort by conservation organizations to protect water quality, wildlife corridors or unique habitat, prime forest or farm land soils, or recreational trails. Once identified and evaluated for the particular property, LandVest develops the appropriate partnerships with non-profit conservation groups and both public and private sources of funding to purchase either a conservation easement or the fee interest in the property. In this manner, the combination of income and/or significant donation values brought in by these conservation sales can allow the client’s property to be re-priced in the market at a lower price point, making it more attractive – and, indeed, more sellable – to a larger group of potential buyers .
A recent example of this process is Baldwin Hill Farm in Egremont, MA, which has been on the market for nearly 18 months at an asking price of $5.9 million. Baldwin Hill Farm is located at the peak of one of the most spectacular views in the southern Berkshires, and is identified as a conservation priority in the region. With LandVest’s assistance, the third generation owners of the 267 acre farm will sell a permanent Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) over 179 acres of prime farmland on the property in the spring of 2012. As a result the price for the 267 acre property, now encumbered by the APR on 179 acres but including the Main house B&B and barns on an unrestricted 11 acre parcel, 81 acres of unrestricted land along Marsh Pond, , and a 3000 sqft contemporary three-bedroom home has been lowered to $2.9 million. Instead of the sellers waiting longer for a single buyer to purchase the property at full price, the development rights have been monetized and the property has been protected in perpetuity. This, in turn, allows the asking price for the entire property to be reduced to a point that makes it much more marketable to a broader pool of buyers. Interest in the property has significantly increased as a result of the price revision with two parties now considering making offers.
LandVest Real Estate Consulting works with landowners, both public and private, assisting in the analysis development of land use plans to support landowners financial as well and their conservation goals. Recent examples of this work can be found on the LandVest website. For more information or to discuss the meeting in greater detail contact David Rosen at email@example.com or Keith Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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