Southeast Texas Real Estate News

Should I Cut My Timber?

Many landowners ask the question, “Should I cut my timber before I put my land on the market?”  The short answer is no. In today’s timber and land market, especially if you’re selling a fairly small tract of land, about less than fifty acres, I don’t believe you should cut your timber. Almost without exception, the revenue you would receive from harvesting the timber is less than the hit you will take on the market value of your land.  This is because when a tree is harvested, there is a stump left, as well as some other debris – large limbs and the top of the tree. A prospective buyer might want to remove the debris and the stump, which all costs money.  The number of available buyers for your property will also be reduced to those who are okay with the timber being harvested.  Most buyers would like to have the option to determine what happens to the timber after they buy the property rather than having to live with what the previous landowner has done.  Unfortunately, during some timber harvests, excessive rain may occur, causing rutting to the land and the roads, and some loggers are not as good as others about preventing damage to trees that are left.  All of these factors reduce the market value of land.

Now, are there exceptions to this? Of course, a couple.  Pine plantations are tracts that have been planted in rows with pine trees.  If these stands become too dense, a conservative row thinning by a conscientious logging crew can improve the aesthetic appearance of the land, thereby actually increasing the marketability of the land.  Another exception is if timber markets increase in relation to land values, but we’re not there right now.

There are various resources available to help you learn more about your land, and we will always encourage landowners to contact a trustworthy forestry company. If you are looking for recommendations, let us know!


-Scott Ratcliff, Land Agent and Educated Forester

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