Forest industry professionals are most often asked “How much do you think my timber is really worth?” and rightfully so. To most forest landowners, their timber represents a significant portion of their assets, and the value of this asset is important.
What some forestland owners may not realize is just how much the value of any given “tract” of timber can vary, or how much the value of their certain tract can fluctuate. The “stumpage” value, which is the amount of money paid to the landowner for timber, varies greatly because of market conditions, distance from the mill, quality of the timber, seasonality, and fuel prices. It’s a consulting forester’s job to be able to understand market conditions in the area he works throughout the year. Due to the complex nature of timber values, your timber value is unique. A timber appraisal is the best method of accurately weighing the factors and determining the value of your timber. Your timber is not worth the same thing that your neighbor’s, cousin’s, aunt’s, uncle’s, brother’s, or friend’s timber was, and having an timber appraisal done by a professional forester is one of the most cost effective ways to know what your timber is worth.
Timber values are particularly important in selling or purchasing timberlands, selling timber, and for tax purposes, estate planning, and forest management planning. For many people, these types of transactions are the largest financial transactions they conduct during their lifetimes, and choosing to buy or sell timber or timberlands without talking to someone with sound, reliable knowledge and experience can be a risky endeavor. We’ve all heard stories of ol’ John Doe down the road who “knew” what his timber was worth yet ended up selling it for half of what he should have. A professional timber appraisal will help you to avoid this situation. Fortunately, when it comes to timber appraisals, you can get a lot of bang for your buck. For the average forestland owner the typical cost of a timber appraisal will range from $6.00 to $10.00 per acre, and should give you the confidence and peace of mind that needed to make good financial decisions.