Buyers for your land will want to be able to start working it immediately. Having well-prepared & presentable land ensures a quicker sale and will get you a better price for your land.
Now is the time to clear away anything you have been meaning to get rid of. Clear the ditches, clear up scrub and brushes. If necessary, get in a digger to level ground and clear mounds of earth, overgrown scrub etc.
Rich, green grass lets buyers know that they are looking at high quality, productive land. Don't over-graze it, keep the grassland clean, and top off weeds early. An abundant sward of grass sells the land for you. If you're selling in the early spring, close off early the previous winter.
Farmland that provides a good living for its owners should be reflected in the farm itself. Hang gates, tidy up fences and fix water troughs. Get rid of old machinery that will never be used again and power wash the sheds.
Get an accurate land registry compliant map drawn up that certifies the acreage of the land. Ensure to have the rights of way highlighted on the map. Have your statement of entitlements, area aid maps, soil test results, milk quota documents etc. ready, and give them to your auctioneer who can pass them on to interested purchasers.
Demonstrate that you have employed good agricultural practice over the years. Use enough bedding to keep livestock clean. Make sure the concrete areas around farm buildings are free of manure and slurry. Show drinking systems are managed to avoid overflow and spillage.
Agricultural land can be sold by private treaty or auction or, occasionally, by tender. The best option is almost always auction. The largest number of interested parties will be there and other farmers expect good quality land to be sold this way.
Consider dividing the farm in different lots. Small acreages command the highest prices per acre, but of course, it is not always feasible or possible to divide a farm in that the road frontage may be limited.
Avoid creating any new Rights of Way where access is concerned, as these can be highly problematic and are liable to be off-putting to prospective buyers. Make sure your solicitor has checked the title is correct.
Take any bulls or dangerous animals off the lands, as generally prospective purchasers will take a look at the property themselves. Neither you nor the selling agent may be aware they are on the farm being sold.
Check the zoning of the land, particularly where agricultural land is within close proximity to a village or a town. Ask your agent to find out from the County Council what the medium to long term plans are for the land. Don't assume that only farmers may be interested in your land. Developers, for example, may be also be interested.
Let prospective buyers know if you have mains water supply or natural water supply close to your land. This is one of the major issues for any farmer and a highly attractive selling point.
For both farmers and developers, the ability to build on the land increases its worth immensely. It is always worthwhile - well in advance of your putting the land on sale - to make either a planning application or provisional enquiries about the likelihood of being granted planning permission.
Talk to your tax advisor about the tax implications of the disposal.
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