As demand for land is expected to rise sharply this spring, H&H Land & Estates is offering sellers some essential advice to secure the best price and a problem free sale.
With land prices expected to reach record levels this year, farmers and landowners will be looking for opportunities to extend their existing holdings or to acquire an increasingly sought-after investment asset.
In this market, sellers might expect plenty of interest and excellent prices, but to ensure a successful and speedy sale it is key that farmers have all their ducks in a row.
Rachel Bagshaw, associate director & head of land agency at H&H, says: "If you haven’t prepared properly for the sale and your permissions and paperwork are not in order, land and farm sales can be very complicated and protracted.
"Selling a farm is not like selling a house. Purchasers are less concerned with the presentation of the property and more with the quality of the land and facilities.
"They are much more likely to accept it in its current condition, so undertaking repairs and refurbishments in advance of putting it on the market is not so important.
"However, to help generate offers, and speed up the process from accepting an offer to exchange and completion, there is plenty of homework to be done before marketing your land or farm."
Top tips from H&H Land & Estates
1. Check the land you are selling is registered and you know where the title documents are. If there is good evidence of title, it is possible to exchange and complete without the land being registered in advance, but it is likely to delay the process and could put buyers off.
2. Gather together in one place all relevant paperwork, including service records, certificates, and stewardship agreements, so these are available for purchasers on request.
3. If there are entitlements and or stewardship agreements which need to be transferred to the new owner post completion, ensure that you or your agent have this in hand and agree in advance of the launch to the market, who will meet any costs associated with these.
4. Ensure septic tanks and oil and diesel tanks comply with current regulations. This may require having a survey undertaken and if remedial works are required, either complete this yourself or obtain a quote so the purchaser knows what it will cost them to put it right.
5. Check the correct planning permissions are in place for any development or change of use which has taken place and that any conditions have or are being met.
6. If a development or activity has occurred without planning permission, consider applying for a Certificate of Lawful Use. Seek professional advice if necessary.
7. If the property has a private water supply from a spring or borehole, purchasers are likely to seek reassurance about the quantity and quality of the supply. Domestic water should have UV treatment and the source of the water should be protected from contamination.
8. If part of the farm is occupied by another party, ensure there is a written agreement in place so that the terms of their occupation are clear to purchasers, or take steps to obtain vacant possession.
9. Resolve any outstanding disputes. These will need to be disclosed to purchasers in all instances.
10. Appoint a good solicitor. If you are unsure who to go to seek recommendations from your land agent - a good solicitor can make the process much smoother.