The Timber Sale Process Using a Professional Forester

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

This article submitted by Paul Gonzalez, Sampson County Extension Agent.

If you own timberland or a farm with “woods” on it, how many times have you had a phone call from someone wanting to buy your timber? These calls can be almost as annoying as the political calls many of us are getting right now! Perhaps these unsolicited calls have you wandering about whether you really should be considering selling your timber. How do you know what your timber is really worth and whether or not you are getting a fair price from these callers?

Selling timber can be complicated due to market conditions, time constraints, tax implications, etc. The typical process of selling timber can involve many steps that require detailed knowledge and experience related to timber markets, appraisals, and legal contracts. It is recommended that landowners seek professional help through a registered forester or consulting forester to guide them through the process of a timber sale. These individuals work on behalf of the landowner as their agent, in much the same manner as a Realtorâ or real estate agent, to ensure a positive sale process.

Recently, I had someone contact me about getting multiple calls from folks wanting to buy her timber. The landowner lived in Alabama and had a family farm in North Carolina. She was concerned that maybe she needed to sell her timber for some reason, due to the callers, but did not want to get taken advantage of. I met with the local County Extension Agent at the property and we inspected her timber. We recommended a list of consulting foresters in the region that could be of service to her. Through the use of a consultant, she sold her timber for approximately two times more than what she was offered over the phone. It also gave her piece of mind because the forester was able to handle all the aspects of the sale process since this landowner lived thousands of miles away. While this is only one example, recent and past research has indicated that working with professional foresters and consultants consistently brings in higher bids on timber sales.

Selling your timber for a higher price is great, but that is not all that a professional forester can provide. There are many benefits that a landowner can receive by working with professionals such as local regulation expertise, tax advice, timber sale administration, reforestation assistance, financial cost share assistance, etc. A professional forester or consultant should be able to guide the landowner through the process. Additional information regarding timber sales can be found at: and or contact your local Cooperative Extension Agent for more information.

Article Written By:  Colby Lambert, NCRF #1482Area Specialized Agent – Forestry

N.C. Cooperative Extension – (910) 814-6041