Duncan Clarke, Associate, explains why autumn is the perfect time to prepare your farm for a spring market launch.
The recent publication of the Agriculture Bill has, perhaps, given us some idea of the future of the industry post BREXIT. Whilst many column inches have already been written about the implications of the bill, should it become law, much can change between now and the end of March 2019.
Some farmers and landowners will undoubtedly see the opportunities which BREXIT will present, however, I am almost certain that there will be a squeeze on farm incomes going forward and whilst there are a myriad factors which influence land values, and the direct connection between the value of an acre of land and its earning capacity has long since been largely severed; for some this may be the trigger to put the farm on the market.
Traditionally spring is when farms are launched onto the market; potential vendors looking to do so should be making preparations now and indeed over the winter months, to ensure a smooth launch next year.
Farms need to stand out to attract potential buyers in what can often be a crowded spring market; if farms are not properly presented they can easily be overlooked. So, what can, and indeed should, vendors be doing now to ensure the best possible chances of success in the spring?
The winter months tend to be quieter on the farm so any spare time should be used to undertake repairs and improvements to property, including redecoration of houses etc. Time should also be taken on having a good tidy up so that, come spring, the farm looks at its best and is in a ‘move into’ condition.
Thought should also be given now as to whether there are any development opportunities that can be exploited to add value to the farm. Permitted Development Rights were extended in 2014 with the introduction of Class Q which means that, since then, it has been somewhat easier to secure the conversion of redundant farm buildings to a residential use. As part of this process the landowner should ensure that they have all the evidence they need to meet the various planning requirements and thus, avoid any uncertainty as to the eligibility of the building during the conveyancing process itself.
The winter months are also a good time to make sure that all paperwork is in order and to prepare sales particulars and marketing literature. Clear, sunny winter days can provide a great backdrop against photographs, videos and promotional material. Many professional photographers now use drones to take wider angle shots of the farm and if these are all taken in the right conditions over winter, they will really make the farm stand out in spring.
Alongside making sure the marketing literature is all in place, potential vendors will need to make sure that any residential tenancies, cropping licences, short term grazing arrangements etc. are brought to an end or at least properly documented so that the farm can be sold with the certainty of vacant possession or, if this is not possible so that vendors know exactly on what basis they will be taking on existing occupiers. Thought will also need to be given as to how existing employees will be looked after.
For more information and advice on launching your farm to the market, please contact Duncan Clarke on 07834 321429 or alternatively, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.