Preparing a Contract

Prepare a signed written contract with the buyer that protects both parties to reduce the possibility of misunderstandings and disagreements and to provide each party with legal assurance that the other will abide by the terms of the sale. The contract does not have to be a complicated document, but it should indicate what you and the buyer have agreed to with respect to the sale. The contract contents should be similar to those listed above for the timber sale prospectus. A sample contract is included at the end of this chapter (pg. 109). Your forester also may have a sample contract.

As a note of caution, preparing a contract is where many good transactions begin to break down. Buyers may have their own ideas of how an area should be harvested. They may believe a different layout may be more effective. They may feel that harvesting additional timber helps spread out their fixed costs or they may have a market opportunity. Some operators will offer a higher value to modify your planned forest management guidelines. They may offer their own contract in place of yours. You must evaluate such offers against your reasons for having a harvest in the first place.

While the buyer?fs suggestions might be reasonable, consult your forester about the effects of any suggested changes. That is why you hired the forester in the first place. Does the buyer?fs contract address all of your needs, or place unwanted obligations on you? Your contract terms were designed to protect you and your property, you do not have to modify them for the buyer?fs convenience. You may be able to find other buyers who will meet your terms. The extra money may look good, but you will have to live with any results.