Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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Wilderness Realty, Inc.

Maine Land Sales Specialists

BUSH TAX CUTS EXPIRE

George W. Bush’s tax cuts implemented in 2003 are set to expire at the end of this year.  President Obama has indicated that he will let them expire and not extend them.

One aspect of Bush’s plan is the long term capital gains tax which was lowered to 15%.  At the end of this year this rate will increase to 20%.

What does this mean for land prices?  Most likely sellers will recoup this tax increase by passing it along to buyers in the sales price.  It is expected that land prices next year could be at least 5% more than they are currently.

This can be a tempting time for those who have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for something to happen.  That “something” can very well be higher prices next year.

Wilderness Realty has an inventory of prime Maine land properties ready for sale.  Call today and make an appointment for a showing, 207-947-7957.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY?!

Some points to ponder regarding the economy:

  • The market is up 75% on average one year since the stock market lows of March, 2009.  The DOW  is poised to break 11,000 for the first time since the end of September, 2008.
  • Personal spending is up for the 5th straight month.
  • Manufacturing is growing faster than expected.
  • Home values are increasing.
  • Consumer confidence increased in March.
  • Foreign markets are on the rise too, especially in Europe and China.

This is all good news.  Does this mean that demand for land is on the rise?  From our experience, phone calls are up over 100% in March when compared to February and January of this year.

Couple this with some of the most unbelievably favorable weather in central Maine this year.  We escaped the big snowstorms that socked southern New England and the mid Atlantic.  Temperatures have been mild since early February.  Most lakes shed their ice last week, a phenomenon that rarely occurs before April 1st.  Even though we did get some heavy rain in the past two weeks, it was far less than southern Maine and points further south.

The bottom line is our snow is gone, grass is starting to green and we have incredibly warm temperatures.  We have not seen this kind of weather pattern for 30+ years.

This is the perfect time to look at land.  Prices are low and interest is increasing.  If you have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for improvement, now is a good time to look around.

Brokers at Wilderness Realty are available weekdays and weekends to show property.  Give us a call and make an appointment, 207-947-7957.

LAND SURVEYS

March 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Land 101, Land Economics, Real Estate Blog, Uncategorized

A survey of a landowner’s property is a valuable asset.  It can be costly.  This post will highlight some of the basics regarding surveys.

There sometimes is a misconception that land must be surveyed before it can be sold.  It does not.  There are numerous circumstances in which a survey is not practical.  Again I will emphasize that a survey can be costly.  A landowner should consider the costs of a survey along with its merits.

Surveyors in Maine are licensed.  They must take educational courses, work as an apprentice and pass a demanding test.  Because of this governmental oversight, surveyors are highly regarded.

A surveyor performs three basic tasks.  The first and most obvious is to physically locate the property on the ground by marking corners and perimeter lines.  The second, which may be the most important, is to research past deed records of the subject property as well as surrounding properties to verify the subject property’s location.  This research may also uncover a host of legal matters affecting the property including right of ways, encroachments, boundary line agreements, water rights etc.  Finally, a surveyor will produce a map showing the location of the property and will include any notes mentioning items discovered during the research phase.  Each phase takes time and the work is generally billed by the hour.

Sometimes survey maps are recorded in the county registry of deeds, especially subdivision maps.  Attorneys often rely on survey maps when drafting legal descriptions of a property.  Landowners like them for their “peace of mind” attribute.

Surveys certainly add value to a property.  Landowners may want to consider a survey of their property.  A property for sale that is surveyed is an obvious bonus.  Check out Wilderness Realty’s current listings of surveyed properties on our website www.wildernessrealty.com

MY LAND GROWING CHRISTMAS TREES

Christmas Trees

Another “cottage industry” in Maine that will provide a woodlot owner with income.  There are two ways to approach this.  The first is to plant seedlings, preferably balsam fir, in a field or cleared area.  Seedlings can be purchased from nurseries or government agencies.  The Penobscot County Soil and Water Conservation District is one such agency that offers an annual tree and shrub sale in the spring.  A 6’ X 6’ spacing is sufficient to provide enough room for the trees to spread.

Another source is wild trees.  Simply walk your property in early spring and carefully dig up 6-10” fir seedlings for transplanting.  Good places to look are along woods roads, trails and openings.  Transplant them soon after harvesting.

If you have an area with established fir regeneration 2+ feet in height, thin out the stand to the desired 6’ X 6’ spacing.  Favor healthy looking trees with good needle growth.

To get your trees in the traditional Christmas-tree shape, you need to prune every year.  Mid June is the best time when new growth is established but not yet “budded out”.  A hedge trimmer is a good tool for this purpose.  A manual one is fine for a small grove of trees, for a larger operation this task will be easier with a power (electric or gas) trimmer.  They key to trimming is to start shaping the tree in the traditional shape when the trees are still small.  Cut the leaders when the trees are about 3 feet tall to promote bushy growth.

I have about 140 trees that I have been planting in rotation for the past 16 years.  Some are from wild stock and others were purchased.  I can trim up the trees with a hand trimmer in about 12 hours; though it is taking longer now that I have more large trees.  I have been selling a few each year on a “cut your own basis”.  Of course each year we get to pick out the best one for our own use.

Fir trees will easily grow on most land.  Our listings at www.wildernessrealty.com are excellent candidates for growing Christmas trees.  Check out our inventory!

MY LAND AS A WOODLOT

The biggest activities conducted on my property, other than the construction of my home,  was two timber harvests; one in the winter of 1992 and the other in the winter of 1997.  A total of 485 cords were cut yielding approximately $16,800 in stumpage value.  This activity was by far the biggest income producer generated by my LAND INVESTMENT.

Approximately 19 acres was cut during 1992.  The area harvested occurred behind my home on the western 2/3rds of the west rectangle.  This section was previously harvested in the 1970s and was nearly a clearcut.  The harvest was basically a removal of the remaining overstory with Spruce, Fir, Hemlock, Hardwood and White Pine being targeted species.  Most of the wood was sold as pulp and studwood along with a load of pine logs.

In 1997 the cut area was comprised of 53 acres and included the entire wooded portion of the east rectangle and about 3 acres on the west rectangle to the north of my home.  This section was not harvested for many decades and consisted of mostly mature timber.  The harvest prescription was to cut softwood, popple and log quality oak, which was painted.  Tree species sold were Spruce, Fir, Larch, Popple, White Pine and Oak.  Again most of the wood was sold as studwood and pulpwood.  Approximately 23 MBF of oak and pine logs were delivered to the mills.  I kept another 40 cords of firewood, mostly oak tops and limbs along with a few Red Maple which were harvested incidentally.

My property still has plenty of merchantable timber.  The harvest crew left many trees that did not quite meet the initial prescription; and after 13 years have grown even bigger.  Consequently I can justify another harvest of Popple, Spruce, Fir and White Pine in the immediate future.  In addition, at the current rate that I am cutting firewood (6 cords annually), there is more hardwood growing on the property than I can use in my lifetime.

Most of the residual, merchantable timber is on the east rectangle.  The west rectangle is well stocked with mostly softwood regeneration and would probably be ready for a pulpwood thinning in the next 20 years, maybe sooner.

Other than an outright sale of the property, timber harvesting is probably the single most valuable income producer of a woodlot.  As you can see by my experience, income can be generated by successive, selective harvests.  My timberland investment has yielded me income over time; AND there is still plenty of remaining wood that can be harvested now AND there are trees growing for future harvests.  Need I say more.

You can be a timberland owner as well.  Just check out our listings at www.wildernessrealty.com

If you like one of our properties, give us a call and make an appointment for a showing.

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