Please Help w/ Timber Issue

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Tango, Jun 8, 2006.

  1. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Will try to keep this brief but its complicated. I purchased a 33 acre hillside last year as investment and for the timber. I split it with my cousin. The land had been auctioned from an estate where none of the heirs (a whole slew of them) wanted to purchase it or couldn't purchase it. The auction buyer divided into three parcels and I bought two parcels. The best one is where I am living. I never had expectations about the timber on my homesite, except to select cut it at one point. But the smaller parcel, the 33 acres was purchased exclusively as investment. Turns out the timber is "rotten." I know the timber on all three parcels has been cut before and I was told by one of the grandchildren that his uncle (an heir) had select cut timber on all three parcels. His word was "stole," but that is their issue and not mine. The problem with the timber would have been known imo by a family who has owned this land for at least three generations and has cut it before. The first loggers who were recommended to me had a strange work ethic but they told me the timber was rotten- no good for anything but pulp. A second company would have clear cut the good timber and the pulp but doesn't want just the pulp that was mainly what the first loggers left on part of the parcel where they have a road. I just had a third logger here who said there wasn't anything to select cut on my homesite. I hadn't had anyone look at my woods back here yet. It has been difficult just getting anyone out to begin with. I've a strange feeling that the timber quality is known among the local loggers and no one wants to come out and waste their time. This guy was looking for logs that were at least 20 inch diameter at the base he said, but he was looking only at trees which were much bigger than that. The poor man didn't know what the difference between diameter and circumference was and doesn't apparently know what 20 inches on a measuring tape is but he knows his job. He was looking for money and I don't fault him - so am I. I am disappointed to say the least. Having waited since November, and beingput on hold by everyone only to hear this... I'm at a loss for direction. On one hand I'd like to call my seller and tell her that these parcels should have been priced far less. I wonder if that is why the family went with an auction rather than a private sale? At any rate, I feel that I was deceived, especially about the timber land, which is useless. This may be the proverbial straw for me. Doors have been closing all around since December and I am cornered. I am usually forgiving and have looked the other way several times since I moved here. Subcontractors have lied to me and ripped me off. Now this after huge medical expenses.... Part of the family that owned this land is now good friends- or at least friends- and I don't want to upset the friendships- I doubt that all the heirs knew about the timber but I suspect highly that the ones who were taking logs here and there knew very well. What should I do? Do I even have recourse now 13 months after closing?
     
  2. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    I know this isn't what you wanted to hear, but I think that when you buy something at an auction, it is "as is, where is" and there are no warranties. Buyer beware.

    Can you re-sell it to someone else that doesn't care about timbering it? Is it a good homestead location?

    Maybe someone else will have a more positive thought....

    I wish you well!
    Chris
     

  3. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    You did not have recourse 1 day after closing. If you were buying the property as a timber investment you should have written a contingency on the purchase contract of a satisfactory timber inspection or valuation. Buyer Beware. Bet you won't make this mistake agian, sorry if it was an expensive lesson.
     
  4. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Could it be sold for Firewood? What kind of Timber is it? I know lots of Timber around here is fire scared and rotting in the middle but it is still being logged.

    big rockpile
     
  5. MaryNY

    MaryNY Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you should still have recourse after 13 months. The time limit - generally speaking (though I'm most familiar with NY) - for commencing a lawsuit stemming from a "contract" is 6 years. (I just checked and I believe 6 yrs is the limit in TN, too). However, the question is - was the purchase through the "auction" a "contract"? Also did the autioneer say anything about the timber being valuable or good, or did any of the literature that may have been printed up for the auction say anything about the value of the timber?

    You need to check with an attorney in your area. Probably NOT someone in your town or even your county (they might have "connections" to the previous owners of your land, the estate or their attorney). An attorney with a good rep for real estate and/or litigation matters who has an office in the county seat of the next county over from yours would probably be a good place to start. Call for an appointment for a "consultation" -- which should be free or not cost too much -- just to see what your options might be and what it might cost. Some attorneys might be willing to take this type of case on a contingency basis - which means that they would be willing to take a percentage of whatever money they recover for you as their fee. You would probably still be responsible for "disbursements" (copying fees, postage, filing fees with the court, etc.), and you should ask how much those might be.

    Good luck!

    MaryNY
     
  6. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the advice.

    I spoke with the seller (who bought the property at the auction- I bought it from her) and she said there was no disclosure about the timber being bad. Around here, in this particular community, timber is the value of the land. If the land is priced and sells at market value it implies the timber is good. My contract specifically forbid cutting the timber before the loan was paid off. When I asked about the clause I was told what I already said. The timber is the value of the land- if it is cut and a buyer defaults on the loan the land is worthless (almost). The seller is sending a timber buyer out here to assess the timber independently.
     
  7. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Its hardwoods with some pine mixed in. I don't know who else to ask about cutting. How does one go about finding a pulp cutter or firewood cutter? That was the reason for the timber being rotted btw. It was burned regulalrly by th eold man.
     
  8. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    where did you find the logging contractors?

    Did you contact any sawmills in the area that gave you the names of reputable logging contractors?

    Did you view the property beofre purchasing it or have a timber cruise completed by a professional?

    What does the State forestor say about the type and quality of timber you have on your property?

    Logging contractors come in both good and questionalbe varieties, and sometimes it is hard to tell the good ones from the questionable ones, the state forestor can also make suggestions as to who might be which.... if not the state forsetor then the county extension agent should be able to set in the direction of the right people to get aholt of to get the better estimate of what you have there and the quality of your timber.

    Being from Central Idaho i really have no idea what your timber looks like or what it could be worth, i know the aree is usually known for its oak and pine timber, both being either sawlogs or pulp with stumpage usually bought by the ton. If you happen to have the right type of logs, a small portable sawmill owner might be brought in and saw specialty lumber that can be sold to furniture makers for an increased profit on your part if you have the time to do so..... such can be done on shares and a 50-50 split if you do the leg work to make the sales would be what i would make for a deal [I have owned a portable sawmill for 20 years and dislike cutting on shares unless i already have a sale for the lumber, otherwise i want 15-20 cents per board foot to cut it].... A portable sawmill owner can also provide names of reputable logging contractors.....

    No matter what contractor you get, make sure you get things on paper, such as road maintainance, skid trail water barring, brush disposal, brush piling, and a counts of logs hauled and loads leaving and to where each load will go and then contact the mills to make sure each load gets there [have a weekly count sent or be able to pick up such a slip detailing load tickets delivered] however sometimes that may prove hardeer to get done than anything else, but it is your logs and you want paid for them and scale is scale. having a contract with the logging contractor lets everyone know in advance what is expected and what will be done and the time frame of doing so.... before lawyers get involved.

    now as a recourse of not being what you thought it was going to be, unless detailed in the purchase agreement when you bought the property, the lawyers [those people who only have their hands in their own pockets when it is really freezing outside] would get most of anything that you think you might recover.... and sometimes more.

    William
     
  9. TnTnTn

    TnTnTn Well-Known Member

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    Tango-sorry to hear about all the setbacks. Hindsight is 20/20. If you were buying the land because of the value of the timber it would have been wise/mandatory to know its approximate value before buying. Timber and forest products prices do fluctuate but I think they have been generally high for awhile. Your local county State Forester will evaluate your timber stand and give you a professional estimate as to its value and can put you in touch with logging operators. The state forester will provide this estimate free of charge. So that is what I would do-contact the local state forester and find out the 'true' value of the timber/wood on your land. Once you have that info you can deal with it and know what to expect from potential harvestors. The land has probably been high-graded several times over the years and may not have a lot of 'good' timber. Good luck. TnTnTn
     
  10. bumpus

    bumpus Well-Known Member

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    Contact your Government Forestry Department.

    Sometimes they will come out and look at your timber, and evaluate your timber, and give you good advice.

    Some Timber people ( Loggers ) will never give a true value, and many will lie just to take advantage of what you do not know, and steal you timber, and give you very little for it.

    I have seen ( many many many ) people get cheated by crooked timber people.

    Get someone to look at the timber who will tell you the truth ! ! !

    bumpus
    .
     
  11. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    speaking from experience, do not trust the local forester to give you accurate info. he will do business with the local loggers time and time again. he will "represent" you one time or every decade or so. the point is that they will conspire with the folks they normally do business with as they engage in that business routinely. bring in someone from as far away as is practical.
     
  12. just_sawing

    just_sawing Haney Family Sawmill

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    I am sorry to hear your predicament but I can tell you that it isn,t as bad as it appears. The long run you will win if you don't loose faith.
    Here is a web site of a man in wisconson. http://www.timbergreenfarm.com/ He has made a living marketing the rotton timber that your loggers don't want to touch. I see this on my mill all the time. I spoke to a logger todaay (One of the better ones) and he basically told me he could not cur low grade wood period.
    Your problem is finding a nitch for you and your land. I believe you should have my Phone number from us trying to get together on your way ward calf. Give me a call and I'll try to help.
     
  13. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I think thats the best deal is to get State Forester to look it over.

    big rockpile
     
  14. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't trust anybody in the industry unless you can get several solid reccommendations. Around here there is a lot of valuable high grade hardwoods and loggers who make a living illegally harvesting it from public and private land. I'm sure the majority are honest, but there are a lot of shady ones too. Good luck.
     
  15. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I think you are being misled by the potential buyers. Provided the trees are not regrowth from previously cut stumps there should be minimal rot. The one buyer was looking for larger diameter timber therefore the trees must be on the small side. Small younger trees are the healthest trees in the forest. Rot is mainly confined to mature trees or trees that were heavily damaged during a previous harvest. What is the dominant species of hardwoods growing on the hillside and what is the diameter at breast height?
     
  16. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    If the trees are tall (say thirty or forty feet to the first limb)and straight (stand beside them, look up, and see if they're straight) and pretty wide, at least 20", then they might be worth something. If the forest has been high graded, you might be looking at culls that weren't worth cutting during the last timbering, and now, they're still culls, just bigger. Squirrely curvy trees, hollow trees, trees with no value in any market... will rarely be worth the bother of cutting, unless pulpwood prices are high... and now, the price is rock bottom...

    Pulpwood is barely worth cutting... you might get 5 bucks a ton... Maybe. I talk with several loggers regularly and most of their cutting this time of the year is for out of state corporations that have plantations, and don't care if the price is low or not...
     
  17. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Guess I am a 'as is, where is' type of person, both when selling & buying. I always figure it is up to the buyer to check out what it is they are buying, & pay what they think it is worth based on their evaluation. I don't much care what the buyer has to say about anything - they are done with it so their words mean little.....

    I'd be surprised if you have any recourse, but in todays lawyer-world I am probably too straightforward in my thinking. ;)

    --->Paul
     
  18. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    agmantoo I know what kind of trouble he is having with the trees.They have been burned,fire scard,so either the trees are hollow or rotted.

    I've had fires come through here kill trees big enough for Sawlogs.These were big Old White Oaks.

    big rockpile
     
  19. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Big Rockpile has it straight. If fire came through (burning the underbrush) the trees can be damaged and still look ok. They will be damaged goods as far as logging. We looked at a property like that in West Virginia.

    Mike
     
  20. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I hope people don't misunderstand the investment part of this. The land itself was purchased as investment. The timber was a bonus aspect that I never considered until after neighbors started to talk about timber harvesting and how much they had made. I thought about select cutting and then started to think about clear-cutting to let my herd of cows graze there instead of on my side of the road ( I no longer have the cows though). The 33 acres is across the road. Land is the investment for me. Timber would have been excellent, especially now in my current financial straits. I don't know what to think about those who suggest I should have checked. Had I thought about it, by the time, I could have gotten someone here to check (I was out of state at the time) the land would have been sold. In fact, the three parcels had a full price offer the first night they were on the market. It is a fast selling market in land right now. A peson has to make a quick decision on good land. I bought my place by phone. Seen only in photos and I have excellent land, and no regrets about my homesite. The timber on this side of the road would have been a bonus also. My main qualm is the 33 acres which were priced at market value and without good timber- the price should have been less but a hunter would have paid what I paid just for seasonal deer hunting. The market is crazy here right now. Given time and thought it only seems natural that the family would have taken all the good timber. They are very poor and a few of them are very greedy from what I've been told. So if this was they way I could afford thisbeautiful land then so be it. I appreciate the opportunity to mull it over and see it from different persepctives. I am concerned that the quality of the timber was undisclosed but I am now seeing that if a lawyer is my only recourse then I will just forget about it. Live and learn. Land will go up in price and I will in 20 years time, use that investment for my retirement. I appreciate everyone's input.And Big Rockpile is right, it is rotten supposedly because the the land was controlled burned for undergrowth and bugs. The previous owner was fire happy. Thanks everyone.