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The Stags Farm Agency team have enjoyed a busy start to 2015, meeting and talking to many farmers who are considering either selling up their whole farms, or selling off some surplus (and in most cases) off-lying land.
2014 saw strong demand for blocks of land and farms, with many properties attracting multiple offers, and as a result Stags now has a large and comprehensive database of disappointed buyers still looking to purchase. ‘Lower commodity prices have made a number of smaller farming businesses question why they are continuing to farm, particularly if they have not got children wishing to take over,’ says Andrew Ranson, Auctioneer and Farm Agent for Stags, covering Cornwall and West Devon. ‘At the same time, other farmers are looking harder at their assets and some of those with off-lying land are taking the opportunity to sell to either reduce borrowings or re-invest back into the farm.’
Just recently Stags were asked out to advise a farmer near Newquay, whose children have shown little interest in running the farm, and which is now of a size that is no longer considered to be economically viable. Whilst the farmer’s borrowings were very low, the owners felt they would be more comfortable in a smaller house, which would be cheaper to heat and maintain, and hence were questioning how much longer to continue to farm.
Andrew Ranson points out that this is quite a common situation, and that the catalyst for action is rarely debt, but more often lifestyle and family reasons. ‘Prospective sellers are wise to talk to a farm agent at an early stage’, Ranson advises. ‘I often hear that vendor’s appreciate Stags’ early advice, particularly in respect of what work should be undertaken ahead of a sale, so as to fully exploit the farm’s potential and maximise its value. This includes regularising planning matters, registering unregistered land with the Land Registry, negotiating an off-sale to a neighbour and discussing the optimum time to market a property’.
Stags specialist team of farm agents cover the whole of the South West and are very happy to provide confidential advice on selling or buying agricultural property. Please contact their regional base at Exeter to be connected to your local agent, (01392 680059).