How to avoid unnecessary delays when selling a farm
How to avoid unnecessary delays when selling a farm

How to avoid unnecessary delays when selling a farm

Selling your farm or a block of land can be a complex process and careful preparation is critical to avoid some of the pitfalls.

This not only involves thinking through how best to present and market your farm, but also asking the right questions about who to involve in the process and when.

Making sure you have the right team in place to advise you and guide you through the sales process is perhaps the single most important decision you can make when selling a farm.

Getting it right means you have the best possible chance of achieving a great result, with the least amount of stress possible and can shave months off the time it takes.

We always strongly advise clients there are three key professional advisors that need to be involved in any sale – an agent, an accountant and a lawyer – who together will form the ‘three-legged stool of success’.

All three parties should be instructed as early as possible in the process – certainly at least a month before the property is launched, but preferably well before that.


Your agent is there to understand your objectives and then advise you on the best way to achieve them. We will use our expert knowledge to value the property, consider if there are any ways in which to boost its value, such as strategic lotting, and advise you on the most appropriate method of sale.

We will draw on our knowledge of the local market and our national network of agents and other connections as we market the property. Once we’ve negotiated a deal with a buyer, we liaise with all parties involved to resolve issues and queries as they arise during the sales process.


Getting the input of an accountant with experience of dealing with the buying and selling of farms and estates is also hugely important, as the way in which a farm is sold can impact greatly on the tax position.

For example, they will be able to identify what reliefs from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) may be available and the most tax efficient way to manage the proceeds of the sale.

If a specialist accountant is alerted to a sale early in the process, they can put in place the building blocks for a strategy to minimise the tax liability facing sellers.


A frustration when selling a farm can be the length of time between receiving an offer and completion. Getting your lawyer involved a couple of months before the launch means they can start preparing the answers to pre-contract enquiries on any restrictions, covenants, licences, overages, tenancy agreements and employment issues before the sales particulars are even written.

Always choose a specialist agricultural lawyer, preferably one who has been recommended to you, who understands the intricacies involved with the sale of a farm. We see instances where people decide to appoint a High Street residential conveyancer to handle their farm sale and it inevitably leads to problems because they are not familiar with many of the issues that will need to be addressed.

Where possible invite them to visit the farm ahead of the sale, as this gives them a far better understanding of the property and will help them to identify potential problem areas, such as boundaries issues or any land which is not registered with the Land Registry.

Buyers will typically want land to be registered before they proceed and so if this is not flagged until late on in the process it can add considerable time to a sale – particularly as the Land Registry is currently taking about three months to process applications.

Vendors will also need to play their part in gathering together all the documentation that a buyer is likely to want to see during the sales process. This could include title plans, details of agri-environment scheme agreements, abstraction licences, rights of way maps, historic cropping records, listed building status, sporting rights and any tenancy agreements. Gathering this information well ahead of any sale, so it is ready for a buyer once they have made an offer, should make the process quicker, easier and less stressful.

If you are thinking of either buying or selling farmland then contact a member of our Estates & Farm Agency Department.

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