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Thread: Buying land to protect view/privacy

  1. #1
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    Buying land to protect view/privacy

    Hi,

    Firstly, appologies if this is not the correct place to ask, but obviously as this forum appears to have a lot of farmers/agricultural land owners I hoped to get an insight into what your opinion may be if you were in the landowners position in the follwing scenario. I appreciate this topic will no doubt have been covered many times before.

    Im looking to buy a portion of the field directly behind our house, I don't necessarily want it for garden, in fact Im happy to let the farmer/landower keep using it for the current purpose for as long as the field remains in use for anything other than development. My sould aim would be to have ownership of it in order to protect an element of privacy should the land ever be built on. I have no desire for a bigger garden per se.

    The total field size, which is square (ish) and doesnt appear to have any really awkward bits is around 22 acres. Id be looking for 1 to 1.5 acres maximum, something around 50x100m. The field may at some point in the future get planning permission, though looking at history, rejection of planning outside the settlement limits and what has recently been approved, this could be a decade or more away. The portion I would be interested in would have no impact on access routes or adversely affect the overall size of any development should it get planning.

    Would you as landowners/farmers be receptive to the sort of deal where someone would buy an acre or so from a field of that size, but not want to fence it of, and would be happy to let you keep farming/using it until possibly getting planning on it one day? Id be more than happy to have covenants saying that I couldn't then sell it to developers, or it could be, but the lions share of its uplift in value would be payable to the original landowner.

    Im well aware that if it were aded as garden to my home it would add value and so Im well beyond the agricultural price. Id probably be prepared to open negotiations at 35k an acre.

    Would you laugh at that or am I somewhere in the ball park? Having never bought land before Im a bit green to it all.

    Any advice or comments very much appreciated.

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    Senior Member b slicker's Avatar
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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    There's certainly no harm in asking, and it could be a very tempting offer.

    Farmers sell plots of land for all sorts of reasons, and since the land isn't for development, I would start at between 10,000 and 15,000/acre.

    Any agreement to allow the seller to continue using the land would need to be legally watertight.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    I know some farmers who'd jump at the chance, I know some who wouldn't even speak to you.

    Firstly, as above, don't sell yourself out. Commencing at 10-15k/acre is entirely fair and reasonable, you can always up it during negotiations.

    Secondly, irrespective of price, offer to pay all conveyancing costs from the start.

    Thirdly, don't over complicate things regarding usage after a deal would be done. If the farmer wants any specific conditions then you seem well prepared to be as accommodating as possible, but too many agreements and "undertakings" now could just be storing up potential legal headaches in future. You're prepared to pay well for the land, you shouldn't really need to do too much else.

    Good luck.

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    Senior Member LALANS's Avatar
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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    Interesting proposal.
    I would avoid talking figures initially.
    First of all you have to establish the realistic OMV of the land taking account of the potential 'hope value' and the enhancement of the value of your existing property. There is also an element of 'ransom' from the owners point of view.
    I would suggest that you may be in for a shock at the potential value. Remember that this is not a voluntary sale by the landowner so unless he is a twit or skint you will have to pay well over the odds.
    In order to appear reasonable I would suggest that, and only if the landowner is willing to sell, you agree to either a mutually agreed valuer or each of you having your own valuer who sit down together and strike a deal.
    This keeps you at arms length and avoids potential fall outs.
    Good luck and let us know how you get on.
    Everything has a price its just getting to it that's difficult.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    There are, as usual, many variations as to how such a scenario can pan out. Firstly, what sort of a farmer is he ? If it is a large estate that is farmed well then don't expect an easy ride. They (possibly Trustees) may tell you to go and sling your hook. You say the field is "squarish". The last thing any decent farmer wants is a bit that juts out into an otherwise reasonably shaped piece of land.

    On the other hand, is the current owner a waster/bad farmer/in the pub every night kind of a bloke ? If he is he may be pleased to see you. But remember one thing, most working farmers are canny folk, we didn't come in with the last load of bananas. If you want to find a fool in the country then bring one with you.

    But I would be most emphatic about the following :

    1. Do not enter into any kind of continued use by the farmer, even if you are able to do a deal. Complete the purchase and take possesion. Yes, you might let someone graze a couple of sheep or something like that but be aware that the squatting rules are notoriously difficult to fight against.

    2. And some people aren't going to like this !!! The money being talked about so far is absolute tosh. I know of a land agent who starts this sort of negotiation by saying that the piece of land is worth, to you, 10% of the value of your existing property. Because it will almost certainly add that much to the value of it.

    I'm not being greedy, I'm not being naieve, it's just that you need to be aware of how others will see it. Good luck anyway.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    Thanks very much for the replies so far, they are very much appreciated.

    The land is owned by the daughter of the farmer. It was given to her as a present some years back I believe. It is still farmed and crops grown most years. This is why I would be more than happy to let them continue using the land for its current use indefinitely until such time as the rest of the field were developed, if ever. They are not a layabout, and they are in no way short of cash.

    I believe the thinking is that at some point in the future the land will get permission for development, though whether a developer will pay top money for it is questionable given it borders the M1, and also has the proposed HS2 running along the same border. I can't see housing developers having an easy ride selling homes with those two elements to consider, but that doesnt mean to say they wont be ineterested at all, so certainly the "hope value" is there.

    When HS2 was announced some years ago, I approached the owner about buying the field (my intention being turn it into a woodland to block any blight from the railway) and was met with a very solid "no". However, given the hope value of development in the future, and its ongoing active use for crops, I can understand that. I was perhas too quick to try and protect the home from any possible HS2 blight, that I overlooked the obvious reasons they would want to keep the field.

    As I can do pretty much the same with just an acre and I have no desire or need to shield the house from anything right now, I've thought it over a little more and came up with the idea of allowing continued use until ever the time came when the remaining part was granted development.

    Thanks again for the input so far.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    And there is always the possibility of someone, maybe not you, acquiring planning permission in the future for that bit of land, sticking out into what remains of a 20 acre field. I think the 10% aforementioned isn't too far off the mark I'm afraid. You see, look at it from a different scenario and it suddenly isn't as simple as say 20k per acre, you will probably need to assume building land price otherwise the owner wouldn't consider it worth the botheration. Sorry about that, but that is the view from the big bad world out there .

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    Quote Originally Posted by rangerover View Post
    And there is always the possibility of someone, maybe not you, acquiring planning permission in the future for that bit of land, sticking out into what remains of a 20 acre field. I think the 10% aforementioned isn't too far off the mark I'm afraid. You see, look at it from a different scenario and it suddenly isn't as simple as say 20k per acre, you will probably need to assume building land price otherwise the owner wouldn't consider it worth the botheration. Sorry about that, but that is the view from the big bad world out there .
    Also , we presume the farmer will have to pay capital gains!!!
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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    Thanks for the replies, they are very much apprecited. I thought I had posted a response earlier but it does not seem to have appeared.

    The 10% figure would put it at somewhere near 70k. Thats not a figure I'm put off by, but for that I'd exect it fenced off and becoming "mine". As one of my trains of thought was that this would introduce an awkward area of land to the field, I was proposing the continued use option allow the farmer to avoid that downside.

    The field itself is not in a particularly pricey area of the country, "up north", ex mining village territory. It has a motorway bordering it and now also has the HS2 proposed route bordering it. 3/4 of the field is within the proposed compensation distances for HS2. Whilst this will obviously lower the price from any prospective developers point of view, Im aware it certainly wont make the land cheap by any means. There is also a public right of way which runs across the back of the gardens which border the field (including mine), so any development on the site would most likely have to leave this area as green space and not be counted as "developable". This would represent a problem for the developer, but also for me turning it into garden if I were so inclined. Again my thought was that allowing the continued use for farming removed these issues for everyone.

    It goes without saying I would be paying both sides of the legal costs to draw up any sale, and I'd happily pay for an accountant to see if there was any way the land owner could be assistaed in avoiding any capital gains or other taxes on it.

    My sole aim is the protection of privacy from any future development, and be more than happy to put in covenants to uplift the value further should the land ever be granted development, and any proposals for such would need the consent of the landowner of the rest of the field.

    Thanks again for the responses, they have been quite helpful.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    Your neighbour might be a member on here

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    If it was my field, you would be buying "all or nothing" and if you are only looking for an acre or two, you are only looking for a "city view", not a country view.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    Quote Originally Posted by b slicker View Post
    Your neighbour might be a member on here
    I don't think I've said anything that would offend, and I wouldn't be looking to play cloak and dagger with the prices if they were open to discussion so if they know what I'm willing to pay then that at least get a a number on the table.

    As for all or nothing of the field, then I wouldn't be wanting to buy it all, so id just have to stick with the current position. The offer would always be there though if they changed their mind.

    I'm not after a country view, but just enough room to put some tall ish trees and screen any development without shrinking the current garden. To be fair I could probably do it with the 5-8m border left behind the property including the public right of way, but I would assume that messing about for the trivial sums involved for something that size wouldn't really be worth their time.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    I would not think it would do any harm to speak to the farmer, however remember they may have visions of development one day and possibly your block could hinder this. If their is any hope value your block would obviously have far greater value, than plain land but an offer of 35-70K would certainly be reasonable if that were the case.
    It would be perfectly possible to grant a lease to the farmer to continue farming the piece and he can never gain squatters rights having sold it to you.
    Diplomacy is the order of the day, I would invite them round for a glass of wine or suchlike, but do remember on land purchase no deal is sealed until money is paid.
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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    [QUOTE=Exfarmer;282270]
    It would be perfectly possible to grant a lease to the farmer to continue farming the piece and he can never gain squatters rights having sold it to you. [/ QUOTE]

    Oh yes he can ! The answer to this is a FBT or even a 364 day licence. Do not, under any circumstances enter into an AHA (Agricultural Holdings Act) tenancy which, with the right lawyer, could run for 3 generations. But I doubt anyone would enter into one of these having just sold a piece of a field.

    It all depends on so many variables. What sort of land is it ? Does it make a nonsense of the rest of the field ? What sort of farmer/landowner is he ? Ask around, we have all got reputations. You will then be forewarned about the sort of person that you are going to try and deal with.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    One can well see the current owner of the land applying a covenant to prevent future development on the land, if they did choose to sell.....however I can see all legal and financial advice being very much against any sale of any kind. Unless of course the current owner is in need of funds!
    One can only imagine the joy of the solicitor of a future purchaser of the farm when this turns up on his searches.....
    Nope price per acre would need to be big to be tempting.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    I just want to assure the original poster that his quest is well worth persuing and that that we are not being critical of him or deliberately trying to be unhelpful. He has joined this Forum for guidance and there is no reason for this community not to help as much as we can. Having read all the posts the general flavour, including mine, is one of not raising your hopes too high. But can I put the shoe on the other foot for a moment ?

    Let me suppose that the OP has a really nice house out in the country that he has laboured long and hard on the building itself, the drive, and the garden. But then I come along and say that I want to buy his house. He may sell of course, but it's going to be at his price and if he knows that I really want it and have to have it then he is going to get as much as he can for it. It's called business. He is not a charitable organisation, and neither is his farmer neighbour.

    And so may I repeat what I think is the first move. Find out what you can about the farmer who owns the land. Find out if he is approachable. Investigate his reputation. If you do that then you will at least have an inkling of the kind person with whom you are looking to do business with.

    Good luck.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    You have already had a no to buying this land, or was it the whole field that you asked about to create woodland?

    There is no harm in enquiring again and letting the farmer's daughter know that there is still an offer on the table and that it will remain so. If lucky you may get first refusal if they ever decide to sell the land.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    There was a similar instance near to me but not knowing the geographic details of the OP's situation the following may be of no consequence.

    There is a line of houses that bordered a field local to me, maybe about 5 or 6 that actually sit all the way along one straight side of the field. And one of the householders wanted to buy a bit more land like the OP does. It was originally a 5 acre field and was actually glebe land which may have made the negotiations a bit easier, maybe not. Anyway, all the relevant householders got together and purchased a strip of land running across the end of their gardens, thus retaining the straight edge. They then split it up between themselves in the obvious way. I hope that makes sense.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    I just want to assure the original poster that his quest is well worth persuing and that that we are not being critical of him or deliberately trying to be unhelpful. He has joined this Forum for guidance and there is no reason for this community not to help as much as we can. Having read all the posts the general flavour, including mine, is one of not raising your hopes too high. But can I put the shoe on the other foot for a moment ?

    Let me suppose that the OP has a really nice house out in the country that he has laboured long and hard on the building itself, the drive, and the garden. But then I come along and say that I want to buy his house. He may sell of course, but it's going to be at his price and if he knows that I really want it and have to have it then he is going to get as much as he can for it. It's called business. He is not a charitable organisation, and neither is his farmer neighbour.

    And so may I repeat what I think is the first move. Find out what you can about the farmer who owns the land. Find out if he is approachable. Investigate his reputation. If you do that then you will at least have an inkling of the kind person with whom you are looking to do business with.

    Good luck.

    Thank you for this. I am not going to be getting my hopes too high, though I am hoping that with a bit of thought and discussion I can come up with something that would suit the owner.

    At present the field has no awkward corners or areas, so my buying an acre of the 22 ish, while not hugely significant in terms of area, would introduce a step in one corner that isnt there at present, hence my willingness to allow it to still be farmed, to avoid introducing an awkward shape whilst ever the land is used for farming.

    The access to the field and any subsequent development would not be hampered by the loss of this acre. Indeed as this acre contains a run of the public right of way, it removes some of that particular headache from any prospective developer. If the land were included as part of development it is likely that it would have to be left as part open space anyay in order to accomodate this public right of way.

    Putting myself in the position of the landowner & farmer (who are by no means short of cash), I can fully appreciate wanting to hold onto it all. They have no need to sell, the money I would be offering for part of the field is hardly life changing for them, and they may in years to come obtain far more per acre than my offer. It makes perfect sense as to why they would not wish to sell any of it.

    However as we are talking about 5% or less of the area of the field, then the impact on the hope value is relatively small in the overall scheme, but I appreciate still not an insignificant sum that could be taken from the future hope value.

    I can appreciate the view of landowners that are saying Id have to buy all or nothing, and somewhere near the hope value at that. I am also pleased to see that some can see merit in the offer Im proposing. There is a village event coming up soon and I may have opportunity to speak to them informally, then invite round for drinks if there seems that something could be discussed.

    Thanks again for all the input and taking the time to comment on a matter not strictly related to farming. I shall try and remember to post up any updates on what happens one way or another if discussions do take place in the future.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Exfarmer View Post
    I would not think it would do any harm to speak to the farmer, however remember they may have visions of development one day and possibly your block could hinder this. If their is any hope value your block would obviously have far greater value, than plain land but an offer of 35-70K would certainly be reasonable if that were the case.
    It would be perfectly possible to grant a lease to the farmer to continue farming the piece and he can never gain squatters rights having sold it to you.
    Diplomacy is the order of the day, I would invite them round for a glass of wine or suchlike, but do remember on land purchase no deal is sealed until money is paid.
    I mean, no land purchase deal is secured until a contract has been drawn up and signed and the land transferred. Money obviously important, but that does not seal it.

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    Re: Buying land to protect view/privacy

    Really unless the Farmer is short of funds I cannot see them selling at anything but a ridiculously inflated price + a series of covenants. The hope value/future uplift makes it more complicated and could require yet more professional in the future. Enjoy the open view now and if something changes in the future have you got room to plant say a beech hedge which could be managed?

    edit Another point does the land fall within a farm ring fence or is it an offhand odd piece or land?

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