A law firm for life

Selling a Farm

At The McKinstry Company, we are property law experts with a particular specialism in agricultural law and rural property.  We are involved, every day, in aspects of sales and purchases of agricultural land, farms and rural properties across Ayrshire.

In some ways, selling a farm is similar to selling any business, some particularities arise in the context of the sale of agricultural businesses and land.  Here we outline some of the key considerations which arise in the sale or purchase of a farm.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our expert team today.  We are on hand to support you and answer any questions you may have about the sales process.

What Do You Need to Consider When Selling Agricultural Property or Farming Business?

Firstly, while it may seem obvious, it is important to consider why you want to sell the land or business.  For example, you may only want to sell part of your land which you do not use.  Alternatively, you may want to transfer your entire business on retirement.  The reasons for the sale will determine the options available to you.

Selling Agricultural Land

To take the first example, if you have surplus land and wish to sell part of it, you may want to consider how you would want the land you sell to be used.  Housing developers are increasingly purchasing land in traditionally rural areas to build housing estates.  Alternatively, sales of rural land for energy projects, such as wind farms, are also becoming increasingly common.

Many farmers in recent years have sold land to developers for these purposes, and there are many different ways of conducting these sales.  It may be a straightforward sale of agricultural land, with the developer buying the land outright and acquiring title.  Alternatively, you may enter into an options agreement.  An options agreement is a contract that gives one party (the developer) the option of buying a piece of land within a defined period.  Usually, a deposit will be paid to the landowner on signing the contract, which will not need to be repaid even if the option is not exercised.  This type of contract works well for developers, who can guarantee their right to buy the land while exploring the options and viability of a particular project (e.g. obtaining planning permission).  If you wish to know more about sales and contracts involving developers, it is a good idea to seek legal advice at the outset to ensure all decisions are well-informed.

Selling a Farming Business

Alternatively, you may be considering the sale of your business in its entirety.  When selling a farming business, it is not only the sale of the land that you have to consider but also the implications for the wider business.  There may be particular processes to be followed in transferring employees, for example, to ensure worker’s rights are respected.  You should also fully consider the tax implications of any sale. Questions of tied accommodation link to the terms and conditions of employment to be considered.

Equally, you will need to be prepared for the due diligence checks, which will be conducted by any prospective purchaser.  They will expect to review every detail of the business, from the accounts to the contracts you have with suppliers.  This is how the purchaser will assess the profitability and value of your business, and it is important that information is provided in full and in a timely manner.  While this can seem a daunting task, having a supportive and dedicated team of solicitors can ensure the smooth-running of this process.

Contact The McKinstry Company Agriculture Lawyers, Ayrshire

At The McKinstry Company, we can work with you to understand the implications of selling farmland or a farming business and ensure the best outcome possible for you.

If you want to learn more about our agricultural services generally, get in touch today.  You can contact us on 01292 281711 or via our online enquiry form.  Our friendly and dedicated team are here to help you.

Debbie Dunlop Partner View Debbie's Profile

Based in our Girvan office, Debbie is a Partner who is highly experienced in Private Client work, particularly in the agricultural and farming sectors. She used to enjoy travelling the world, but now married to a farmer, she spends her weekends in wellies, feeding cattle or on the back of a quad bike. Debbie is also a member of the Agricultural Law Association.

Having lived in Rome for a number of years, Debbie also studied Law at the Université d’Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand – as a result, she is fluent in both Italian and French. She can also speak a bit of Spanish, thanks to travelling around various Central and South American countries, including walking the Inca trail. She has managed to convince her husband that the cattle in Argentina will be worth a look at some time soon!

A keen runner, Debbie has competed in 10Ks and half marathons, even completing the Rome Marathon. This now comes in handy during lambing time chasing after ewes.

Ayr Sandgate

Queen’s Court House
39 Sandgate
Ayr, Ayrshire

  • Disability access
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146-148 Dalrymple Street
Girvan, Ayrshire
KA26 9BQ

  • Disability access
  • Parking close by
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