Farm Sale

The sale of my parent’s farm has finally happened, nearly 3 years after mom’s death.  It’s caused a fair amount of tension among us siblings over that time. Matt has wanted it for a very long time, and had an appraisal done in 2009 that valued it at about $350,000 (130 acres), but we didn’t take further steps at that time. After mom died, we started talking again and it was getting a bit heated. Matt didn’t want to pay much over $400,000. Then we talked to a realtor who in turn talked to Howard Booher, a Randolph business man and farmer, who verbally offered over $800,000 for it. Things broke down after that and we decided to wait.

In November, 2015, at the advice our attorney Sheri Peters, we all agreed to sign a document that gave Matt until the end of June 2017 to purchase the farm from the rest of us or we’d put it up for sale. The agreement also stated that the value would be set as the average of two appraisals.

Susan and I had discussed various ideas for the farm over the course of our marriage. The first one was creating a worm farm. This was well before mom died. I thought it was silly at first, but finally decided to do a little research. For a time, I even thought it might be feasible. We even presented the idea to Matt, but he didn’t like it. He had gotten to a point over the years that he really didn’t the farm for any purpose other than to have a place to visit on weekends and enjoy the fresh air and scenery. He would probably deny that, but that’s my perspective. He had little interest in turning the farm into something that would produce income. Eventually, I also lost interest in the worm farm idea after a little more research and talking to some people that were in the business.

Other ideas that Susan had were to turn the barn into a wedding barn and to start an aquaponics farm. I liked the wedding barn idea, but lost interest when we learned that it would take a million dollars to renovate the barn and do the necessary improvements. I think the aquaponics idea is not bad, but doesn’t hold a lot of interest for me. I can it also costing a lot of money to start, plus a lot of work producing product and selling it.

We also considered building a house for ourselves on the farm, and perhaps building a storage facility and renting out the space.

When we left Ohio in Sept of 2016, we pretty much forgot about about all those ideas. In the Spring of 2017, with the deadline for our agreement looming, Matt started the conversation once again.  The first step was to hire an appraiser. Doug found one who gave us a value of $760,000. Then Matt found another one who valued the farm at about $540,000. Matt thought the first appraisal was bad. I thought the second was bad. Nevertheless, we had agreed to average the difference which put the value at $650,000 or exactly $5000 per acre.

It wasn’t quite as simple as I described it. We had a couple of semi-heated discussions, including Matt calling me at one point and accusing me of foul play, which I vehemently denied. Mary was also worried about mineral rights and Matt selling the property later at a big profit.

In August, the day after Andrew and Tina’s wedding, we met at Ginger and Phil’s house — all except Mary, that is. It was good timing. We’d gotten through the worst of it. Matt had asked Doug if he would buy about 40% of the farm to make the purchase more manageable for him and Doug agreed. At the meeting we all agreed that $5000 per acre was reasonable.

After that, I contacted Sheri Peters to draw up the agreement. She was swamped with other work, however, so progress was slow. When I decided to go back to Ohio for Aunt Jean’s funeral, this created an opportunity for a meeting with Sheri. Ginger and Mary couldn’t be there, but Matt, Doug, Karen, and I met with Sheri at the end of November. Mary didn’t want to sell until after the first of the year for tax reasons. I, however, wanted to sell before the end of the year. There was plenty of time, but Sheri still had trouble finding time to draw up agreements and order a title search. The search, in fact, was not completed until after the Jan 1, but the agreements were signed Dec 30th so it worked out.

Now comes the task of figuring out exactly what to do with the money. We paid tithing. Jim and Holly needed a short term loan so we gave them $4000, and we also paid off the roof on the house in Hartville. Susan is desperate to find a home and/or land so has been spending a lot of time on that. $130,000 won’t get you much, however. Plus, we can’t decide where we want to go or when to make the move.

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