There are many reasons to sell a conservation easement on your land. Essentially, a conservation easement is a restriction on future development rights of the land while the landowner still maintains ownership and agricultural use of the land.
Recently, Florida has made some significant conservation purchases under the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis who made conservation a key issue in his campaign platform in 2018. In late May, the state cabinet approved projects to conserve thousands of acres of natural land under a series of Florida Forever. In deals worth $79 million, tracts from Central Florida to the Panhandle will be purchased, including two projects brokered by Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM, founder of SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate.
The largest of the two projects is called The Bluffs of St. Teresa, a more than 17,000-property which will be purchased for $43 million. Stretching from Dickerson Bay to Bald Point and extending west to an area known as the St. Teresa Bluffs and Tate’s Hell State Forest, the project brings more than 6,200 acres of wetland and almost 11,000 acres of upland into conservation lands. The state also committed to the purchase of the AVT Ranch in the Green Swamp region of Polk County.
In addition to outright sales of land for conservation, another way to conserve land while honoring landowner property rights is called a conservation easement. Since 1985, Dean has specialized in Florida land and conservation easements. From 1992 to 1996 he served in the Florida House of Representatives, where his strong passion for supporting landowner property rights and conserving the integrity of a property’s natural resources culminated in his authorship of groundbreaking conservation legislation.
If you own natural, undeveloped property that you want to preserve for future generations, selling a conservation easement is a great option to take into consideration. There are many types of easements and programs are run at the county and state level among varying departments and organizations. Conservation easements can protect your land from development that might destroy its natural beauty and ecosystem.
Here are seven benefits of conservation easements:
1. The landowner maintains control and ownership of the property.
Conservation Easements can provide an affordable way for families to keep and maintain a property for future generations while conserving it's nature and wildlife.
2. The landowner benefits by getting paid for the appreciated value caused by development pressure.
As Florida experiences exponential population growth, property values are rising as more land is required for the development of homes and other commercial uses. The increase in property value leads to higher taxes, which may create pressure on the landowner to sell. Selling a Conservation Easement offers a way of creating some cash flow for the landowner by selling development rights, while allowing the property itself to remain owned by the landowner.
3. Future generations benefit in future transfer of the land by favorable estate tax treatment.
A conservation easement may lower the value of a property for estate tax purposes. Click here to learn more about the tax advantages and implications of a conservation easement.
4. Each conservation easement is individually structured to meet the needs of the landowner, along with the conservation criteria, and can be structured broadly or specifically.
This focus on the individuality of each property can help ensure that the most beneficial decisions are made for each property according to it's own strengths.
5. Landowners may gain income tax advantages.
Landowners may receive income tax advantages including gifting, tax-deferred exchanges, and gains used against the basis value. Click here to learn more about the tax advantages and implications of a conservation easement.
6. The property may be sold and the restriction travels with the property.
Because you maintain ownership, you have the right to sell your property even after a conservation easement is obtained. The conservation easement generally remains on the property regardless of new ownership.
7. Landowners continue to receive income from their land.
Many conservation easements permit continued use of your land for agriculture and ranching. Not only do you maintain ownership of your land, but can continue to receive income from these activities.