Bargain Salesare sometimes an option for a landowner when it is not financially possible for families to gift land, but they may be able to realize some income as well as a charitable deduction through a bargain sale to a land trust.
A bargain sale is a sale to a charitable organization or government entity for less than fair market value. The difference between the appraised value and the sale price of the property is considered a charitable donation, so while the net proceeds to the seller are less in such a transaction, this may be offset by tax savings.
An Option to Purchase is appropriate when a landowner is interested in selling land to a conservation organization, but has no immediate need, he or she may choose to grant that organization an Option to purchase.
In this transaction, buyer and seller agree to terms of sale, including a sale price. The buyer is given a specified period of time in which they may fulfill the obligations of the Option and complete the purchase. During this time, the seller typically cannot entertain other buyers, thus allowing the organization time to raise the necessary funds for the purchase.
A landowner may also grant a Right of First Refusal to an organization that wishes to purchase property sometime in the future. When a landowner is ready to sell, and receives a bona fide offer from another interested party, the organization has a specified amount of time in which to match that offer.
In a Right of First Refusal situation, as with an Option to purchase, the conservation organization is not obligated to purchase the property.