How Is The Value of A Conservation Easement Determined?

The value of a conservation easement is generally estimated as the difference between the market value of the property unencumbered (“before”) and the market value of the property subject to the easement restrictions  (“after”), as determined by a qualified appraiser. For example, the “before” market value of a highly developable property is the amount a person would pay for the property with the intent of developing it under existing and/or likely market conditions. (Note that “before” value is not the sale price of the developed lots.) The “after” market value is the amount a person would pay for the property, knowing that it is permanently restricted from some or all development. There is usually (but not always) a substantial difference between the before and after values, and the difference is the value of the conservation easement.

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