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Model Instruments for Land & Easement Acquisition

A purchase option assures the option holder of the right to purchase property at a certain price within a certain time period but without an obligation to do so. In granting an option, the landowner gives up the right to sell freely during the option period. The Model Grant of Purchase Option can be useful for buying a conservation organization the time it needs to research a deal, raise funds, assemble adjacent parcels, handle messy ownership situations and more.

The Model Grant of Right of First Offer provides a tool for a conservation organization to document a landowner commitment to turn first to that organization before looking elsewhere for a purchaser. It includes both a right of first offer and a right of first negotiation. It can be structured so that either the landowner or the organization makes the first offer. Unlike the purchase option, it does not generally require the landowner to accept the organization's offer.

The Model Grant of Right of First Refusal may be used separately or together with the Model Grant of Right of First Offer to assure that, after exposure to the market, the conservation organization is afforded an opportunity to match a competing bid the landowners are ready to accept.

Standard purchase and sale agreements, such as the agreement for vacant land published by the Board of Realtors, do not contain all the provisions that a conservation organization would want to have when committing to a real estate transaction. The Model Conservation Transaction Addendum provides supplemental provisions that conservation organizations should consider incorporating into their purchase and sale agreements.

The Model Preliminary Agreement Regarding Conservation Easement Donation sets out in plain, clear language the course that the landowners and conservation organization will take for bringing a potential easement donation to fruition and enumerates their respective commitments. It also ensures that an organization won't be stranded with project costs if a landowner chooses to withdraw from a project.