6 Ways To Make Money From Land

An off-the-grid tiny house. Photo credit: Christoph Scholz on Flickr.

In the world of real estate and the wider world of investing, land is one of the most overlooked asset classes. It’s easy to see why – it’s just dirt, right? I’ve long been comfortable with most investors having that misguided view – more for the rest of us!

Nonetheless, the truth is there are plenty of ways land owners and investors make money with their property. Not every method will work for your land due to zoning and local rules, not to mention where your property is located and whether it has a nice view. Nonetheless, you’d be surprised at the options you have. Above all, be creative and have an open mind.

Today I’m going to discuss a few ways you can make money with your land. This is obviously a (very) partial list, but it should get you thinking! We’ll start with strategies that involve the least cash out of pocket and go up from there.

1. Rent Out Your Land To Campers

You’ve probably heard about Airbnb, but how about its lesser known cousin, Hipcamp? Yes, you can turn your vacant land into a campground and let guests pay for the privilege. You provide the photos and info, and Hipcamp will handle the bookings for you. They even provide insurance, too. It’s best to start off with low nightly prices ($10 per night) to attract guests and earn positive reviews. From there, you can slowly raise prices to at least the area average. Considering your main cost with land is the annual taxes, and the taxes on vacant land typically are quite low, it won’t take you too many bookings to get you into the black. While it’s no get rich quick scheme, it is a nice way to turn your land into a cash flowing asset.

You’re welcome to use my referral code to sign up for Hipcamp. You’ll earn $100 cash after your first booking.

2. Promote Outdoor Advertising

You’ve seen billboards big and small driving along America’s highways and byways. The people who own the land those billboards are on make mailbox money each month from an outdoor advertiser. The advertising company goes through the trouble of constructing and maintaining the billboard, so if you own land along a road or highway, it’s something to consider.

It’s worth reaching out to a local outdoor advertising company or one of the majors like Lamar or Clear Channel to get more information.

3. Lease Your Land To A Utility Company

If you own land that has a lot of sun or wind, your property might be something a utility company may be interested in installing a solar array or a wind turbine. If you’re in a state where you can sell power back to the grid, it might be worth installing a few solar panels yourself.

Call the utility company in the area where your land is located to get more information.

4. Turn Your Land Into a Parking Lot

If you own land that’s within walking distance to a local attraction or multiple points of interest, it might make sense to convert your property into a parking lot, even a temporary one.

There might be some upfront cost to having someone (or a machine) manage the lot when it’s in use, but parking lots don’t take much to become cash positive. It’s all about location, location, location.

5. Create A Storage Space

Depending on your land’s zoning, you may have an opportunity to turn your vacant land into storage space. The option involving the least amount of startup capital is simply to put up a fence and create outdoor storage space for things like vehicles and trailers.

The other option that’s more capital intensive but presents some enticing cash flow opportunities is self-storage. Investors love self-storage units because they provide reliable monthly cash flow without much overhead or maintenance costs. It’s a fast growing niche for this reason, and there’s plenty of information online about what’s involved, what to look out for, and how to get started.

6. Install A Tiny House or Container Home

People love tiny houses and their cousins, container homes. They make for great vacation experiences in addition to places of residence. By putting your tiny house or container home on wheels, you can also avoid some local permits, rules, and restrictions that come with having a permanent structure on your property.

Roll your temporary home on to the property and post it on Airbnb or VRBO, build your positive reviews over time, and eventually develop some nice cash flow.

But Wait, There’s (Always) More!

The number of ways you can make money from your vacant land are limited only by your creativity. In addition to this partial list, your land could also be used for agricultural or mining purposes. You could build a spec house. Maybe you’re getting older and just want some additional cash flow without a big tax bill, and you simply sell your land with owner financing to someone else. There’s so much you can do.

So when someone makes fun of your vacant land or tells you “dirt is dirt” smile and laugh along with them. In the end, you know better and will ultimately have the last laugh.

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