Even if you own a property outright, you still have costs to contend with due to that ownership. Regardless of whether the lot is vacant, you’ll owe property taxes. Additionally, there are maintenance expenses to deal with in many cases. That’s why many people want to find ways to bring in some income using the vacant land they own. If you have a fully or partially undeveloped property and you want to bring in a bit of cash, here are ten ways to make money from a huge vacant lot.
1. Sell the Lot
While this option is essentially a one-and-done approach, it is a way to make a solid chunk of change from a vacant lot. By selling, you’ll get a lump sum, which may be preferable if you need a significant amount of cash all at once. Plus, depending on the condition of the land and its location, the price may be higher than you’d expect.
Selling also lets you avoid ongoing expenses. You won’t owe any additional property taxes (suggesting that you’re current) or have to worry about maintenance after the sale.
2. Boat or RV Storage
Many people own recreational vehicles that they can’t conveniently store at home. When that’s the case, they’re normally willing to rent space from another person, giving them a designated area to store their boat or RV.
If your vacant lot is reasonably level and securable, you could rent out parking spots for recreational vehicle storage. In most cases, you’d charge based on the size of the vehicle, as that dictates how much room it takes up.
For treed lots, you could turn the space into a viable campground. You’d simply divide it into plots, ensuring that campers had enough room and privacy to enjoy themselves. Then, you could charge a small fee per night.
If you go in this direction, you’ll need clear rules dictating the kinds of activities that can take place. For example, you may have to have guidelines for campfires, including whether they need can be on the ground or have to be in a brazier or above-ground firepit and if burning any specific materials is prohibited. Having trashcans available or rules about removing garbage could be essential.
One benefit of this option is that if the lot has power and water, you could potentially charge more than if it didn’t. Having a bathroom available for campers or electricity at each of the spots could boost the perceived value, making it easier to get top dollar.
In a similar vein to the option above, you could use your vacant lot to host events. Depending on its size and condition – as well as whether the lot is open or treed – it might work well for parties, concerts, renaissance festivals, carnivals, or other kinds of gatherings.
How you price this option out may depend on the nature of the event. If it’s a for-profit venture, you may ask for a set fee or part of the gate. For private gatherings, a set fee is usually the go-to option.
5. Animal Pastures
Whether it’s finding horses a place to run or needing a place to bring in farm animals while their main pastures are undergoing maintenance, you could potentially rent out your vacant lot to temporarily house someone else’s animals. With this option, you may need water on-site if you’re supporting longer stays. Additionally, having some kind of structure – like a stable – might be necessary in that case as well.
If you do have a stable, then you could even make long-term arrangements for horses. If you go in this direction, there tends to be more work involved since you may be at least partially responsible for the care of the horses. However, that depends on the nature of the arrangement.
6. Bee Host
If your lot is near fruit trees or berry bushes, you may be able to rent out space to local beekeepers and host their bees. Certain plant pollens can give honey a unique flavor. As a result, some beekeepers are willing to pay landowners who have properties in desirable locations, such as close to orchards or blackberry bushes.
With this approach, your involvement is usually minimal. You’ll simply rent out a spot where beekeepers can place their hives and give them permission to access their hives as needed.
7. Farm Lease
For vacant lots bordering farms, leasing the land to a neighboring farm may be a viable option. Essentially, you’ll create a rental agreement that allows the farmer to expand the operation onto your property, giving them more room for planting or animal raising.
If you pursue this option, keep in mind that the lease lengthy might need to be substantial to make it attractive to a neighboring farm. That way, if they put in the work to expand, they know they’ll get value from that effort for enough time to make it worthwhile.
8. Harvest Timber
For treed lots, you may be able to sell the timber to an interested party. Whether this works depends on the types of trees on the property and their ages, as that determines the value of the lumber products that it can potentially produce.
In most cases, you’ll need to contact a government agency – usually one associated with forestry, natural resources, ecology, or something similar – to connect with a local service forester before going this route. They can review your lot to provide you with information regarding your trees and any local laws that may impact your ability to sell.
9. Turn It into Paid Parking
If you have a vacant lot in an urban area, converting it into a paid parking lot may be a solid option. While it could require an upfront investment – including paving the property, painting spaces, installing a gate, and adding other required technology – it could be worth doing if reliable parking is hard to come by in that area.
You’ll have to decide if you want to focus on long- or short-term parking, too. If you’re closer to shops, restaurants, or local attractions, going with short-term parking could be a wise choice. If the buildings nearby are mainly housing, you may want to go with long-term (such as monthly) arrangements instead.
10. Create a Shooting Range
If it’s legal in your area, turning your vacant land into a shooting range could be an option. It may require very little in the way of an upfront financial investment if the lot has a large, reasonably flat area.
However, you’ll need to jump through some hoops to ensure you get all of the required operational licenses and permits. Additionally, you may have to deal with some insurance-related challenges. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth considering, particularly if you live in a more rural location and an area where activities like hunting or sport shooting are popular.
Do you know of any other ways to make money from a huge vacant lot? Have you used any of the options above and want to tell others about your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.