A fellow land investor once told me a story about a couple who he thought best embodied the opportunity raw land provides.
This couple was tired of living in the city and wanted to move out to the county.
In pursuit of their dream, they bought a few acres of farmland and started growing their specialty crop, lavender.
With this product, they now produce soaps and shampoos onsite that they then sell to various companies.
On top of this, they also rent out a portion of their farm for weddings and other events.
In just a few years, they were able to build a diversified business while moving to the country as they had dreamed.
And it all started with a parcel of raw land.
Land as a Business Opportunity
I like this story because it shows how raw land can be an opportunity to fuel dreams, build a business or generate wealth.
The great thing about land is its flexibility.
Provided you buy property that is zoned correctly for your desired uses, you can use vacant land to create any number of enterprises.
Below are just some of the ways land can be used to create a business.
- Become a Land Flipper
While not as popular as house flipping, land flipping can be a profitable business.
As you may be able to guess, land flipping involves buying raw land and then reselling it for a profit.
While some land flippers make improvements to the land to increase its resale value, the key is to learn how to buy land at the right price and market it properly.
With this knowledge, you can make land flipping a full-time business or use it as a side hustle to help grow your wealth.
- Start a Bed and Breakfast
Buying an undeveloped parcel of land allows you to build to your exact specifications.
This means you can construct your dream house and turn it into a bed and breakfast.
Even if you don’t want to live on the land, you can design a building to fit the unique brand you have crafted for your business.
Just make sure that the zoning designation on your property allows for commercial/hospitality uses.
- Create a Glamping Business
If building a bed and breakfast doesn’t appeal to you, a simpler optionis to create a glamping setup or campground and list it on Airbnb.
This could be as involved as creating luxury cabins or as simple as clearing a portion of the land and putting in basic camping facilities.
Regardless of your approach, many people are looking to escape the city for a restful weekend in nature and you can turn this desire into a successful business.
- Build a Touring Business
You will need substantial acreage to do this, but if you buy rural land with great natural appeal, you can build some trails around it and rent the land out for mountain biking, ATVing, snowmobiling or horseback riding.
If you want passive income, you can just lease the land to a local company or farm.
However, you can also build your own business by buying a couple vehicles, storing them onsite and offering tours to tourists and local alike.
- Invest in Alternative Energy
If you bought land in an area suitable for alternative energy production (i.e. wind or solar), you can lease your property to an energy company.
In many instances, you may be able to lease your land for solar or wind farm development while still being able to use at least a portion for other things.
Though not necessarily a business idea in and of itself, leasing land for solar development can be one of the most profitable cash flow options for vacant land in certain parts of the US.
- Create a Tax Break for Your Existing Business
If you already have a small business or other income stream and would like to find ways to reduce your federal income taxes, it is possible to generate tax breaks from vacant land.
One of these options includes donating a conservation easement to an approved land trust.
The easement will prevent development on your land, but will still allow you to use the property in ways that don’t conflict with the conservation objectives of the easement.
In exchange for providing an easement, you could be eligible for a federal income tax deduction of up to 50% of your income for 15 years, depending on the value of the easement.
- Become a Farmer
While farming is no longer the predominant occupation in the US, it is still a viable business option.
Farms come in all shapes and sizes and you can produce any number of products, from traditional produce types to herbs to Christmas trees.
Farms can also create diverse income streams when opened up for activities such as weddings, farm tours, hayrides, overnight stays, etc.
Depending on your state, you may even be able to get tax breaks for farming the land.
- Host Events
You don’t need to have a farm to create a wedding venue or event space.
You can also build out a standalone event space in the middle of a rustic piece of land and charge folks to host their weddings in your space.
- Sell Land with Owner Financing
A variation on land flipping is to buy land and sell vacant land with owner financing.
Attractive owner financing terms allow you to sell land quickly since many private lenders will not provide loans for vacant land purchases.
Offering owner financing also means you will be making land ownership accessible to a wider range of people.
In exchange, you get a steady medium-term income stream.
Just make sure you are able to find affordable land!
But This Isn’t All
These are just a few of the opportunities that land can provide to the small business owner or entrepreneur.
The wonderful thing is that land is a flexible instrument.
It can be molded to fit any number of business ideas.Just be sure you follow all local zoning and building regulations before making any changes to your property.
Author: Erika Benson, Co-founder at Gocke Capital
I am an architect by training and a former Affordable Housing Director for the City of New York turned full-time Land Investor. I used to help New Yorkers find affordable housing, now I help people around the US find affordable land!
I keep an active blog on my company website where I give advice on buying and selling land. I also have a YouTube channel with over 250 videos that provide tips for land buyers and information on our properties. Please check out my website to see more information on how you can sell your land.