How to make money from raw land is one of the topics that occupy the minds of every land owner, whether they have inherited land or whether they considering raw land as an investment and comparing it to the stock market.
It is true that most people will tell you right away that you are "foolish" if you are looking at raw land as an investment.
It is also true that the same people who say this the loudest are very often the ones who know nothing at all about raw land! (If you ask where they got their information, it will turn out to be from a random tweet or a headline they read once rather than a 20 year career in the industry!)
It is wise to speak to many people about the topic and consider all sides of every argument, but be very careful that you do not get dissuaded from a great idea to secure your family’s future wealth by people who have no idea what they are talking about.
(Annoyingly these are often the people who drone on with the loudest voices!)
Anyway, I am not here to persuade you to do anything at all.
Quite frankly, the less people invest in raw land, the better it is for all land investors as there will be way less competition.
However as you are a loyal a reader of our blog, I am happy to share some ideas with you.
Caveat- I am not suggesting that you rush out and do any of these, they are just ideas to get you thinking creatively about what is possible.
What will work for you will depend on the size of land you have, the terrain, which part of the country you are in, the population density around you and your own expertise, interests and skills.
Simply, I wish to help you get your creative juices flowing and perhaps provide a little inspiration.
The greatest wealth is often found in the simplest things. Very often the best opportunities are those that are lying right in front of you the whole time.
Here I will give you the 17 best ways to make money from raw land.
It should keep you going with solid income streams for decades to come!
Whatever you decide, start slowly, do your research and then take action. As always, before doing anything, check with planning and zoning in your county what is permitted on the land in question.
Make sure you understand the setbacks required, cost of utilities and any other restrictions on land use before starting on any project. Ok, here we go....
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#1 Make Money From Raw Land By Creating A Rural AirBnB
People are desperate to get out of the city right now. In addition, there is a huge movement for minimalism, simplicity and getting back to nature.
If you own some raw land that is attractive, with lovely views, perhaps in the woods, by a river, near mountains or local fishing/hunting spots, you could have a goldmine on your hands.
And it does not have to be fancy or luxurious either.
Just good quality, clean and functional. Many people love a rustic cabin. Many people want an affordable weekend away in nature that won’t break the bank.
You could make it a cabin, a yurt, a treehouse or even a glamping experience depending on your acreage and personal interests.
AirBnB is often seasonal, so it is likely you would not have guests all the time, but it could be an easy profitable side hustle.
#2 Make Money From Raw Land By Creating Plots For A Local Community Garden
Many people do not have enough land for themselves but would love to share a garden where they can grow their own produce for their family.
You could create a community garden and rent out plots to others.
Once people start these type of projects, they become super popular. Very few people leave and a waiting list builds up very quickly.
People love the community aspect of it and love teaching and learning from each other.
It is also a wonderful place for kids to be to learn about the natural environment and learn wonderful skills for life like patience, nurturing living things and understanding where food comes from.
#3 Make Money From Raw Land By Creating a Hobby Farm
One variation from this is to grow a lot of produce, enough for your own family plus a surplus. The surplus you can then sell back to the community at farmers markets.
Or if you produce high quality goods consistently enough, you might be able to get some local restaurants or cafes as regular customers.
Do not limit yourself to produce that is grown in the ground. What about branching out into orchards? Think about lemon trees, apple trees, pears, nuts, oranges etc This list is endless!
By the way, you do not have to even be the farmer if you do not have a green thumb.
You could just lease the land to the farmer who is responsible for the growing, harvesting and all the hard work.
It depends where your interests and skills lie.
#4 Raise Livestock To Make Money From Raw Land
All sorts of animals can provide you a good income. Perhaps you can raise cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, horses, ostriches or pigs.
Maybe you sell them for meat. Maybe you sell their produce- wool, eggs or milk.
Do not forget about the smaller animals too- beehives are very popular now. There is a risk of bees becoming extinct. More beekeepers are urgently needed. You can learn more about beginners beekeeping here.
Honey and honeycomb can be sold for food that we all know and love. But it can also be used for medicinal proposes. Bees are also beloved by gardeners everywhere as they help pollinate the flowers.
Or have you considered worm farms as a way to make money from raw land?
Some people have a great business creating compost for farmers with worm farms improving the quality of the soil. Gardeners always need them for fertilizer.
Plus fishermen always need an every ready supply of worms and other bugs for bait. You could have a nice little side income going with free ads on craigslist and very little work.
If you are fencing your property to protect ad contai livestock, always consider whether you need to get a land survey to ensure your fencing is not goign over onto your neighbors property.
#5 Turn Your Raw Land Into A Nature Reserve
Some people buy raw land to conserve the environment. This allows native animals to return to their natural habitats without encroachment from constant building, pollution, noise and humans.
It is amazing to witness the return of foxes, deer, bear, wolves and other animals and see them start thriving again. Smaller animals like bees, birds, fish and insects are also under threat in many places.
People who undertake these type of conservation projects usually buy hundreds of thousands of acres.
But ordinary people do this on a smaller scale as well. If they notice the vacant land next to them or across the road from them is for sale, they may buy it up right away.
Either, they may wish to preserve the land in its natural state.
Or buying the land will preserve their views and ensure that adjacent neighbors will not ever build next to them.
Or the extra acreage will massively boost their own existing home and land value immediately without having to make any improvements at all to the raw land.
It is a smart move.
Land tends to appreciate in value over time anyway, without doing anything. So it is a pleasant way to enjoy watching the sunrise and sunset over your ever more valuable asset.
#6 Make Your Land A Sports Persons Paradise To Generate Income
If you’ve got a nice size acreage, you can make money from your raw land in many ways.
Depending on the natural terrain, you could:
Turn it into a dirt bike track
Turn it into a paintball venue
Make it a mountain biking mecca
Put skateboard half pipes on it
Create a zipline course
Hire it out to local municipalities for firework nights, county fairs, bonfire nights, concerts and festivals, corporate team building events.
Hire it out to camping organisations, to boy scouts/girl guides groups, to orienteering groups, survivalist/prepper courses
Sell hunting leases on it
Create an outdoor shooting range. Your land needs to be a certain terrain but if you’ve got some up/down this could be a perfect venue and so much better than the indoor ranges.
Create an archery center
If you have a pond/creek/river, you could hire it out to local fishing groups
#7 Make Money From Your Vacant Land As A Land Photogenic Venue
Wedding venues are the obvious first choice which is always possible if you have a lovely garden.
But you could also make money from raw land from film crews hiring your land for their next film.
I did have a client who was able to lease their land to Hollywood studio for 3 months to film their next movie…
His land was not even particularly photogenic. It was barren and desolate but perfect for a wild west film.
So you never know!
#8 Make Money From Your Land As A Parking Venue
This one is very location dependant.
If you are on the outskirts of a city or a venue like a concert hall or sports arena, this would be a goldmine. Simply allow people to park for the day/night and charge them for it.
A lot of millionaires have been created this way!
#9 Make Money From Your Land As Horse Stables
People who love horses, typically have a lot of money. Surprisingly not everyone has enough land themselves to keep their horses and require stables.
This one would require some investment up front and a bit of know-how but the going rate for horse stables is $300-$3000/month depending on location and the extra services you could provide to the horses and their owners.
#10 Lease Your Raw Land To Outdoor Advertisers
This is very easy money. You need land where there is a lot of pass by traffic. Typically you may not live on the land, but it might be near a major highway or State Rd.
A billboard company would lease the land from you. They do all the work of installation and maintenance.
You do nothing but collect the checks!
If you have land somewhere local with a fence, sometimes you could get local business to pay you to put up a banner on your fence.
#11 Lease Your Land To Utility Companies
Energy companies are always looking for more land to lease to set up more wind turbines and more solar energy panels.
Again, you do nothing. They do all the work and typically sign long leases like 20-50 years.
With the demanding push for renewable energy, this trend is tipped to continue strong growth in the coming years.
I have been approached myself with land I own to lease it to a solar energy company. It did not work out at the time, but I know several people for whom it did.
Or if you have a large acreage you can set up your own solar panels, use what you need for your own house, then sell the surplus energy back to the grid.
I also had a client who leased their land to a cell phone company for a cell tower. They collect circa $20K per year for “rent” for doing nothing with no maintenance costs.
#12 Storage is a Lucrative Business
There are so many opportunities once you start thinking of storage.
Firstly self-storage. A lot of people are familiar with this attractive business model.
Obviously to start from scratch there would be a lot of expense to set up the warehouses, security and staffing but as a long term business in the right location, once you get it set up, it is very hands off. (The land must be zoned commercial).
But there are so many other storage needs you could consider as well.
People always need somewhere to store their RVs, trailers, ATVs, dirt bikes, and boats. If you have land sitting there doing nothing, this may be a possibility for you.
#13 Make Money From Your Land By Harvesting Timber
Timber harvesting is a full time career for many people.
Check this USDA link to see how much money you could make from the existing resources on your land.
You would need to bring the experts in on this one. People like a forestry consultant, sawmill, logging company and wood broker. Wood is always need for all sorts of uses like construction, furniture, paper, fuel and musical instruments.
Timber value per acre may be worth between $500-$5,000 per acre. You would need to pay for timber management to ensure the trees and harvested sustainably and that the whole forest continues to thrive long term.
#14 Make Money From Your Land By Offering Education Classes
What do you know about? Are you an expert in a particular topic?
If you have a few animals- you could offer local schools lessons on how to raise animals. Offer the children a chance to pet the animals, collect the eggs or ride a pony.
What about teaching a survival course?
Or gardening for newbies?
Or canning and preserving food techniques to aspiring homesteaders?
Or how to live off the grid?
Or how to make honey?
#15 Natural Pet Sitting Service
People love their animals and hate leaving them in kennels while they are away.
What if you offered a lovely safe place their animals could roam around outside safely. And be fed and loved by a fellow animal lover.
#16 Hemp Farming To Make Money From Land
Hemp farming is huge already. In some states there has been an explosion of people buying up land to grow hemp. Hemp can be used for hemp fibres or for CBD oil.
CBD oil is the more lucrative. It is possible to generate $2,500-$75,000 in revenue for just 1 acre of hemp grown for CBD oil. Of course, like any farming it is not easy but you can start small and learn. Or lease your land to experts who will do the farming and processing.
If it eventually becomes legalized across USA, this market will explode.
#17 Tiny Home On Your Land
Tiny homes are so popular these days with the minimalist movement, with the environment movement, with the "don't waste money on a huge house" movement.
They are typically 70 sq ft to a few hundred sq feet where as standard homes are typically 700 sq feet and up.
Tiny homes are often built on a trailer with wheels rather than a permanent foundation.
Maybe you are looking to build your own tiny home or modular home on the land to scale down excessive housing and energy costs.
Tiny homes are popular with young first time buyers for the affordability aspect.
If you do not yet have your first home, you could start with a tiny home and immediately stop paying rent.
If you already have your own home, you could generate an income by buying land, setting up a tiny home ready to go and selling it together with the land to an investor or first home buyer.
Then rinse and repeat.
They are many tiny home building specialists on the market now who can design and build the whole thing to your specs.
If you fancy building your own tiny home, here is some information that might help. There is a lot to know of course, so only attempt this is you already have building skills. But this DIY information will be invaluable anyway even if you have someone else build it as you will be aware of the pitfalls, the risks and important questions you need to ask in advance.
If you enjoy this process and make it work financially, you could continue to buy more land, set up the tiny home for other people, install utilities and a nice driveway, put it on the market and do this several times a year.
You could set yourself up for life.
It has huge profit margin potential when done right.
Tiny houses or cabins are also placed on people’s land as an extra “mother-in-law” flat or guest house.
If you need an income you can create a well appointed tiny home or cabin and give your guests an amazing experience.
Obviously as always, you need to check the zoning very carefully and work with the county planning department to ensure it is done properly. Once you know how it works and have a proven profitable model, simply rinse and repeat.
Make Money From Raw Land
There are the 17 best ways to make money from raw land. There are many others as well that we just could not cover like digging up minerals on your land and land banking, subdividing and re-zoning.
But these all require a lot of extra expertise and capital upfront.
Whichever direction you decide to go in, we hope you can see there are a ton of ways to either enjoy the land this country provides or to generate immense value from using it together with your existing skills and interests and providing a sustained benefit either for yourself or the environment or the community at large.
Check here for available land for sale. Sometimes we have a rush and sell out quickly. We are always trying to replenish!
If you are looking for something in particular, you can email us and let us know.
We cannot guarantee to source everything, but do get in touch so we know what you are looking for.
As always, not everything we discussed will be allowable on your particular parcel of land. You will need to contact your county and see what is permitted within the zoning restrictions on your land.
If you have not yet purchased land, make sure to check this in advance as sometimes land can be re-zoned, there is no guarantee. It is much easier to simply find land that allows what you intend to use it for than to tie up capital and waste 3-4 years buried in paperwork.
These are some of our favorite ways to make money from raw land. Let us know if you have embarked on some of these or if you have found any others.