So, You’ve Bought Some Land! Now What?
When people think about vacant land, they hardly get creative. The most typical response is someone wanting to build a house one day, or a pro-investor looking to expand their portfolio. Once I sold a huge parcel in Arizona to a couple that wanted to create their own private dirt bike course.
It’s hard to get your imagination going when looking at raw land. It’s just so … empty. Understanding the zoning of a parcel can really help you narrow down ideas and dream up different possibilities and uses.
In this post, I’m going to share 44 ways you can use raw land. They vary from practical applications to easy conversions and profit centers. My hope is that this will inspire and enlighten you to the multiple uses and versatility of raw land. Let’s take a look!
1. Custom Home
The zoning on most vacant land generally allows for a house to be built. This is a great opportunity for buyers to customize their own space, or sell their latest creation as a high-end custom home. Many buyers are looking for that perfect parcel to get out of the city and make their masterpiece in a more peaceful location.
2. Outdoor Storage
This is a great passive business idea because you won’t have to do much to the land to get it ready. You could cater to all seasons by storing boats, kayaks, and jet skis in the winter, and then switch over to storing snowmobiles in the summer. It wouldn’t take much capital to setup, maybe just a fence around the lot with a security system.
3. Shooting Range
Create your own shooting range. Test your skills and improve your aim. Practice with a long range rifle or bow and arrow. You can set up your own targets, and if you wanted to get really creative, have them moving around on a small motor system. You may even want to consider opening this to the public and creating a passive income stream!
Bees have been in trouble lately, as I write this there is a lot of concern around the stability of the bee population. No bees means no pollinating flowers and crops, which could mean a big problem for our food sources. If you’re an advocate of nature (or the human race…) this could be of interest to you! You could even sell the honey as a side hustle.
Remember when you were a kid and the allure of a treehouse practically overwhelmed you? Even if you grew up in suburbia, the neighborhood kid with the treehouse was one of the coolest. You can build your own treehouse! Make it a fun project with your kids, or just a great spot to hang out on the weekends, and enjoy a couple sunsets.
Find that perfect property to turn into a camping site! Enjoy the peace and quiet where no one will bother you, or invite some friends and enjoy late night chats by the fire. Don’t forget to take a glance at the stars! Away from the cities and towns, they will become clear and truly sparkle.
7. Solar Energy
Not everyone wants solar panels on their roof. Installing a solar energy farm could be a great way to get secure some long-term cash, and sell the energy back to the grid. A lot of areas have solar energy programs that will subsidize the cost of installation, or give you a tax break, or put money back in your pocket.
8. Dirt Bike Course
Looking for an adrenaline rush? Get a few buddies together and create your own dirt bike course! Use it to race each other or practice your tricks. This is a great opportunity to use land and shape it exactly to what you want. You can even get the GoPro out and record your best times.
9. Dairy Farm
If you’re in the market for a large plot of land, you may want to consider renting it out as a dairy farm, or pasture land for cattle. This is a great passive income strategy that doesn’t require much effort from you. Or maybe you want to use it to raise your own cattle. You could even try selling the milk products at a local market!
Beer drinking is a hobby and social activity of many. But have you ever thought or dreamt of starting your own microbrewery? The first step is finding a piece of land to use! Put that parcel to work to recreate your favorite brews and share them with the community.
11. Dog Park
It’s easy to forget, but man’s best friend is in fact a wild animal. They need to be able to run, play and socialize with other dogs. And doesn’t your best pal deserve it? You can repay him by creating a dog park! This is an especially great idea if you’re living in a city or town that doesn’t have much green space for your pup.
12. Outdoor Photography Studio
This is another great idea that requires no maintenance. You can rent the land to photographers and filmmakers looking for a natural setting. It presents options to capture wedding and family shoots, to wildlife shots and natural landscapes. You can even keep it to yourself as an idyllic spot to practice your aim or test out that new DSLR.
Any boy scouts or girl guides out there? You can use raw land to test your bushcraft skills and improve them. Take it as an opportunity to use the totally raw land to your benefit and improve a valuable skillset.
14. Golf Course
You can use a large plot of vacant land to turn into your own golf course! Customize it how you want, and enjoy the process of planning out each hole, carefully designing its challenges. You can open it to the public or make it a private course. Both are great ways to earn some cash!
15. Community Garden
This has become quite the trend. I first heard of it happening in Detroit, and thought it was a really great use of land. It brings the community together and encourages social interaction in a productive and healthy environment. Plus, it’s suitable for all ages. And then everyone gets to enjoy the fruitful rewards!
16. Wind Farm
Another great option for sustainable energy. This one may take some capital to set up and install, but you can sell the energy back to the grid. Similar to solar energy, many areas and states offer benefit programs for wind farms. Aside from taking up space, these wind turbines have very limited lasting effects to the environment.
17. Tiny Home
The tiny home movement has swept the nation. As life gets busier and the world around us more hectic, it’s easy so many people are seeking simplicity in their lives and immediate surroundings. A benefit to the tiny home (aside from its size and cost), is that many of them are made to be off-grid and sustainable. So you can place it anywhere!
18. Harvest Timber
A lot of vacant land parcels are covered in marketable timber. Some buyers may see this as a downside. Don’t let it get you down! Marketable timber wood will increase in value year over year. You can nurture adolescent trees, harvest older trees, and continue to plant saplings all on your lot. A continuous cash flow cycle! Just make sure when you purchase the property that it comes with timber rights.
19. Summer Camp
This is a brilliant idea, especially if your property is near water. A children’s summer camp is a great way to give back to the community and to make money. Many kids love to be outside, so having elements of raw land around them will spark their imaginations and encourage them to be creative while they explore.
Turn your plot of vacant land into a seasonal or weekly market! You can focus just on food and drink and line the market with food trucks, or you can give local artisans a chance to share their goods. Make your raw land into a pivotal part of community gatherings.
21. Paintball Course
Another great idea is to create a paintball course. These are meant to be a little rugged and edgy so you won’t have to worry about aesthetics. Use it as a private playground with your friends or charge a fee for public entry. You can even hold team tournaments.
22. Corn Maze
The perfect fall activity! Create a corn maze on your property and become a hotspot for families and friends in the fall. You can give it a Halloween feel by selling pumpkins and other treats, and making the maze ‘haunted’ at night.
23. Off-Grid Living
Has anyone read ‘Walden’ by Henry Thoreau? Use your raw land to live off-grid - at least for the weekends. Install a couple of solar panels, collect rainwater, and you’re set. Use it as time to recharge and relax. Tie up a hammock and bring a book for company.
24. Plant Nursery
Green grass to greenhouse. Put productivity to work on your property by establishing a plant nursery. This is a great way to produce some extra income all year round and is a fun project for anyone with a green thumb.
This is a great idea that doesn’t require any work. There’s hardly any development or maintenance costs and is easy to establish. If you’re looking to get some rental income, this option is much simpler than a hotel or motel.
26. Junk Yard
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This land use definitely isn’t for everybody. On the bright side, there would be almost no maintenance, and you wouldn’t have to worry about thieves stealing your junk!
27. Modular or Mobile Home
Want to live on your lot ASAP but don’t have the money for a custom home? Consider investing in a prefabricated modular or a mobile home! The double-wide could be a great solution for you. They’re much cheaper than building a custom home and are relatively easy to install.
28. Sports Field
It doesn’t matter which sport is your favorite, whether it’s football, soccer, baseball, rugby, or cricket. You can modify your parcel of land without spending a ton of money to reflect your sport of choice. This one will take some manicuring. The biggest obstacle here would be how level your plot is. Cheap and fun way to get some friends together and play ball!
29. Animal Sanctuary
This is one of my personal favorites. If you want to rescue animals and provide them with a good life, you’re going to need some land! Pasture land is a perfect use for this because then you don’t have to supplement grazing with hay and feed.
You may be surprised to know that quality grapes can be produced in states other than California. You can get a great grape from states like Michigan, Washington, Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Missouri! Plant a vineyard and watch your profits grow!
Buy your own private hunting grounds. No worries about losing game to other hunters in the area. Put up a tree stand wherever you would like, and hunt whenever you want - within the right season of course! Don’t forget to have the necessary licensing.
32. Storage Facility
It’s the 21st century, we live in a material world with an excess mentality. You might as well make some money from it! Everyone has extra stuff in their home that they would rather not have to see or think about. You could build an indoor storage facility, as simple as a pole barn with self-storage units. The facility will soon pay for itself, and then it’s a passive stream into your wallet.
Horses need lots of room to run and to roam. If you own a large parcel of land, you could improve the land with a fence and a horse stable. Then you could offer horse owners a place to train and store their horses! You could even offer lessons and advertise as a field trip destination for local schools.
This is similar to the other farming and agriculture uses we’ve discussed. Depending on where your property is located, you have dozens of options to choose from for the type of trees you want to plant. You can sell your produce at a local market, or scale your orchard and target larger grocers. You can also charge an entrance fee for people to go pick their own apples - a fun activity for the family!
35. RV Site
Camping isn’t for everyone, some prefer a few modern comforts. Use your property as a private RV site! A lot of the southern states we invest in have very flexible restrictions and often allow for RV or trailer parking. This could be the perfect spot to park your RV on the weekend and enjoy some family time away from distractions like TVs and cell service.
36. Driving Range
If you’re passionate about golf and obsess over ways to improve your swing, this might be the perfect way to appease you. Depending on how big your property is, you may want to install a net that catches all the stray hits. Whether you want to keep this to yourself or invite a few friends, it’s a fun and pressure-free way to work on your swing!
37. Obstacle Course
Obstacle courses and Iron Man like marathons are popular events. Why not create your own practice course? Even if you don’t plan on racing, it’s a great workout! You can incorporate zip-lining and suspension courses for an added sense of adventure and get that adrenaline rush!
38. Billboard Advertising
This is a really easy one. If your property is near a highway or a metropolitan area, this is a great way to make some passive income. And it requires no maintenance from you! You simply rent the space to advertisers and collect your cheque. Before you do this, though, you would have to check with the county to make sure the zoning allows for it.
39. Goat Farm
This isn’t something you hear about every day. You can turn your vacant lot into a goat farm! A great feature of a goat farm is that they don’t need as much acreage as other livestock. You can take the dairy approach and collect goat milk, or you can even rent these little guys out to neighbors - why bother cutting the lawn?
40. Survivalist Shelter
This may sound odd to you, but there are a large group of people out there who take doomsday preparation very seriously. There are companies who create bunkers and shelters en masse and to your custom needs. Some of these bunkers are actually quite homey. At least you’ll be able to enjoy a glass of wine in style during the zombie apocalypse!
41. Drive-In Theatre
What was once common is now a hard to find commodity. I’ve only been able to find a handful of drive-in theatres, but every time I’ve gone it’s been packed! I think it’s the nostalgia factor combined with the scarcity of it. This is a great way to convert your empty parcel into an entertainment unit that makes you some money. All you need is a large screen, a projector, and space for cars to park. Plus, think of all the movies you could watch!
42. Christmas Tree Farm
Relatively small tree, big business! On average in the U.S., consumers buy 27 million farm-grown Christmas trees every year! This is a guaranteed way to pad your wallet. All you need to start is a couple acres and as many saplings as you can get your hands on. The great part about this is it’s almost guaranteed income every year, and there is no modification to the product. You can reduce your workload by letting customers cut down their own trees. Fun for them and less to manage for you!
43. Yoga Retreat
I don’t really find an overcrowded studio in a big city to be relaxing. Car horns, trains passing, people outside all making noise, makes it really difficult to be present in a yoga practice. A great use for your land is to employ it as a yoga retreat, where you won’t be distracted during your meditation. Get a crew together and enjoy a group class with a natural backdrop!
44. Wildlife Preservation
One of the easiest things to do from this list is wildlife preservation. Protect your land from hunting, fishing, and trespassing. Allow it to slowly return to its natural state, and work on reintroducing native species - the wildlife will follow! Know that you’ve done something amazing for nature, and feel good about your act of environmental protection.
The Sky is the Limit
The sky is quite literally the limit when it comes to creative property uses! We couldn’t possibly list every single use here, the list we’ve shared is by no means all-encompassing. We’ve covered land uses that generate passive income, give back to the community, provide a private retreat, and combinations of all these.
There are so many different uses for raw land, hopefully this post has inspired you to think outside the box, look beyond the mound of dirt that is, and imagine all that it could be!