How to Make Extra Money by Monetizing Spare Land

Written on November 11, 2015 by , updated on December 9, 2016

monetizing-landFunny, when I bring up the subject of growing things on your rental property to increase your side income, typically the first comments have to do with newly legalized marijuana.

While pot gets a chuckle from everyone, that’s not the only way to make extra money from a rental.

While acknowledging the profit potential, I want to direct your attention to some less obvious ideas.

What is Land Use?

Consider the area that surrounds your rental; the space between your building and border. How much area is out there? What kind of sunlight does it get?

Managing and marketing the area just outside of your rental’s structure, both land and air space, is what the land use category is all about.

  • Could you fence off a section without negatively affecting your existing residents?
  • Would removing a section of property from your residents make their lives better?
  • Could you reduce your lawn maintenance time and cost?

If so, let’s monetize that space. Here are some examples:

How to Monetize Land

1. Livestock

Some (mostly rural areas) rent their extra land for cattle grazing or rent their land for “access” to other grazing pastures or planting crops.

2. Fruit Trees

Some grow trees, both for nuts and or high demand fruit (like avocados) or for the timber itself.

3. Shade Trees

I’ve even heard of an owner growing shade trees and increasing the rent to account for solar heating in winter and cooling in summer.

4. Beekeeping

Beekeeping is also a concept to consider. In several states, keeping a certain number of hives allows you to categorize your property as agricultural. Whereas you might realize some profit from the honey, pollination agreements and other products directly pertaining to the bee, you could qualify for a hefty discount on your property tax!

It might be worthwhile to recruit a beekeeper to set up on your property.

5. Local Gardens

If you’re in an urban community, farm to fork restaurants are looking for plots for herbs, peppers and other vegetables. Don’t dismiss what a small plot can fetch in return for a very small amount of setup work.

Breaking Down Your Land Use

Let’s drop these ideas into a breakdown table.

Monetizing Land
What: Monetize the space outside your rental’s structure
Difficulty:●●○○○
Time Commitment:●●○○○
Why:Your property has natural resources, elevation above sea level, sun exposure, minerals, traffic count, etc. They are valuable assets that can be monetized to increase your net income.
Increase Net Income By:Renting use or repurposing the space outside your rental.
Basic Components:

  • Land and/or air space inside property limits

  • Underserved market

Possible New Income Streams:

  • Rent from land use

  • Profits from harvest

  • Discount on property taxes

Nontangible Benefits:

  • Possible improved conditions for rental resident

  • Increased property values

Steps to Implement/Test:

  1. Consider local supply and demand issues on a crop/garden space

  2. Approach ideal client with proposition

  3. Strike a deal

  4. Monetize space

The Downside

This cash flow stream is not always on a monthly basis and your local ordinances may disallow some activities (such as beekeeping).

Final Thoughts

Don’t discount small income streams. They typically lead to larger and more profitable ideas.

When it comes to land use, your rental’s proximity to the end-user may be its most valuable asset. So pay attention to businesses surrounding your rental.

Try to anticipate their needs and don’t shy away from competing for their business.

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7 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Jimmy Moncrief

    Another Great Post AL!

    One thing I don’t people realize is how all of the “extra income” you teach about effects a property’s value.

    If you made an extra $3,000 from selling fruit off of this land; using a 10-cap – that increases your property value by $30,000 – with very little investment and time.

    Great post – keep them coming.

    • Al Williamson

      Bull’s-eye Jimmy!!! Thanks for commenting.

      It’s important to keep good records of these types of side income so commercial appraisers will give you credit for the income stream.

      If your property is 4 units or less, just enjoy the income – your local market caps your property value.

      But if you own a multi 5-units and more – GO TO TOWN and build wealth with forced appreciation.

  • Paul Vanderbyl

    Good article! I would be interested If you know anyone with SFR’s or units who have installed solar electric and increased the rents. Real curious to know if there are any programs out there to help with the cost. I have a duplex in a lower income area that I was thinking about converting to all electric and installing solar-curious to know if I could raise the rents higher than the cost. It would also help retain tenants.

    • Al

      Paul, there appears to be a new solar program popping up every week.
      You can net meter or buy interest in a solar farm. You can even place solar on Building X and get offsetting credit on the Building Y’s electrical bill. The solar industry is undergoing a lot of innovation right now. At this point, I’m not able to advise you on which income building tactic to choose.

  • America

    Very insightful article. Anything we can do in the desert?

    • Al

      The desert has its own unique opportunities. Take a look at what people want – what’s in demand. Then “sell nuts to squirrels.” Hyper local information is best for finding your niche.

      You can figure things out on your own, but sometimes you’re too close to the situation. For additional help sign up for one of my side income courses.

  • Aaron Robertson

    Thanks for posting this. I found it useful.

    Aaron Robertson
    Authority Property Management

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