Owning raw land can be a great investment, and there are many ways you can improve your rate of return. Adding value to your land is not only a great way to enhance its usefulness, but it can help you sell your land faster when the time comes.
The type of land you have plays a role in understanding the maintenance and improvements needed in order to add value. It’s important to understand the best uses of your land in order to get the most out of your investment.
Let’s go over a few ways to improve the value of your land.
1. Provide Good Access
Having an easy way to access your land is one of the most important ways to add value and appeal. People won’t show as much interest in a parcel of land if they aren’t able to easily access it.
If your land is “landlocked” or surrounded by other properties and there is no public road or private access, you’ll need to obtain an easement from a neighboring landowner. An easement may allow you to drive through a neighboring property to gain access to your land, or it may let you build a road through their property to your land.
Adding a gate can help navigate harvesters or other guests to the entrance of your land. Gates should be sized to accommodate any future needs on the land. Consider whether or not large equipment will need to pass through the gates on your land and plan accordingly.
Building a bridge on your property can also add value, especially if your land is used for timber. A bridge will make your land more accessible to harvesters and increase the value of your timber by saving the harvesters time and money.
Providing access is a good way to increase the number of interested buyers when you decide to sell your land, no matter if it’s used for recreation, hunting, farming, or timber.
2. Add Utilities
Doing your research and knowing where city lines are in reference to your land can help you sell your land faster. Being able to tell a potential buyer if a water well can be drilled or a septic system installed will make it look more appealing.
If your land is in a rural area where the municipal sewer system is not available, do a perc test to determine whether or not your soil will work for a septic system. This knowledge can give the buyer peace of mind when moving forward with a purchase.
Water lines can be crucial for farmland, but it is also important to know where any electrical, sewer, water, and other lines are located on your property so they are not accidentally dug up.
Adding other useful utilities like electricity can help boost the value and appeal of your land. In one survey, 73.6% of respondents said electricity is a top concern when looking to buy rural land.
However, if your land isn’t going to be used for development, investing in utilities may not always pay off. Be sure to understand the location and best use of your land and what other similar nearby properties have sold for and whether or not they had utilities when they sold.
3. Manage Trees and Shrubs
Keeping your land healthy is a key step to increasing its value. Trees can sustain damage from inclement weather, disease, and insects. Managing the health of the forest on your land can help create a better environment for wildlife and recreational use.
The good appearance and health of the plant life on your land will make it look more appealing in any season and is particularly important for future development, timber, recreational, and hunting lands where healthy trees can add significant value.
4. Maintain Soil Health
Maintaining the health of the soil on your land can be particularly important for farmland, but is also beneficial for hunting land as it will help preserve the health of the wildlife habitat.
Before taking any drastic actions, consider having a soil sample conducted on your property to better understand the current condition of your land as well as how best to improve upon it.
Good soil health will help reduce erosion, improve nutrient cycles, optimize water infiltration, and make your land more resilient to changes in climate. Also, getting rid of common poisonous or harmful weeds can help free up nutrients for crops and protect cattle and people from poisonous plants on your land.
5. Survey Your Land
Surveying your land can give buyers peace of mind, as it checks the legal description of your property for accuracy.
This will assure the buyer that they are getting the land they expect and let them know the exact property lines, allowing them to utilize the land for their needs in the future.
Conducting a survey can help the buyer avoid disputes, identify soil types on the property, know where easements are located, understand local land regulations, and see if there is access to utilities.
6. Add Fencing
Having fencing helps deter trespassers, keeps livestock safe from would-be predators, protects cultivated land from wildlife, and makes your property lines clear.
Common fencing styles for large properties range from vinyl, PVC, or wood rail fencing, to chain link, wrought iron, brick, stone, or wire. Choosing which is best for your land depends on its use, location, and your budget.
Check with your county and city for any fencing regulations or restrictions in the area. It is also important to consider the impact a fence might have on local wildlife.
The most wildlife-friendly fences are highly visible and allow animals to pass through safely. Loose wire fencing is very dangerous for wildlife. You never want to see birds or deer caught in your fencing, so be sure to do your research before making a decision. If you have livestock or farmland that needs protection from predators and grazers, consider the safest options, such as woven wire or welded mesh fencing.
7. Build Structures
If your land has a useful structure on it, it can increase its value and appeal. Keep a master plan in mind when deciding where to build structures on your land. Make sure structures don’t disrupt the natural ecosystem or access to the property, as this can have a negative impact on the value.
It’s important to understand the uses your land has and make sure your structure makes sense with those uses. For instance, having a storage facility for farm equipment would be helpful on farmland, while a cottage would have more appeal on hunting or recreational land.
Whether you’re a CEO for a Fortune 500 company or a small-town public school teacher, owning land is a great investment. Adding value to your land by making wise and practical decisions to increase its appeal can pay off in the end.