For many, the romantic appeal of owning a large tract of land is quickly gone once the reality sets in. Along with a hefty bank note, acreage usually takes large amounts of both time and money to maintain.
It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that many landowners have a few tricks up their sleeve to help offset these costs -- and many of them allow the owner to profit without having to do much (or any) work. If you own land, or eventually want to own a spread of your own, these tips could help your budget, without adding to your workload.
1. Have a Billboard Erected -- If your land borders a busy road, then having a billboard could put money in your pocket. Advertising companies are always looking for new locations and might be interested in your land.
Payments to landowners will vary wildly, depending on the size of the sign, current advertising rates, traffic counts, and numerous other factors. But if you're fine with having a sign erected on your land, it could mean hundreds -- and even thousands -- of dollars in your pocket each month.
2. Lease Land to Hunters -- If you own a large tract that is also home to wild game, you could earn a hefty sum by simply allowing people to hunt on your land. Arrangements vary from situation to situation, but having some accommodations (such as a cabin with running water and electricity) will make it more attractive to prospective hunters. Many may also want the ability to set up feeders on the land in exchange for rent.
3. Harvest Timber -- As timber supplies come under pressure, lumber companies are looking in new locations for wood. Prices paid for timber vary depending on what's grown and how old the trees are.
For example, thinning a young pine forest (less than 15 years old) can mean about $250 per acre, while harvesting a mature pine forest (more than 35 years old) can be $2,500 an acre. For more information, the Missouri Department of Conservation has a great site for learning about selling timber.
4. Allow Farmers to Lease Land -- Landowners with property near farms have had success leasing it to farmers. Of course, the farmers then care for the land and harvest crops without the landowner having to do any work. All the owner has to do is set up a lease agreement and then watch the income roll in month after month. Keep in mind that the larger your plot of land, the more attractive it will be to an interested farmer.
5. Sell Land in Pieces -- While the ideas above represent ways to profit from your land while keeping ownership, the most money you can passively make from your land is from selling it.
By subdividing your plot, you can earn more from pieces of your land than if they had been sold as part of the whole. For many, however, the idea of selling parts of their land is akin to selling a part of themselves. You should also keep in mind that selling only a portion of your property will make the remaining acreage less valuable.