10 Ways to Boost Your Land Value

If you own property, these tried and true techniques will enable you to increse your land value.

| June/July 1998

  • land value - landscape and access road
    Land access and landscaping will both add value.
  • land value - hay rolls
    Farming a piece of property will increase its land value.
    Illustration by MOTHER EARTH NEWS Staff
  • land value - farm buildings
    A master plan will provide you with a rational approach to adding property improvements.
  • land value - solar house
    Properties are more valuable if they have utilities or a means of generating electricity.

  • land value - landscape and access road
  • land value - hay rolls
  • land value - farm buildings
  • land value - solar house

Each piece of land is unique, and there are almost as many ways to improve the value of land as there are parcels of land and willing land owners. However, there are some universally acknowledged tried-and-true methods of improving land value. Every person who owns country property will find several of these things within their ability, and improving your land provides a great source of personal satisfaction.

1) Simple Appreciation. This is the single most important way for land to gain in value. The best part is that it works automatically, unless some negative factor affects the land. For this method to work to its full potential, it must be considered even before the land is purchased. Care should be taken when evaluating the location of the property. Is it within reasonable driving distance to jobs and shopping areas? Is the growth pattern of the area likely to extend towards the land? Is it in an area of good job growth and prosperity, or is it in a region that is losing jobs? Lack of available work will affect real estate values in a negative fashion. Sometimes, it greatly depreciates land value.

Remote land will never appreciate as quickly as land that is closer in, but nonetheless, in a normal growth market, its value will steadily rise.

Real estate in most neighborhoods, including rural land, goes through about a five-year turnover cycle. More properties will thus be on the market every five years or so than in mid-cycle. When placing land on the market, it might be wise to consider what stage the cycle is in. This may affect pricing and marketing strategy. Your realty agent will be the best source of information about current trends in the area.

One other major factor when considering appreciation of land value is that selling costs are expensive. Excise taxes, title insurance, commission, recording, and other costs are often all charged to the seller. In an average area, it can take as much as five years to realize a tidy profit after all of the selling expenses are paid.

2) Install or Provide for Utilities. Raw land will usually be worth much more if the buyer is assured a home can be built there. In the long run, providing for utilities is often worth a great deal more than the cost. If sewer lines are not available, have the ground perk tested to verify that a septic system can be installed on the property. Soil varies a great deal and a perk test will indicate which type of septic system is acceptable. Once that is determined, you or a buyer will be able to ascertain the cost of the system.



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