Recreational land is land that is used for exactly what it sounds like.
Various types of recreational uses include hunting, weekend getaways, fishing, ATVing, family retreats, and so much more.
While recreational land has a number of personal and financial benefits, they’re not always realized.
Many people purchase vacant land for its potential agricultural and residential value.
However, recreational land has numerous advantages that shouldn’t be overlooked.
While people don’t invest in recreational land for pure financial benefit, the opportunity to gain income as well as use the land for entertainment provides many reasons to purchase.
Here are the top benefits of buying recreational land.
1. Recreational land provides tax deductions
Did you know that owning vacant land has tax benefits?
If you’re looking to invest in vacant land to use as recreational land, then you should know about the different items that can provide financial benefits.
The purchase of vacant land does not immediately create income.
In fact, it often creates an expense.
You’ll have to pay property tax and perhaps a few other carrying costs (maintenance, HOA fees, etc).
You may be able to deduct these costs under certain circumstances.
When you invest in recreational land, you’re not in the business of buying and selling vacant land on a continuous basis as a real estate investor would be.
Instead, you’ll likely hold this recreational land not only to use, but also in the hopes that it will appreciate in value.
When it comes time to file taxes, you’re eligible to deduct certain investment expenses as personal itemized deductions on Schedule A.
These expenses are ordinary tax deductions that give you tax benefits at your regular income tax rate.
Interest that you pay on money borrowed to purchase vacant land may also be considered an investment expense and can be deducted as an itemized personal deduction.
However, the annual deduction for interest payments is limited to the investor’s net investment income for the year.
To get your net investment income, subtract all of your qualified investment expenses from all of your investment income.
The excess will be carried over to future years.
For example, say you pay $1000 in interest payments and $500 in property taxes on your recreational land each year.
Your only investment income is $1000 in interest from your savings account.
You would be able to deduct $500 of your interest payments since your net investment income is $500 ($1000 in interest from your savings minus $500 in property taxes paid on your investment property).
2. It can be a “hands-off” investment
In many ways, recreational land is a “hands-off” investment.
You don’t have to deal with tenants, lawn-care, leaking roofs, bursting pipes, or anything else that doesn’t directly benefit what you’ll be using the land for.
Now, you may choose to add some of these features, which means you’ll need to invest in maintenance.
Beyond that, you’re free to live your life and use your recreational land as you see fit.
3. It has the power to make you happy
Recreational land is used for camping, fishing, hunting, ATVing, hiking, and other activities that get you outside and into nature.
If these are some of your favorite activities, then purchasing recreational land will give you the opportunity to participate whenever you want.
Getting out in nature also makes you happier and healthier.
4. Recreational land is an inexpensive long-term investment
When you buy vacant land to use as recreational land for the right price, you make an inexpensive long-term investment.
Think about it.
There are no mortgage payments (depending on whether you took out a loan or not).
There are no utility bills to pay.
Property insurance is low.
Even property taxes can be cheap (in the right area).
If you’re looking for somewhere to invest your cash and have it continue to appreciate in value, then land is the right investment vehicle.
5. Recreational land is a valuable resource
Land is always a valuable investment because it is an essential natural resource that there will never be any more of.
While most people don’t think of vacant land this way, it’s true that land is extremely valuable because there are limited quantities available.
It’s not like you can just “grow” more land.
It’s a finite asset that others will want when there isn’t any more available to buy.
So, by purchasing it, you’re putting yourself in a position that is advantageous long-term.
You’ll not only purchase something that you’ll love and use as a source of entertainment, but you’ll also hold it as an investment for a long period.
6. It is safe and consistent
When you think about the risk associated with recreational land, the truth is that there is very little that exists.
Land is a long-term, tangible asset.
It doesn’t fall apart or wear out.
For the most part, nothing gets stolen or broken or destroyed.
If you use the land in its pure form, then you don’t even have to worry about maintaining features on the land (buildings, plumbing, etc.).
And especially when you purchase recreational land at the right price and complete your proper due diligence, you’re getting all of these benefits at no risk.
There are few investments you can say that for.
7. Recreational land can be used for family bonding
Why do people buy vacation homes?
Why do families head to national parks each summer?
Because they want one central place where their family can gather in the great outdoors.
If your family loves to congregate and enjoy nature, then recreational land is a fabulous way to do that.
You can unplug, slow down, and spend time with one another without any distractions.
Whether you’re looking forward to camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, ATVing, playing sports, or doing something else in the great outdoors, your own recreational land can be the perfect place to do it.
Say goodbye to extraneous camping, hunting, or fishing fees.
You can now use the land for as long as you want to for just your family.
8. It may have timber
Did you know that some people buy recreational land from timber companies?
This is because timber companies own thousands of desirable acres of land in the country.
If you choose to buy from one of these companies, then there are some things you’ll want to know.
You may still be able to profit from timber in the future.
Before you buy, see if the company’s timber experts can help you with a long-term plan on how to use your rural property for recreation (factoring in your expected cash flow from timber harvesting).
If you have a well-thought-out timber management plan, then you’ll be able to use your timber profits to make improvements to your property in whichever way you see fit.
Make sure you work with a timber company that has experience selling to recreational users.
This is important because you want to make sure you get a proper title and that it accurately represents all the timber on the property.
You can also work with a local real estate broker who specializes in recreational real estate to help avoid some of the pitfalls that comes with this process.
Ensure you’re working with a quality timber company.
A timber company that does not grow quality timber may impact the environment of your recreational land.
This means that the wildlife and recreation of the land itself will be impacted even after the company leaves, and you have ownership.
A quality timber company will grow timber in a way that provides a mixture of young and mature trees, helps prevent erosion, creates shelter for wildlife, and more.
They will also keep soil conditions in mind.
Location, location, location.
Speaking of soil, know that timber, soil, and terrain are widely different in different parts of the country.
It’s wise to speak with local experts on how a timber company has treated each if you’re going to buy land from them.
This will ensure that your investment has been taken care of, and you’ll be able to use the land for everything that you want to use it for.
9. Recreational land may provide rental opportunities
Are you considering renting on your recreational property?
Whether you purchase the land initially thinking you want to rent to other people, or it comes about over time, rentals (in some form) can help provide additional income.
For instance, if you use your land as a campground, allowing other individuals or families to use it for a small price can provide a financial benefit.
Don’t overlook the ways that you can use recreational land to your advantage.
Hunting, ATVing, fishing, sports fields, and more also provide opportunities for you to use your land to make a small profit while also using it yourself.
Of course, if you begin to rent out your land, you may need to consider additional expenses that will come with that.
Will you need a property manager?
Will your rentals only be available seasonally?
How much maintenance will your rentals require?
Will this help you gain income?
How will it impact your taxes?
Do the research and think about whether you can make money on your vacant land! It’ll be worth it in the long run.
10. You can get a tax deduction by donating a conservation easement
If you are buying land purely for recreational purposes, you may not mind giving up your development rights by donating a conservation easement.
These easements prevent development on the property in order to preserve nature, but don’t restrict you from using the land in ways that won’t conflict with the conservation goals of the easement.
In exchange, you could be eligible for a tax deduction of 50% of your income for up to 16 years.
Should this not be enticing enough, a nonprofit may even be willing to buy a conservation easement from you if you would prefer an upfront lump sum.
11. It is available in a variety of areas
There’s vacant land for sale all over the United States that you can purchase whenever you’re ready.
In fact, some cities even give away FREE land.
Do your research today!
You may have recreational land just waiting for you, and you didn’t even know it.
All this said, there are a few things to note before you purchase recreational land.
For one, the success of recreational land as an investment is a bit different than other types of land, like residential land or agricultural land.
It’s not measured by how much you make off of it (although, that’s always a benefit) or the number of crops that it yields.
Recreational land is successful if you spend a lot of quality time using it.
If you’re looking to buy recreational land in your area, you may consider looking for the following.
First, start with the zoning regulations and restrictions.
This will impact what you’re able to do on the land.
If you want to purchase land for hunting or building cabins to rent, then you’ll need to make sure that the land is properly zoned for it.
The county planning or building department can help you understand what your property is zoned for.
Simply put, don’t purchase land without knowing its zoning!
Beyond that, you’ll also want to look at the land critically.
Is it big enough? Will it support what you want to do?
For example, if you want to use the land for hunting, but don’t see animals, water sources, food plots, cover, or anything else that would make it an ideal place to hunt, then you may want to pass on the land.
If it’s not passing these initial “inspections,” then it’s unlikely to be suitable for what you want to use it for.
Finally, think about where it’s located, the neighborhood, and its surroundings.
If the property is part of a managed neighborhood, the parcel of land is not going to be good hunting land.
However, it may make for a good cabin location.
It’s all about considering where the land is located and even how the neighbors may impact you or the success of what you may end up running on the property.
12. Recreational land can be used for whatever you want
Ultimately, the benefit of recreational land is up to you.
You could purchase it and let other people enjoy the property and its amenities for free or for a fee.
You could also improve the property and set it for a profit down the road.
Or maybe you’re just looking for a nice retreat for your own family.
Plenty of people invest in recreational land so their family can have a place to camp, hunt, or enjoy themselves away from the rest of the world.
They never intend to sell it and rather hope to pass it down from generation to generation.
The real benefit of recreational land?
You’re not fenced in by anything (except maybe government regulations that you can check BEFORE you even purchase the land).
It’s all yours!
Recreational land doesn’t cross people’s minds as an investment nearly as often as residential or agricultural real estate.
Because it’s simply not as common.
However, if you have a hobby that requires recreational land anyway then it may be the perfect investment for you.
The above benefits demonstrate how buying recreational land can improve your personal and professional life.
So what do you want to do with your new land?
Additional ResourcesIf you are looking to buy affordable land, you can check out our Listings page. And before you buy land, make sure you check out Gokce Land Due Diligence Program. Don't forget to check out my latest Gokce Knowledge Class: 31 Lessons I Learned Selling My First 500 Properties Online.
If you are looking to sell land, visit our page on how to Sell Your Land.
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Disclaimer: we are not lawyers, accountants or financial advisors and the information in this article is for informational purposes only. This article is based on our own research and experience and we do our best to keep it accurate and up-to-date, but it may contain errors. Please be sure to consult a legal or financial professional before making any investment decisions.