Under Foot: 6 Resources You Can Tap On A Rural Property

Are you buying a rural property? There's a lot to love about living in the country. And, if you know how to tap into the hidden value of your land, there may be a fair amount of profit in the venture, too. Here are 6 ways to find and make money off that hidden value.

Timber. If you buy a piece of land with a significant number of trees, you could join the large number of landowners who sell wood (in small bundles) and timber for profit. Timber harvesting would be a sporadic source of money, though, so it's best considered as a backup plan. To assess a property's value in timber, work with a professional forester before you buy.

Plants. There are a number of different types of plants, fungi, and flowers that could bring in money when harvested and sold. If you live in the northeast, for example, you could lease the rights to sugarmakers to tap a plot of maple trees. Other ways to make money from plants include planting and harvesting berries, wild mushrooms, medicinal plants, decorative greenery, and artistic wood pieces.

Space. Lease the rights to use a small portion of your land to set up a cellular tower, operate a wind turbine, or allow oil or natural gas drilling on the property. If you want to allow drilling on your land, be sure to thoroughly research the needs of the drilling method and any possible effects it could have on your permanent property.

Crops. Farmland can be a good way to make money annually. However, this will require creating a farmable area on your property, so it requires a little investment of time and money to begin with, as well as a suitable plot of land. Renting out cropland can work best if you purchase a piece of land with an additional dwelling or barn on it that can be used by the lessee to work and live on the land. Mention to your real estate agent early your interest in renting the land so they can steer you to the best prospects. 

Minerals. While other sources of money from resources are easier to come by, mineral rights can be a more elusive find. You'll need, of course, a piece of property with verifiable deposits of things like metal, coal, gemstones, salt, or other stones. Once again, this is usually negotiated as a lease, and you'll want to research the lessees to determine how stable and reliable they are.

Access. If your land holds nothing of clear and usable value as a resource, you may be able to use its natural beauty and location as a resource. Forested, swampy, or rough properties can be good places to offer hunting land leases for a season. Research the various game in your local region and their corresponding hunting or fishing seasons, then work with an experienced hunter or fisher to determine what's possible on your land.

The natural resources on a rural property could be your ticket to a more financially stable life and a better future. To find the right piece of land for your situation, be sure to work with your real estate agent to lay out your income needs and interests so they can steer you to the best choices in your area.