Last Updated: January 2024
One might think that land properties do not need any management, however, proper management of a land property can bring about greater value to the owner as well as a safer environment for all surrounding stakeholders. Management could be achieved through a hands-on approach to routine management or outsourced to a professional property management company. Either way you choose, understanding the ins and outs of land property management is essential for every investor.
Land Property Management Definition
Land property management is a specialized type of real estate management that deals with the comprehensive oversight of day-to-day and long term management of land properties such as agricultural land, recreational land, and land designed for development.
Land Management Explained
Land property management is the art of directing and supervising raw or undeveloped land to meet specific objectives of the owner. It’s a strategic dance involving navigating zoning regulations, assessing environmental impact, managing leases, and more. Ultimately, it’s about unlocking potential, whether that’s preserving natural beauty, planning for development, or finding creative ways to generate income.
Types of Land Management
Land property management can be as simple or as complex as the land itself. Since land is generally divided into 4 different categories (see below), each type of land property will have its own management needs.
4 Important Land Property Management Topics
Whether it’s raw land, vacant land, or agricultural land, land property management can encompass a variety of activities depending on the owner’s goals and the nature of the land itself. Below are the 4 primary areas to focus on land property management:
Zoning and Land Use Regulations
Before any development or use of the land, it’s essential to understand the zoning laws and land use regulations applicable to the parcel of land. These rules, set by local government, dictate how the land can be used (e.g., for residential, commercial, agricultural purposes, or otherwise).
Taxes and Financial Management
Landowners are responsible for paying property taxes, which can vary based on the location and size of the land. It’s important to manage these financial obligations. Sometimes, land can also generate income, for instance, through agricultural activities, timber harvesting, or leasing the land for various uses like hunting, farming, or billboard advertising.
Land Maintenance and Conservation
Depending on the type of land and local regulations, landowners might need to undertake certain maintenance or conservation activities. This can range from basic upkeep (like trash removal or fencing repairs) to more involved tasks like managing soil erosion, maintaining wildlife habitats, or controlling invasive plant species.
Landowners can be held liable for certain incidents that occur on their property. Therefore, managing liability risk is another key aspect of land property management. This might involve taking steps to make the property safer, getting adequate insurance coverage, or legally restricting access to the property.
20 Most Common Land Property Management Services
Just like managing any other type of piece of real estate, the goal of property management is to ensure that the land property is a profitable and worthwhile investment. While services may vary by company, the required services to effectively manage a rental land property will depend on its location, size, type, and use. Below we take a look at the 20 most common land property management services:
- Zoning Analysis: Determining the property’s zoning classification and what activities or developments are permitted.
- Property Inspections: Regular visits to the property to assess its condition and identify any necessary maintenance.
- Tax Management: Ensuring all property taxes are paid on time and seeking opportunities to reduce tax liabilities.
- Lease Management: If the land is being leased for activities such as agriculture, hunting, or billboard advertising, the property manager would handle lease negotiations, rent payments, and renewals.
- Permit Acquisition: Obtaining necessary permits for activities such as hunting, timber harvesting, or development.
- Boundary Surveys: Ensuring accurate knowledge of property boundaries to prevent disputes or encroachments.
- Maintenance and Upkeep: Overseeing tasks like trash removal, fence repairs, or controlling vegetation growth.
- Conservation Management: Implementing and overseeing strategies for conserving soil, water, and wildlife resources.
- Liability Management: Assessing risks, securing insurance coverage, and implementing measures to reduce potential liabilities.
- Environmental Impact Assessments: Conducting studies to understand how proposed developments or activities might impact the environment.
- Strategic Land Planning: Developing long-term plans for how the land will be used or developed.
- Natural Resource Management: Managing activities like timber harvesting, mineral extraction, or water rights in a sustainable way. This activity is very prevalent across many of the largest land companies in the United States.
- Wildlife Management: If the property is a habitat for wildlife, implementing strategies for preserving those species.
- Development Coordination: If the land is being developed, coordinating with architects, builders, and local authorities to manage the project.
- Landscaping and Aesthetic Improvement: Enhancing the visual appeal of the property, which could increase its value.
- Invasive Species Control: Identifying and controlling the spread of non-native plants or animals that could harm the ecosystem.
- Fire Prevention and Management: In fire-prone areas, implementing strategies to reduce fire risk and coordinating with local fire services.
- Waste Management: Ensuring that any waste produced or illegally dumped on the property is properly disposed of.
- Legal Compliance: Ensuring all activities on the land comply with local, state, and federal laws.
- Market Analysis: Studying local real estate trends to advise the landowner on potential opportunities for leasing or selling the land.
The #1 Rental Property Newsletter
Land Property Management FAQ
Self Manage or Hire Professional Land Management Company?
If you own vacant land, you may wonder if you need a property management company to take care of it on your behalf. The answer is maybe depending on various different factors. Below we take a look at both sides of the decision to self manage or hire a professional property management company for your land property.
If your property is large and you live far away, hiring a property management company might be a good idea. They can take care of the day-to-day tasks of keeping your property safe and clean and help you with any long-term plans you have for the land. If your property is small and you live nearby, you might be able to take care of it yourself.
But, if you’re not sure what you’re doing, it’s always a good idea to get some professional help. A property management company can help ensure your land property is used and maintained correctly. If you’re unfamiliar, unable, or unwilling to maximize the financial value you derive from your vacant land, the right business and property managers can be the difference between ending the year in red or in the black.
What to Look for When Hiring a Land Property Management Company?
When hiring a land property management company, the primary factor to consider is their specific experience with land management, as it involves unique complexities specific to this type of property such as permitted land uses. Other things to look out for include positive feedback from other landowners who have utilized their services, scope of property management services offered, their communication approach, and fee structure.
Is Land Property Management Profitable?
The business of managing land properties for others can certainly be profitable. The revenue primarily comes from management fees, usually a percentage of the rental income or a flat fee, providing a steady income stream. Additionally, managing a diverse portfolio can spread risk and increase profitability due to varied income sources such as agricultural, commercial, or recreational leases. However, the profitability largely depends on efficient operations, client retention, and the ability to attract new clients, which in turn relies on providing excellent service and demonstrating expertise in land management.