What can you do with vacant land?

Land, if kept idle, will not only incur extra expenses to the owner, such as being imposed idle land tax by the local government unit, but you will also further lose in the process by way of the cost of money used to purchase the property, i.e. interest you could have earned if you kept your money in the bank.

With the start of the new year, are you ready to unlock the value of your idle land?

There are numerous alternatives to consider and gain in using your vacant property.  Let us discuss some of these potentials.

General options

Sell the property. It will not only release you from the continuing holding cost, but it will also allow you to immediately recover the money you spent on the property, plus gain some profit while granting you the chance to re-channel your cash to other important endeavors.

Lease out your land.If you are not ready to let go of your property, lease it out. Instead of spending more money on your property, relish the expectation of collecting regular rent and long-term cash flow, without working as hard.

Develop the property, on your own or with others.Depending on your capacity and capability, you may consider investing in a project on your own, or in tandem with a friend or partner. Working with others allows you to tap their resources, expertise, and network, and make the investment more worthwhile. 

Donate it.Do you share the same noble causes with like-minded groups and organizations? If you do, you may consider allowing your land to be used for a good cause.  As land is an important and major expense in any undertaking, your contribution will allow the civic project to have a great start.

Business opportunities

Depending on where your land is located, site condition, and property configuration, here are some possible projects you may want to mull over.

Parking lot. Areas for parking within central business districts and nearly commercial zones are in great demand.  With minimal improvements, your land can easily be converted to better use in the shortest possible time.

Entertainment area. With the return of group gatherings and social interactions, an event place is currently in demand in strategic and scenic areas.

Commercial uses.Given the wide span of retail and commercial potentials, you may wish to use your property for pop-up weekend markets, food truck compounds, advertising and billboard sites, cash wash areas, etc.

Community facilities. With more groups promoting environmental awareness within our communities, you can help out by creating and supporting the development of pocket gardens, organic and vegetable urban patches, and even mini-farms.

Alternative energy sites.With the shift towards green and sustainable developments, large tracts of land can be used for the growing demand of solar and wind farms.

Next steps

Before diving into these endless possibilities, make sure you are clear with your objective.  It will guide you in decision-making and your eventual choice.

While researching, consider the socio-economic situation in your locality.  Although the general economic and property sentiments are on the upswing, they will still vary according to the location where your land is situated.  

Know what is in demand in the area.  Where possible, use the internet to your advantage. Information is readily available thereat.  

Do not be enticed by mere profitability and early return on investment. Consider the project’s growth potential, and not just the short-term gains. Review the long-term prospects of your planned endeavor.

Henry L. Yap is an Architect, Fellow of both Environmental Planning and Real Estate Management. He is one of the Undersecretaries of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.