There is a raging debate about dead capital investments in rural areas as the owners of these mostly palatial homes continue to dwell and toil in cities and leave the houses empty.
The owners spend time there only a few days in a year and are likely to have constructed the buildings as their retirement homes when their productive years are over.
Then again, we see those who are still in employment who have pieces of land asking for financial advice on ways to save in order to build that dream home.
Majority have this story of earning a five or six figure salary with a large chunk of it going to service debts and leaving them with next to nothing in terms of savings, then they go for a credit facility to continue with that cyclic debt trap.
It makes it hard to build even on piecemeal process such that, by the time they leave employment, there is nothing to show for their sweat other than an underdeveloped plot.
But this shouldn't be a damper towards home ownership as you can make that idle piece of land work for you and in the process, save and have a place to call a home when retirement beckons or that job becomes untenable.
Here are a few ways that you can make use of that land for an income.
If the land is located in a strategic place, such as one with high vehicle and foot traffic, you can lease to businesses that can set up a godown, depot, or other sought-after services. The trick is to study which business model would be viable and approach established operators with a proposal. For example, the place would do well as a depot for a firm in alcohol and beverage business or petroleum products. Big players would find it a cost cutting measure having a depot or warehouse where it will be more convenient for their clients.
You can agree how long the lease period would run and what would happen to the structural development put in place by the lessee. The lease may come with option of a buyout going by the commercial benefits the place is bringing the company. What if the company was to make you an irresistible deal like buying you a plot elsewhere and giving you a stake in the business as a shareholder? The benefits would go two ways.
If that plot is adjacent to a busy highway, how about approaching companies that specialise in outdoor advertising? You may have noticed that outdoor adverts have a short duration as many companies bid to have their adverts on the banners. This means the business is an assured one. And it becomes interesting during elections period where political stakes are high and politicians turn to outdoor advertising to display their messages and images.
You can also explore setting up an Airbnb business. You don't need to break the bank in putting up a facility for this purpose and you can do it on the cheap. Say a facility that emphasises African architecture but with semblance of modernity. Visitors are usually looking for a home from home experience, and that venture could be the one that will make an impression and leave a lasting memory, and maybe serve as a springboard for them to market your business to others. And if the land happens to be close to a hiking trail, it may serve as a stopover for adventurers to stop by your Airbnb facility to replenish.
The piece of land could be an ideal place for a telecommunications company to set up a mast to boost connectivity. The company will pay you an agreed amount as rent for a certain period. As in leasing, this may come with a buyout clause after the end of lease period.
If the above examples work out, you could even acquire another piece of land over time from the proceeds and made that dream of owning a home come true as you continue reaping dividends from the once idle land.