Appraising Outdoor Recreational Properties: Assessing Land for Investment

July 9, 2023
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Outdoor recreational properties, such as hunting lodges, fishing cabins, and campgrounds, provide a great investment opportunity for those looking to make a profit while enjoying the outdoors. But how can a potential investor determine the value of such a property? An appraisal of an outdoor recreational property is the best way to assess the value of the property and identify the potential investment opportunities. Appraising outdoor recreational properties involves taking into consideration many factors, such as zoning, local economy, and market evidence. In this article, we'll discuss what an outdoor recreational property appraisal is, what factors to consider, and what methods and instruments are used when appraising such properties.

What is an outdoor recreational property appraisal?

An outdoor recreational property appraisal is a thorough evaluation of a piece of land for the purpose of determining an accurate market value. To conduct the appraisal, an appraiser will inspect the land for any factors that could influence its value, such as the size, location, topography, soil type, access to water, access to infrastructure, any zoning regulations, and any other relevant aspects. Once the factors contributing to the value of the land have been identified, the appraiser will use their expert knowledge and experience to determine the fair market value of the property. This process helps investors and property owners make informed decisions related to the land’s purchase, sale, or management.

What factors should be taken into consideration when appraising outdoor recreational properties?

When appraising outdoor recreational properties, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration. First, the appraiser must consider the land itself. What type of land is it? Is it forested, mountainous, waterfront, or flat? The features and characteristics of the land will affect the property’s value. Secondly, the location of the property must be taken into account. How accessible is the property? How close is it to roads, trails, and infrastructure? Thirdly, consider the zoning regulations in place. Are there limitations in place for what can be done on the property? Is it zoned for recreational or residential use? Lastly, appraisers must assess the potential for development. What could be done with the property? Are there any other potential benefits that can be added to the overall value of the land? By taking all of these factors into consideration, appraisers can gain a better understanding of the value of outdoor recreational properties.

How does zoning for outdoor recreational properties affect the value?

The zoning of outdoor recreational properties affects the value of the property in a number of ways. Depending on the type of zoning – residential, commercial, agricultural, etc. – different uses can be made of the land. If it is zoned in a way that limits the development rights, the value of the property may be reduced. Additionally, zoning impacts the potential for income from the property, such as through camping fees or renting out a lodge for events. Zoning can also affect the availability of utilities, such as public water and sewer services, which are important considerations when appraising a property. Finally, zoning and land use restrictions can affect the amount of allowable development, such as the number of structures, how they are placed on the land, and the overall density of the property. All of these factors should be taken into account when appraising a recreational property.

How does the local economy impact the value of outdoor recreational properties?

The local economy has a strong impact on the value of outdoor recreational properties. It is important to assess the current economic conditions in the area, and how they are projected to change in the future, as this will influence the value of the land. Local employment opportunities, cost of living, taxes, and other factors can all influence the market value of outdoor recreational properties. In addition, the local housing market should be carefully researched to determine the average cost of homes in the area and any potential trends that could affect the value of land in the same area. The unique amenities and features of the property should also be taken into account when assessing its worth. Outdoor recreational properties that are close to airports, hospitals, and other attractions can boost its value and draw in more buyers.

What kind of market evidence is used when appraising outdoor recreational properties?

Market evidence is an important factor in appraising outdoor recreational properties. Market evidence is defined as the opinion of parties in the market for the property, based on information from recent sales of similar outdoor recreational properties. It plays a critical role in determining the opinion of appraisal value for the property. This includes not only the sales prices for comparable properties, but also factors such as desired features and amenities, neighborhood desirability, included structures and other features, and market trends. Appraised values for outdoor recreational properties are determined by considering market evidence from sales of similar properties. This includes researching and analyzing recent sales in the area, comparing amenities and features of the outdoor recreational property to other properties in the area, and assessing current trends. The appraiser will then determine a value based on the current market conditions. This is usually done by making adjustments to the sales prices of comparable properties to account for any differences in the features or amenities of the outdoor recreational property.

What are the key characteristics of a desirable outdoor recreational property?

When assessing outdoor recreational properties for investment, there are a few key characteristics to consider. Location is paramount. You want to make sure the property is located in an area that is desirable for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, or camping. It should also be easily accessible from major transportation routes. In addition, the condition of the land is important. Is it in a natural state, or has it been altered or developed? The land should have the right resources for the desired activities, such as wetlands for fishing or woodlands for hunting. Finally, you'll want to consider the legal and financial aspects of the property, such as zoning regulations, rights of way, and deed restrictions. By considering these key characteristics, an appraiser can accurately assess a property for its investment value.

What methods are used to appraise outdoor recreational properties?

When appraising outdoor recreational properties, a professional appraiser must perform a variety of methodologies to determine the value of the land. Professional appraisers typically use a combination of the cost approach, sales comparison approach, and income capitalization approach. The cost approach is based on the premise that a purchaser would replace a property with a similar structure. This approach determines the land value based on the costs of land and improvements, then deducting depreciation of the structures. The sales comparison approach is based on the principle of substitution: if a buyer is offered two properties, the buyer would most likely buy the one with the lower price. Appraisers look at recent comparable land sales to determine the possible market value of a given property. The income capitalization approach is used when the value of the land is determined by its ability to generate income. This method looks at the net income the recreational and commercial activities generate from the land, and divides that number into the market value of the property. Each of these methods can be used in combination to assess the fair market value of outdoor recreational properties. It is important to enlist the services of a professional appraiser to ensure that the evaluation is done accurately and fairly.

How does the appraisal of outdoor recreational properties differ from other types of appraisals?

Appraising outdoor recreational properties differs significantly from other types of appraisals in that the appraisal of these properties has to account for more unique factors, such as the condition of the area, the natural resources in the area, and the potential for development. Additional considerations, such as zoning changes and permitting, must also be taken into account. A recreational property appraisal will also look at the local recreational activities, amenities, and attractions, as well as the potential for tourism in the area. This type of appraisal requires a deep knowledge and understanding of the local market, as well as being able to accurately estimate the value of the land in the current context of the market. Ultimately, the goal of an outdoor recreational property appraisal is to evaluate the land's unique characteristics and how it could be utilized.

What types of financial instruments can be used to purchase outdoor recreational properties?

When it comes to purchasing outdoor recreational properties, there are many different types of financial instruments that can be used. Cash is the most popular, but there are many other options available, including mortgage loans, home equity lines of credit, seller financing, and even lease-purchase agreements. Mortgage loans and home equity lines of credit typically have a set repayment schedule, along with interest payments. Seller financing can also be utilized, with the seller providing a set repayment schedule and interest rate, which usually varies by the lender. Finally, lease-purchase agreements are often used in which the buyer agrees to pay a monthly fee towards the purchase of the property, usually with the option of buying the land at the end of the lease period. No matter what option you choose, it is important to shop around and compare rates and terms to make sure you are getting the best deal.

How do appraisers identify investment potential for outdoor recreational properties?

When appraising outdoor recreational properties, appraisers must assess the land’s long-term investment potential. Appraisers look at a combination of factors related to the land itself, such as access, infrastructure, local ordinances, development opportunities, and existing land improvements. Additionally, appraisers gather information on the surrounding area—including classifications like zoning, population, and the local economy—to determine whether the outdoor recreational property is a good financial investment. Appraisers also consider the land’s potential for various activities, such as camping, fishing, and hunting. Investing in an outdoor recreational property often requires a long-term commitment, so appraisers look at factors such as the property's marketability and viability for future resale. By assessing the land’s investment potential, appraisers better equip their clients to make informed decisions on such investments.


Appraising outdoor recreational properties is a complicated task that requires knowledge and experience. To ensure you acquire a property that’s a worthwhile investment, you should seek out a professional appraiser. AppraiseItNow is a trusted appraisal company that offers all types of appraisals across the US, and our experts are here to help you make informed decisions when assessing outdoor recreational properties for investment.

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