When people ask us why we invest in land in California, we split our answer into two parts: first, why we invest in land in California, and second, why we invest in land in general.
If you’re going to invest in land, California is the clearest and best option.
Firstly, the population growth in California is immense. 1 out of every 17 Americans live within a 60-mile radius of Los Angeles, and that number is growing. People will have to push out of the urban centers and move into less developed land: places that are two or three hours away from the most populous areas. This is where we’ve invested.
Secondly, California is a center for innovation, especially sustainable energy innovation. Recently, interest in solar energy has grown all around the country, and individual investors as well as organizations are building solar farms in southern California, where the land and climate is ideal.
Thirdly, real estate prices in California are relatively low at this time. The rule of the real estate market is no different from any other market: buy low, and sell high. When we saw prices drop, we knew we needed to invest here.
Fourthly, California, particularly southern California, has a historically resilient economy. Even when the economies of other states are suffering business and commerce flourishes in California, and employment is high. A resilient economy makes for a resilient land investment – the stronger the economy, the more developers will be interested in the area.
As you can see, it makes sense to invest in land in California. But what about the career choice in general?
Land banking is a lifestyle choice. It’s a different way to make money that doesn’t involve a corporate job during weekdays and business hours. In one sense, we work more than many people do – we’re constantly marketing by word of mouth, brainstorming new ideas together, maintaining our land, and researching other land investments. But in another sense, the sense of “work” goes away, and we’re left with a productive job we enjoy and learn from.
Land banking has freed both of us to pursue other goals in life, including funding a foster home in Vietnam. Working on these other projects is rewarding, and we see the benefit that comes from smart investing. The investment itself benefits us; we have financial security and peace of mind to last for many years.
Both of us have tried investing in other kinds of real estate, and we have owned rental properties. We both had bad experiences with tenants, regulations, and unanticipated costs. Even with a property manager, the upkeep of a rental property investment was overwhelming. Land banking frees us from that strain.
The best part about working in land banking, however, is meeting other land bankers (especially new ones). It’s interesting to hear other people’s stories and learn how they got interested in land; it’s also eye opening to work with new people with different perspectives. We are experts in what we do, but our customers and associates teach us things we wouldn’t have learned otherwise.