4 Types of Popular Land Investments and How to Evaluate Them

Arizona Land For Sale

Arizona, with its varied landscapes ranging from deserts to highlands, has long been a hotbed for real estate and land investments. From expansive ranches to smaller plots for residential use, the Grand Canyon State offers numerous opportunities for investors. But not all land investments are the same. Here, we delve into four popular types of land investments in Arizona and provide some tips on how to evaluate them.

1. Residential Lots

What it is: Residential lots are parcels of land zoned for residential use. This can include areas for single-family homes, duplexes, or even apartment complexes, depending on the zoning specifications.

How to evaluate:

  • Location: The neighborhood’s ambiance, safety, and amenities play a pivotal role in determining the value of a residential lot. Arizona, known for its diverse landscapes, also offers potential growth areas and scenic views, both of which can add premium value to the land.
  • Utilities: Reliable access to water is crucial, especially in Arizona’s arid regions. Moreover, the lot’s proximity to essential utilities such as electricity and gas can significantly influence its developmental costs. It’s also vital to consider the sewage system setup—whether it’s connected to municipal lines or if there’s a need for a septic solution.
  • Zoning Restrictions: Every lot in Arizona comes with its zoning classification, which determines its use. It’s essential to be aware of these types, like R1, which typically indicates single-family residential zoning. Additionally, each zone comes with its set of building restrictions, from height to design. Lastly, zoning laws are dynamic, and potential future rezoning can impact a lot’s value.

2. Agricultural Land

What it is: As the name implies, agricultural land is used for farming activities, including crops, livestock, or both.

How to evaluate:

  • Soil Quality: When considering a land purchase, the soil’s quality and type are paramount, especially if the intention is farming. Different crops require different soil types, and not all land is naturally fertile. Before investing, it might be wise to conduct a soil test. This will not only determine the soil’s fertility but also identify any deficiencies or issues that may affect farming activities.
  • Water Rights: In arid regions like Arizona, water isn’t just a necessity—it’s a valuable commodity. Before purchasing land, one must thoroughly understand the water rights attached to it. Some parcels might have unrestricted access to groundwater, while others might be dependent on shared resources. Given Arizona’s susceptibility to drought, ensuring a consistent and legal water source is fundamental to any farming venture.
  • Accessibility: Ease of access is another factor that often gets overlooked. However, for farming operations, it’s essential. The land should be easily reachable, especially if you’re going to transport large farming equipment. Furthermore, consider the quality of neighboring roads and infrastructure. Can they handle heavy machinery and vehicles? Are there any potential barriers or obstructions? These are critical questions to ask before committing to a purchase.

3. Commercial Land

What it is: Commercial land is meant for business activities. This can range from retail spaces, office buildings, to industrial operations.

How to evaluate:

  • Visibility and Accessibility: For commercial enterprises, the old adage “location, location, location” holds true, and at the heart of that is visibility and accessibility. A commercial plot that’s visible from major thoroughfares or highways can exponentially enhance a business’s potential footfall or clientele. Easy accessibility ensures that customers can reach the business without hassle. Such strategic positioning can significantly amplify brand visibility and, in turn, potential revenue.
  • Zoning Laws: The commercial viability of a piece of land is inextricably tied to its zoning laws. Different areas have specific zoning designations that dictate the types of businesses that can operate there. Before investing, it’s imperative to check that the land’s zoning aligns with your intended commercial activity. Some zones might only allow retail, while others are reserved for manufacturing or other specific businesses. Understanding these restrictions can prevent future legal headaches and potential losses.
  • Future Development: When investing in commercial land, it’s not just about the present but also the future. Municipalities often have development blueprints or master plans that outline how specific regions are slated to grow or change over time. Such plans can provide insights into infrastructure developments, new residential areas, or commercial hubs that might crop up around your investment. This foresight can be a goldmine of information, helping you assess whether the land’s value and potential will appreciate or diminish in the coming years.

4. Recreational Land

What it is: Recreational land is primarily used for leisure activities such as hunting, camping, or even off-roading.

How to evaluate:

  • Natural Features: Recreational lands are a sanctuary for nature enthusiasts, and the allure often comes from the land’s natural attributes. A serene lake, a babbling stream, dense woodlands, or rugged terrains can significantly elevate the value and appeal of such properties. These features not only offer aesthetic beauty but also open up avenues for activities like fishing, hiking, or camping. An investor or buyer should prioritize properties that boast these unique natural elements, as they can greatly enhance the land’s recreational potential and market value.
  • Access: While the idea of a secluded haven sounds appealing, practical accessibility is essential for recreational lands. The property needs to be reachable, especially if it’s intended for activities like hunting, fishing, or off-roading, which require equipment. The state of neighboring roads, proximity to major highways, and the presence of any natural barriers should be considered. A beautiful piece of land loses its luster if it’s challenging to get to.
  • Protection and Restrictions: Nature’s beauty often comes with the responsibility of conservation. Many recreational lands might be under conservation easements, which are legal agreements that restrict certain types of development to protect the land’s ecological or historical value. Additionally, properties might come with hunting restrictions, limiting the kinds or seasons of hunting allowed. It’s crucial to be aware of these limitations. While they ensure the land’s natural beauty is preserved, they might also dictate how you can use the property, and understanding them upfront can prevent potential disappointments down the line.


Investing in Arizona land can be a rewarding endeavor, but like all investments, it requires thorough research and due diligence. Always consult with local experts, consider hiring a real estate attorney to navigate zoning laws, and ensure you’re clear on your investment goals before making a purchase. With the right approach, the Arizona land can offer rich rewards for the discerning investor.