What to do with a home on 2 Acres

9 Replies

Hi Folks,

I recently inherited a home in the Central Valley of CA. It's a modest 2/1 on a flag lot that is about 2 acres. It's zoned residential/ag. (I attached a satellite pic with the lot outlined) My wife and I are thinking of making it a rental. It's not a typical home so the issue we're having is figuring out the best use for it. The things we've discussed are: 

  • Renting it as is. 
  • Selling and using the proceeds to buy other (more standard) properties to rent. 
  • Converting the back to RV/boat storage and renting the front out. We're unsure how zoning would work here, but there are two other RV yards down the road.
  • Leasing the back as farmland
  • Leasing the back as horse property
  • Possibly subdividing and adding 2-3 manufactured homes as rentals

I'm hoping that someone with experience with this type of property could give us some advice.



@Jeremy Mattson , sell it to me!! :) Where in the valley is this located? Coming from a farming background I think your best bet is option two. Sell it and use the money for other properties if your not interested in the land. Why do I say this?

1.) renting as is- Usually folks who are interested in the house are not going to care for the property. So you will have to care for it yourself or find someone to maintain it for you. You may find a local farmer who may be interested in it for some additional equipment parking or for the small barn or shop it has. a 2/1 here in the valley out in the farm areas might fetch you $1000/month depending on the condition of the home. You might get more since it has some kind of barn on it.

3.) Converting to storage- I guess you would need someone to be the gate keeper and you would also have to fence the place in to keep people out and protect whatever is parked there. 

4.) farmland- In santa cruz this would be gobbled up as a hobby farm but out here in the valley 2 acres is not really something a farmer wants to mess around with in regards to farmland. If it has no well for irrigation or district water the land is dead for farming.

5) horse property- this could be an option, as well as renting out as pasture ground. Is the place fenced in?  With animals they can be fed hay  and only need a water trough. This works out. One thing to remember,  what you would make on leasing this out for ag use is pennies compared to return on other real estate investments. There is always folks looking for pasture for their horse and animals though. 

6) subdividing- Most likely this is not a possibility. Being zoned as Ag the county most likely will not allow any additional dwellings to be placed here. Of course you can always call and find out. In merced county they use to not allow any other dwellings inside 20 acres and would not let it be subdivided. Dont forget you are in Ag land. Adding mfg homes will require a septic system for each and drilling a new well to supply all the homes with water. This will run 20K for the well in some cases depending on how deep you need to go for good water. The current well supplying the place may support houses but you would need to get it tested for that. 

In conclusion there are people out there looking for exactly a place like this. Folks like me who grew up in the country but are stuck in town due to high farmland prices. We keep our eyes peeled for small places like this just to get back out in the country with our families at an affordable price since production ag land is very expensive where I live. 

Hope this helps a little :). Let me know where this is located, I know people looking for small plots. 


Thanks Brian. I guess my farming background is good for something here on BP. I see you are in Aptos, I was born and raised in Watsonville before we moved to the central valley. Price is worth gold down there now. 

Hey Shane, I thought he said Modesto as well but he said, "modest". That's why I am.asking where the place is located. I agree with you. Around here that might fetch 1500/month. Animal folks always looking for a place to move to in order to have their animals nearby. 

Thanks for the input everyone! Especially @Kevin Moules for taking the time with the analysis! 

We've decided to make it a rental for the time being. It's got some deferred maintenance so our contractor is slated to start work this coming week, new roof, bath remodel, windows etc.

Now I'm wondering if we should be adding a third bedroom instead of just cleaning it up. Anyone have an idea of the cost per sq. ft. for additions in the central valley?