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Christmas tree farm
Christmas tree farm
Christmas tree farms are another real estate proposition that are popular with alternative investors, said Nilssen.

It's just a matter of finding a plot of land where the growing conditions are just right, planting the trees and selling them -- or investing in an already existing farm.

Nilssen said Christmas tree farms are often great investment opportunities because of the low overhead costs. But there are several risks -- namely pests, fires and the state of the economy.

"When the economy is great, everyone overspends in every aspect of life -- including on Christmas trees -- so during these good times farmers plant lots of trees," he said. "But when things turn south, farmers have too many trees and may have to sell at a discount and may not unload inventory."

Plus, as the owner of a Christmas tree farm, you have to front the cost of hiring seasonal workers before you even know how many Christmas trees will end up being sold.

Last updated July 05 2011: 11:13 AM ET
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