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Common Questions to Consider When Buying Your Cabin in the Woods
Vacation properties come in many forms. From basic cabins to fully equipped country homes – there are a few specific questions to be considered with each purchase.
- If your property isn’t on the water, find out if you have deeded access to it or if public access exists. Sometimes waterside property owners will post “Keep Out” signs though lawful access exists.
- Consider your future plans. Could your small cabin one day become your retirement castle? Find out if year-round residency is permitted and if building restrictions exist. Additionally, what (if any) renovation restrictions exist on the property?
- If not on the local municipal sewage system, ensure the septic system is adequate and up to date. Do local municipal building codes allow you to expand the capacity of your existing septic system and is there an opportunity to eventually connect to a planned municipal system?
- Water-access only properties, while less expensive to purchase, are logistically more difficult to maintain. Stocking the cabin, repairs, shuttling guests, and trips to town can be more difficult and costly to co-ordinate. However with the increased isolation comes increased quiet and a greater sense of disconnect from modern day life – a feature that makes them attractive to many buyers.
- Check out the source of your drinking water (well, lake, and or municipal). If your water is sourced from a well, ask if it’s ever dried out. Regardless of water source, a water purity test should be conducted as part of your vacation property inspection.
- Is the road to your cabin maintained year round? Having the option of drive-in access is preferable, especially in winter months.
- If you have a waterfront cabin, what are the municipal restrictions for building both docks (square footage and length) and new boathouses (height and square footage)?
- Find out if your garbage will be picked up or do you have to deliver it to a dumpsite. While an adventure the first time, the novelty can slowly wear off and may impact the value of your property for those interested in curbside pick-up.
- When buying a vacation property, consider cost (gasoline), time and traffic as part of your recreational experience.
- Ask your Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate agent about both historical and future opportunities in the areas that you are examining.