Considerations for Buying a Cabin on a Budget
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Considerations for Buying a Cabin on a Budget

Let’s talk about the costs associated with buying a cabin and the decision to buy new, find a fixer-upper or build your own.

Written by Sam Bowman
 Photo Credit: Olivier Guillard / Unsplash

If you love nature and solitude, then you probably also like the idea of buying and owning your own cabin. It would be your own place where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the world and spend quality time with your family. Whether you are buying a cabin as a new permanent residence or as an additional vacation home, it is important to remember that you are buying a house — and it can be costly.

While a cabin may seem financially out of reach at first, you can find ways to save money and buy the dream home that you always wanted. Let’s talk about the costs associated with buying a cabin and the decision to buy new, find a fixer-upper or build your own.


Understand the Costs So You Can Budget Accordingly

Some people may believe that a cabin is less expensive than a standard house because it is made of wood and relatively low-cost materials. However, not all cabins are as affordable as they may seem.

Plus, this type of home comes with other costs that you will need to factor into your decision. As when you buy a standard home, you will likely be on the hook for a down payment so you can secure the property and lower your mortgage payment. It is also a good idea to pay for an inspection before you buy so you can find out about potential issues that may deter you from a final purchase. On top of that, there may be miscellaneous taxes and notary public and lawyer fees to pay.

If you are seriously thinking about buying a cabin, then you need to look at what you can realistically afford. Consider using an online mortgage calculator. Input your potential loan amount and interest rate, and you can see your monthly payments. Use that information to make the best decision.

Remember that there are likely different cabin financing options that you can choose from, including conventional loans, FHA loans and special programs. Take your time to do your research to find out which program works best for you and ensure that you can afford a cabin alongside your other financial obligations. 


Consider Building Your Own Low-Cost Cabin

If you currently own land and you have time and patience, then you might consider having a new cabin built that is customized to your taste and needs. The idea may be beyond your means at first, but with proper planning and a bit of legwork, you can build a cabin that is much more cost-effective than you may imagine. 

For instance, you can be perfectly content by building a smaller cabin on a smaller patch of land. You can build a cabin under 1,000 square feet that is just as comfortable and cozy as a larger model. Since less wood and materials will be required for the build, it will cost a lot less, and you don’t need to incorporate all of the bells and whistles. By limiting the number of rooms and going with only one bathroom, you can reduce your plumbing and water costs.

Even if you are not a contractor, you can also save a lot of money by doing some of the work yourself. You will be amazed at the guides you can find online for just about any type of construction work. You can also purchase cabin kits that come with all of the proper pieces at all the right measurements. Then, you put it together for a fraction of the cost of a standard house. Plus, you will have pride that you are living in a home that you put together yourself.


Buy a Fixer-Upper

If you aren't quite ready to build your own cabin but you still want an affordable option, then consider purchasing a cabin that is in decent shape but could use a little work. The first step to finding a potential cabin is to pinpoint exactly where you want to live. 

Use real estate websites to look at cabins in your price range and when you find a few, make it a point to visit the properties to see what you think. Pictures can only do so much justice. Seeing it in person will help you to tell the true condition of the cabin and how much work you may have ahead of you if you make the purchase. 

While the home may be cheap upfront, you may have many tasks ahead of you. Get a home inspection so you can create an exact list of what will need to be done, and don’t cut corners. You may have to make updates to the electrical, lighting and plumbing systems. You may also need to repair the roof and replace windows and doors if they have seen better days. 

This type of project is ideal for someone who loves to work with their hands, but if you don’t have the time or talent, then you may want to consider hiring a contractor to help you out. Just be aware that contractors can be expensive, so make sure to do your research by reading customer reviews and obtaining cost estimates. Add the price of the repairs plus the cost of the house and compare that to the cost of buying a newer cabin and make the best decision for your budget. 


As you can see, there are options that you can consider when you are looking to buy a cabin on a budget. Become familiar with the potential costs and consider the idea of building your own cabin or buying a fixer-upper, and you’ll find a place that you will be glad to call home.


Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, wellness, and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for the community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.


See Also: Our Best Ideas for Building on a Budget

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