Is Investing in a Cabin the Right Choice for You?
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Is Investing in a Cabin the Right Choice for You?

Are you ready for the cost and responsibility of owning a home away from home?

Written by Rose Morrison
 Photo by Hugo Villegas / Unsplash


Whether you’re dreaming of a modern retreat or a rustic escape to the woods, investing in a cabin could be the right move. You can find them in many styles, sizes and locations. However, cabins often carry a high price tag. Are you ready for the cost and responsibility of owning a home away from home?


Possible Benefits of Owning a Cabin

Owning a cabin is an advantageous luxury for singles, couples or families. They provide you with more space and many opportunities for the future. Consider these benefits as you decide whether to invest in a cabin of your own. 

Your Personal Getaway 

Buying a cabin as your vacation home provides a destination you can visit anytime to escape the hustle and bustle of your regular life. Whether you live in the city or the country, there’s something entirely different and more peaceful about staying in a cabin. 

You can also use your getaway to enjoy your favorite season. If you love the summer sun, buy a cabin along the waterfront. On the other hand, winter sports enthusiasts will love a place up in the snowy mountains

Since it’s your vacation home, you get to decide where it is and what it looks like — it’ll be your little patch of paradise. 


Possibility for Extra Income

Since your cabin will likely be a second home, you won’t spend as much time there as in your primary residence. Why not take advantage of this opportunity and rent the place out while you aren’t staying there? 

Many people prefer staying in rental homes for vacation rather than hotels since they have a similar cost but more perks and a cozy feel. Take advantage of this traffic by renting out your home during weeks you won’t be there. You should bring in enough money to cover your payments on the cabin and may even have some left over. 


Should Grow in Value

Land is a limited resource, so its value will only increase over time. Plus, vacation rentals in peaceful, off-the-beaten-path locations will always be in high demand for those looking to get away from it all. 

As such, you can expect your purchase to grow in value the longer you own it. Real estate is expensive, but it can be a lucrative investment. 


Improves Your Health

Who wouldn’t benefit from more tranquil surroundings and fresh air? Spending time at your own cabin can improve your mental and physical health. 

Most activities during your stay will get you up and moving, improving your strength and cardiovascular system. Meanwhile, the peace and quiet of a slower-paced lifestyle will help you release your stress and relax. 


Encourages Close Relationships 

Staying at a cabin for any length of time keeps every occupant in proximity to each other. Most activities generally center around the lodging itself or the surrounding land. You’ll be able to make closer bonds with your loved ones.  

Bring your spouse for the weekend and toast marshmallows in the fireplace while wrapped up together in a cozy blanket. Visit with a group of friends for a week of hunting and games or travel to your cabin for a week with the kids and teach them how to swim. The possibilities for relationship building are endless. 


Vacation More Frequently

When you own your own vacation home, you can visit as often as you like. You won’t need to save up or plan for hotel and food expenses. A cabin allows you to stay at any time — as long as you haven’t rented it out during that time frame. You’ll have a full kitchen at your disposal, so your food costs are also minimal. 

Turn your annual vacation into a new lifestyle. Instead of one week away every year, you can get away any weekend. You could even spend all summer in your cabin!


Possible Downsides to Buying a Cabin

While the perks of owning a cabin are undeniable, you also need to know the potential drawbacks of purchasing one as a vacation home.

Double the Maintenance

How much does your current home cost you in upkeep per year? You must replace things like the HVAC or the roof every so often. You also need to make repairs and keep pests away. Owning a cabin may double your current maintenance costs. It will need all the same types of work you’ve come to expect in your primary home. 

A cabin may even cost more since you won’t be there as frequently to keep your eye on things. Damage can get out of control quickly. 


More Complicated Taxes 

Claiming a vacation home on your taxes complicates things. It’ll mean additional documents and more work for you or your tax professional. However, owning a vacation rental becomes even more convoluted. You should meet with a financial advisor to review the best way to prepare for tax season all year and how to file. 


Off-Seasons Could Make Payments Difficult

Renting your vacation home when you aren’t using it can help you make monthly payments. However, you need to prepare for the ebb and flow of seasons. You won’t be able to charge as much during off-seasons for your cabin, and you’re less likely to book up. Your vacation home may not pay for itself during those downtimes. 


May Need Fixing Up

If the cabin you’re interested in has been left vacant for a while, it will need a thorough inspection — and probably a good number of repairs. Additionally, it may need renovations to better fit your style and needs. 


Financing Is More Challenging

Was it a challenge getting approved for your first home loan? You’re in for a real surprise trying to secure financing for a vacation home. Most financial institutions will require a larger down payment and may charge higher interest rates. 


How to Make the Most of Your Investment

If you decide to invest in a cabin, you can take action to make the most of your purchase. These steps can help you mitigate some of the drawbacks of vacation home ownership. 

Pick Your Ideal Location

Finding the right location for your cabin investment is half the battle. You must find a place you can picture yourself loving for the long haul. However, it should also be a place others will love and want to visit. You could purchase a cabin in the mountains, in the woods, on the beach or along a lake. Where would you love to be?


Purchase at the Right Time

Vacation home costs ebb and flow between the seasons. During the offseason, you can get a much better deal on the same property than if you tried to buy during its peak. Watch the market and wait for a dip before jumping on your investment cabin. 


Give the Place a Budget Makeover

You’ve already invested much of your hard-earned money in buying the cabin. Now you have to pay more to make it really your own. Instead of going all out and breaking the bank, invest in the right areas and give yourself a budget for the makeover. 

Your priority is to ensure everything is in working order. Next, remove any aesthetic choices you can’t live with. Use your remaining budget to add personal details that will give you the most bang for your buck. 

Most interior designers recommend starting in the kitchen since it’s the highest-value room and has a big impact. Sand and refinish worn floors rather than replacing them. Change out light fixtures and your faucet to better reflect the look you want. 


Rent It out When Not in Use

The best way to recoup your investment in the short term is to rent the cabin out when you aren’t there. This choice may complicate your taxes, but as long as you prepare, a cabin rental could be a great income stream for you. Many people can make their monthly payments and have extra left over by listing their second home as a vacation rental. 


Set Aside Money in Peak Season 

The easiest way to combat your off-season dips in income when using your cabin as a vacation rental is to set aside money during the good times. When you have extra during a particular month, stash it in your savings rather than spend it. You know you’ll be able to keep up with the financing you took out for this home, even during leaner months. 


Is a Cabin the Right Move for You?

Making a sound decision is difficult when you don’t have all the information. After reviewing the pros and cons of owning a cabin and reading ways to capitalize on your investment, you can now make a sound choice. Is the time right for you to purchase your ideal cabin? 


See Also: Considerations for Buying a Cabin on a Budget

Rose Morrison is the managing editor of Renovated, a home living site where she loves to give advice to help even the most novice of DIY-ers make their home their haven. She has written for publications such as NCCER, the National Association of Real Estate, and BioFriendly Planet. When she isn't writing, you'll find her baking something to satisfy her never-ending sweet tooth. For more articles from Rose, you can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to the newsletter.

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