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Cabin Buying Tips

Buying a lakeshore or rural property can be a great investment in addition to providing you and your family with fun and relaxation. Before you begin searching, talk to a mortgage loan officer about loan options and the following considerations.

Location of property
Think about how much time you will have to spend at your cabin. Once a month? Every weekend? All year round or just in the summer? This will help determine how far away from home to start looking. If your cabin is more than two hours away, will you be able to go as often as you’d like?

Property amenities
What would you like to do at your cabin and property? Do you want to be on the water or in the woods for hunting? Do you want a garden? Also consider if it’s important to have trails near the cabin for hiking, biking, skiing and/or snowmobiling.

Age and maintenance
Do you want to purchase a cabin that needs improvements, or do you want one that’s ready to go? This will factor in to the cost of the home. In addition, consider the maintenance of the cabin – will you be in charge of it year-round or hire someone to take care of the cabin for you? Take a look at the roads in the area – are they maintained year-round or seasonally?

Tax breaks
Owning a cabin can provide tax benefits. Typically, mortgage interest and property taxes are tax deductible.

Surrounding area
Become familiar with the market in the area you’re searching, as well as potential neighbors and the nearest town. What’s the value of similar cabin properties in this area? If you need to get groceries, how close is the nearest store?

Additional lake property considerations
Future value of your real estate purchase will partially depend on the lake and lakeshore quality. Here are some other important considerations when looking at lake property or an existing cabin on the lake:

  • Dock size and location
  • Flood zone – flood insurance is required for properties in flood zones
  • Lake levels through the seasons
  • Utilities – electricity, water, gas, sewage (private septic tank or community sewer system?)
  • Easements on the property/lake
  • Lake quality and usage – is it a good fishing lake, swimming lake, both or neither?

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