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What You Need to Know About Buying a Log Cabin as an Investment Property

A log cabin can be a solid investment -- but beware these pitfalls.

[Updated: Feb 04, 2021] Sep 22, 2020 by Maurie Backman
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Buying an investment property can really pay off in the long run. That home could serve as a source of ongoing rental income, and there may come a point when you can sell it for more than you paid for it.

Of the various types of income properties, a log cabin might top your list. Log cabins are generally located in remote, wooded locations, and many vacationers like the rustic feel of staying in one. But before you invest in a log cabin, be sure to keep these five things in mind.

1. Not all log cabins are created equal

When you think of a log cabin, you might picture a smaller structure with limited square footage. But log cabins actually come in all shapes and sizes. If you're hoping to market your investment property as a family vacation spot, it could pay to buy a larger log home -- one with extra bedrooms and more than one bathroom.

2. It's important to buy in the right location

Log cabins are normally found in the woods. But sometimes, you'll find a log cabin close to notable hiking trails, ski resorts, or other attractions. Buying a log home in these areas will make it a lot easier to rent out and put you in a position to charge higher rental rates.

Also, a lot of vacation home renters want a property that's not too disconnected -- they still want internet access and cable. If you buy a log cabin that's too remote, those amenities may not be available, which could turn some guests away. (But it is worth noting the digital detox trend has been growing, so a remote log home could work to your advantage.)

3. Your home might feel damp a lot of the time

Log cabins are attractive because they're made of wood. But wood and water don't tend to mix well, and your log home might therefore feel damp often. That dampness could lead to costly mold problems and also make it an uncomfortable place for guests to stay.

If you're going to buy a log cabin, make sure to purchase one with good ventilation, and prepare to invest in dehumidifiers.

4. You might spend more on maintenance

Log cabins tend to require more maintenance than other types of homes, so if you're buying one as an investment, you'll need to not only budget for maintenance but also figure out who will be responsible for it. Hiring a property manager may be your best bet so you're not overly burdened with overseeing that home's upkeep.

What sort of extra maintenance are we talking about? For one thing, a home made of wood can easily fall victim to termite damage, so you'll need regular inspections and prevention. You'll also need to maintain your home's exterior by staining its logs every three years.

5. Your homeowners insurance premiums may be high

Having a remote property may be a draw from a rental perspective. But from an ownership standpoint, it means you might pay more for homeowners insurance. Insurance companies tend to regard log homes as a higher risk because they may only have limited access to emergency services. Prepare for that added cost before you buy.

The bottom line

A log cabin can be a great investment, but as is the case with any income property you buy, make sure you really know what you're signing up for. That way, you're less likely to regret your decision later.

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