Buying a Cabin

Just get back from a friends cabin and now you have to have a cabin of your own? Don’t make any impulsive purchases, Julie and Daniel Desrochers from Desrochers Realty Group are here are some things you should consider when purchasing a cabin.


  • Proximity to your home
    • Drive time
    • Make sure you drive it on a weekend to gauge traffic
    • Do you want to be able to get out there on a weeknight or get farther away so you feel like you are on vacation.
  • Do you want to be close to a town or out in the middle of nowhere
  • What type of water do you want to be on – Lake, river or no water at all

Lake Characteristics:

  • If you are purchasing something on a lake, what characteristics of the Lake are important
  • Size of the lake do you want
    • something small
    • something big
    • A lake that is connected to other lakes on a chain of lakes.
  • What type of shoreline and how large of a shoreline
    • Do you want a sandy beach
    • How many docks do you want to fit in
    • Do you not want something that is super weedy
  • Clarity and cleanliness of the lake –
    • Can go to lake finder on the Minnesota DNR website to research lakes
  • Boat traffic on lake
    • pay attention to how many public launches there are

Figure out financials:

  • Get financing lined up
    • Not the same as purchasing a primary home, often you need a higher down payment and your interest rate may be higher
    • Need to know what you are approved for before you start looking so you have price range and know what your monthly payment is going to be so you can factor it into your budget
    • Being pre-approved will allow you to act quickly when you find something you like.
  • Figure out a budget and make sure you are considering everything
  • Costs can include:
    • Mortgage
    • Insurance
    • Taxes
    • Utilities
    • Any association dues
    • Snow removal
    • Lawn care
    • Are you going to have a boat, fuel costs
    • Maintenance and repairs
    • Do you have to buy a dock or can you have it included
    • Furniture

Things to do before start looking:

  • Rent a cabin in the area or on the lake you want to purchase on
    • This is a great way to see how you like the area and the lake
    • Can gauge activity in the area, boat traffic, figure out what are the important features that are must haves or things you want to avoid.
  • Figure out if you want to rent the cabin out when you are not there
    • Things you should factor in if you are going to rent it are
      • Maintenance
      • Who is going to manage it
      • Is set up correctly to optimize rent (beds and baths)
    • If budget is tight consider purchasing a home with someone else or another family and splitting the time you spend at the cabin.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email