Is a Cabin a Good Investment? | Vacasa (2023)

How to maximize your cabin investment

Buy a cabin at the right time

Sometimes, timing is everything—and purchasing a cabin is no exception. Cabin owners who are looking to sell can command top dollar in peak season and the month or two leading up to it, when there are more visitors and the market is in highest demand. So, if you’re looking for a deal or the lowest prices, your best bet is most likely to shop around in the off-season.

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For ski locations, you’ll probably see more competition in late fall (when anticipation for ski season is high) or winter. To give yourself more opportunity to negotiate, you could consider browsing in the spring or summer. On the other hand, if you’re thinking of buying a lake cabin, you might want to avoid the most popular summer months.

Invest in a cabin in the right location

It probably comes as no surprise that if you’re buying a cabin, you’ll want to prioritize location. Think about the location of your cabin investment both generally (Are you near a national park? A ski resort? A river?) and specifically (Is your cabin directly on the water, or a couple miles away?).

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If you’re looking to invest in a ski cabin, Eaton says, “The best ski cabins have ski-in/ski-out access,” meaning you have direct access to the slopes from the home. For locations near water, a lakefront or riverfront cabin is likely to command higher nightly rates (and earn you more rental income) than one that’s slightly further away. And if you’re buying a cabin that’s not near skiing or water, fear not—there are all sorts of other attractions you can still keep in mind, like hiking trails, state or national parks, and scenic highways.

Lastly, it’s a good idea in general to look closely at vacation properties that are within a few hours’ driving distance of larger cities. That gives you a pool of potential guests who are already nearby—which is useful since many people currently prefer road trips to plane travel.

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Choose smart cabin amenities

When you think of investing in a cabin rental, think beyond a stereotypical rustic, one-room log building. With the right vacation rental amenities, a cabin can become a spacious family gathering place, a luxurious retreat, or a perfect remote-work getaway. Eaton says, “I believe every cabin should have some basic functional and structural features: a traditional kitchen, big windows to take in the surroundings, a large deck, cozy rooms with big comfortable beds, and enough storage for recreational toys (bikes, gear, tack, ATV, snowmobiles, etc.).”

Here are some more cabin rental amenities to consider that may help you maximize your property’s potential:

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  • High-speed internet: A strong internet connection can attract guests looking for a cozy vacation home where they can do remote work or online school.
  • Hot tub: Guests seem to agree that a hot tub enhances any chilly mountain vacation. Cabin rentals with hot tubs can earn up to 20% more revenue than those without.
  • Pet-friendliness: For many guests with dogs, renting a cabin wouldn’t be the same without Fido there to enjoy hiking, swimming, or romping in the snow. So, consider allowing pets at your cabin—it pays off. Our data shows that dog-friendly properties can see a 10–20% boost in rental income.

It’s also wise to make sure your cabin has amenities that suit the type of guests you expect to host. Got a snug one-bedroom cabin that’s totally off the grid? You’re probably going to host a few romantic getaways, so a fireplace or fire pit could be nice to have. Buying a cabin with five bedrooms that’s perfect for families? See if there’s a room that could fit a ping-pong table, or high ceilings that can suit bunk beds for the kids.

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Is investing in a cabin a good idea? ›

Cabins are an excellent investment into your lifestyle and financial future. While they serve as a cozy spot for getaways and vacations, they also offer you the opportunity to earn streams of extra income either through vacation rental or sale.

Do cabins appreciate in value? ›

Not only can you generate a steady stream of rental income, but cabins in popular destinations also typically appreciate in value over time. For example, a three-bedroom cabin property in a popular mountain location can cost you about $320,000 and you can charge about $1,300 on average per night for such a property.

Is an Airbnb cabin a good investment? ›

An Excellent Opportunity for Passive Income

A rental cabin can provide a steady flow of passive income, helping to offset the cost of ownership and provide a return on investment.

What makes a good cabin rental? ›

A good cabin rental should have personality and offer a warm home-away-from-home with neutral interiors, durable finishes, minimal clutter, an inviting sleeping environment and space for guests to gather, play board games, share meals and enjoy a hassle-free vacation.

What are the cons of cabin house? ›

The disadvantages of owning a log cabin include the fact that they require thorough maintenance and are prone to pest problems. They are quite expensive to build, can deteriorate without proper care, and it can be difficult to get insurance for them.

Is it better to buy or build a cabin? ›

Location. If you want to build vs buy a cabin, another thing to take into consideration is your property location. If you already have a site in mind for your future cabins then building it by yourself might be better because it's more efficient and time-saving.

What is the lifespan of a cabin? ›

Log cabins are known for their sturdiness and ability to withstand harsh weather. The average lifespan of log cabins is about 60 years, with some lasting for as long as a century. However, the lifespan of a log cabin heavily relies on how well it is maintained.

How long do cabins last? ›

One of the most important things to know about log cabin is its capacity to last for decades. With proper maintenance and treatment, a log house could last for over a hundred years given the evidence of century-old log houses and wooden structures all over Europe, where the first log homes originated.

Are cabins hard to maintain? ›

Log homes require more maintenance than other types of houses - though not as much as many people would imagine. The most important thing to keep in mind is that logs deteriorate over time without care and maintenance. Therefore, you will have to clean, re-stain and re-caulk your log home from time to time.

What type of property makes the most money on Airbnb? ›

An entire house may give you the most income and a consistently high occupancy rate. However, the costs of operating this property type can also be significant. This is why gross rental yield should also be considered when buying an Airbnb rental.

Can you be a millionaire from Airbnb? ›

There are numerous benefits to becoming a host, but it's important to remember that it takes time and money to do it correctly. The hosts who have an entrepreneurial mindset and treat their rental like a business often make the most money and become millionaires.

What is the downside of owning an Airbnb? ›

For one thing, since you have limited control over who rents your property and when they stay there, this can make it difficult to predict how much money you will make each month — which is a problem if you rely heavily on rental income to cover your mortgage payments or other expenses related to the property.

What do I need to know before building a cabin? ›

First, you want to consider some basics before building your second home, such as if you can comfortably afford it, how much it'll cost to maintain and who'll look after it when you're away. You may need to obtain proper building permits and shop around for the right cabin insurance that fits your lifestyle.

What do I need for a cabin? ›

Rustic, backcountry cabin camping checklist
  1. A camping stove.
  2. Camping gas.
  3. Pots and pans.
  4. Plates, cups, utensils & glasses/mugs.
  5. Small dish soap.
  6. Water container.
  7. Headlamp (not all of them will have electricity)
  8. Sleeping bag.
Mar 9, 2023

Why you should live in a cabin? ›

In addition to all the advantages of living in a log cabin, such as energy efficiency, sustainability, and excellent insulation capacity, which all make these homes eco-friendly, you'll save money on monthly bills and improve your health. Therefore, if you're thinking about moving to a log cabin, it's time to decide!

What are the most profitable properties to invest in? ›

What Types of Commercial Properties Are the Most Profitable? High-Tenant Properties – Typically, properties with a high number of tenants will give the best return on investment. These properties include RVs, self-storage, apartment complexes, and office spaces.

Is a cabin cheaper than a house? ›

The average cost per square foot to build a house is between $100 and $200. Comparably, building a cabin falls within this price range, costing between $125 and $175 per square foot.

Is buying a house in the Outer Banks a good investment? ›

All agents we spoke to for this article agreed: Owning a rental home on the Outer Banks is a good investment and a good way to afford a vacation home as long as you approach the process as a business venture instead of a way to make easy money.


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