If you’re looking at cabin property for sale, you’re on an exciting adventure.
Lucky for you, Utah has an abundance of truly awe-inspiring land waiting for you. If you already have a pretty good idea of what you’re looking for, you can browse through available cabin property for sale in Utah here, or you can take a minute to check out our brief recommendations on finding property that fits your goals.
Utah Cabin Property
There are several reasons why purchasing cabin property is actually a really smart idea. Maybe you can’t find a cabin that you actually like. Perhaps you just want to be involved in the actual construction of your cabin.
If done correctly, there can be a substantial cost savings in finding a good piece of cabin property for sale, and building your own cabin on it (or any house for that matter). In the same vein, you could be in a position where you just don’t have the money to buy a cabin yet, but you want to tie up some land in a great area.
Or you may not be entirely sure that you ever will build a cabin on the land, but would like to have a piece of property with the potential to. Many people own and keep raw land for camping, hunting, fishing, 4 wheeling, and other recreation. Other people want to have some land that they can use in running a business someday. In some cases, people purchase cabin or ranch land simply as an investment that they will turn around and sell again someday.
If you find yourself on this page, take a minute and try to be really specific about what you are planning to do with your property. What does the realistic timeline look like? Perhaps most importantly, ask yourself, “Will I be happy owning this land even if ________ never happens?” (if I never build my Air BNB rental cabins on it, if I never sell it for a profit, if I never run a ranch or Christmas tree farm from it, etc).
We always recommend that people ask themselves that about each piece of property they are getting ready to make an offer on.
Since the earliest days, hunting has been a part of Utah. Early pioneer settlers relied on hunting as a means of supplementing their crops and agricultural efforts. Today hunters travel from all over to hunt game and birds in Utah’s rugged back country.
If you are looking for a piece of hunting property, you probably don’t need to worry about many of the criteria or constraints that other land buyers do. As long as there are animals, you can hunt! The animals don’t care if there’s electricity or sewer. Hunting property requires very little upkeep, and can even provide you with some income if you choose to allow other people to hunt your land.
You should ask yourself–are you familiar with the area? Have you hunted nearby before? Are you being realistic about how good the hunting actually is there?
Additionally, even though it’s not quite as critical, it doesn’t hurt to look a little closer, and evaluate a hunting property against other potential uses.
Remember the question from above: “Will I be happy even if I don’t end up using this as a hunting property?” Is this a place that you could build a cabin on? Would it ever be attractive to any developers? Could it be used to run a business?
Building On Your Cabin Property
If you are planning to tackle the project of building out your cabin property, here are some things you need to consider:
On Grid or Off Grid Cabin
Will it be on grid or off-grid? Most cabin properties are in outskirts or true rural areas, and don’t currently have utilities running to them. The ability to keep you property grid-independent will save you a TON of money, but also comes with some obvious downsides and inconveniences. If you will only be using this as a vacation or secondary residence however, staying off-grid may be well worth the few inconveniences your endure while up there. Plus, in our day and age, there are some great solutions for off grid power, water, and sewer that are getting more cost effective all the time.
- Electrical – solar, wind (frequently makes sense for cabins in the mountains), microhydro, and even wood gasification make great electrical solutions when used in conjunction with a battery bank.
- Water – streams, springs, wells, rainwater harvesting, and storage cisterns can be used to create a near seamless off-grid water experience. Remember, in Utah, you will need to secure water rights for any of these.
- Sewage – most people that are on any kind of outskirts or rural piece of land have a septic system. They are cost-effective and they get the job done. If you are planning on having a truly bare bones style hunting cabin or something, you could also opt for a composting toilet. Surprisingly, most people that have them, do not find them to be an inconvenience.
- Heat – hands down, a wood stove is the most cost-effective way to heat your cabin. Wood is cheap, easy and safe to store (as opposed to lots of other kinds of fuel), it burns extremely hot, and contrary to what some people think, it’s extremely “green.” If harvested appropriately, wood actually is renewable.
- Gas – propane can be delivered and/or stored at your cabin, to power your stove-top range, your fridge, and perhaps a furnace (although wood heat is a much more cost effective way to go).
- Passive solar design – this is a term that is thrown around quite a bit, but essentially it just refers to the advantages that you can take advantage of with the design of your house. Where do you put the windows? Can you angle the house so that those windows are getting less sun in the summer, and full in the winter? What materials are you using for your windows, floors, and walls? Can you build your cabin next to trees, for added protection from the sun and wind? If you have deciduous trees nearby, remember that they will provide shade in the summer when their leaves are out, but still let in sun in the winter, after all their leaves have fallen off.
If you do want it to be on grid, how big of a deal is it going to be to get utilities? Infrastructure is expensive and time consuming to orchestrate. Usually, utility companies will charge according to the distance that they have to bring the utility to your property. Even if your property is off of a paved road, there is power running along it, bringing it down your drive to your house can be expensive.
Access To Your Cabin Property
What about access to your property? This is another aspect that many cabin enthusiasts won’t think about when they are looking at land online. Oftentimes there won’t be an adequate road to be able to get to the property. If there is a private road involved in you accessing your cabin, it will usually not be plowed in the winter (this may not be quite as big of a deal if your cabin property is in southern Utah, but still important to consider).
Make sure to talk to your cabin real estate agent, and have them get a crystal clear understanding of what the access situation is. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you “blackball” every property without a perfect access situation, but you just need to know, without a doubt, what the access is like. People have been fined, sued, and killed over access disputes–don’t be one of them!
Sometimes there will even be a piece of property for sale that has no legal access to it. This means that the property is surrounded by other properties, and there aren’t any easements recorded for your land. If it is a situation where you are surrounded by family land, this might not ever be a problem. Or the property might’ve existed like that for several generations, with some kind of “gentleman’s agreement” with a neighbor that doesn’t mind you driving across a piece of their land to get to yours. Recognize though, that this presents a big legal risk if the sentiment ever changes.
ZONING AND PERMITS FOR YOUR CABIN PROPERTY
Unfortunately, one of the biggest frustrations in building comes with the hassles of zoning and permitting. These are typically handled at the country level, and have the potential to significantly affect what you are able to do with your land.
This is another area to have your real estate agent do some digging, so he can give you a good idea of what the property is currently zoned for, and who you will be working with if you ever want to develop it.
For some of you, this will simply mean building a residence (or part-time residence). For others, this will be running some kind of business operation, and you will need to get an agricultural or commercial zoning status.
When you do decide that you are ready to put a house, garage, barn, workshop, or any other structure on your property, then you will have to start working with the permitting desk, to get a building permit. This is why some people opt for a cabin kit, that might be small enough to skirt the permitting requirements (check with your municipality). This can either be a nightmare…. or not so much of a nightmare. Our best advice here is to try to make a good first impression. You will likely be working with these people a fair amount, so whatever you can do to get on their good side early is key. This doesn’t mean resorting to flattery, bribes, or pull some ridiculous stunt. It just means that you show up prepared with thorough drawings, respect how busy they are, and be polite and understanding.
We are excited for you, and eager to help you on your journey. But at the same time, we want to help you be realistic about your goals with owning cabin property here in Utah.
Not scared off yet? 🙂 Shoot us a quick email, and let us know what you have in mind! We’ll give you an idea of what we’ve been seeing lately, and the best recommendations we possibly can. If there’s a good fit, we could be out in the truck together shortly looking at your potential cabin property.