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Can I/should I buy a cabin?

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  • Can I/should I buy a cabin?

    We have a great home at a good interest rate that is spacious and functional and mid-way between my job and my partners. It's meets most of our needs but we love and enjoy being out in wide open spaces and try and do so as often as we can.

    Recently, a bad cabin rental experience (our dog peed on the rug, they took $500, it was bad all around) made us consider buying a second home that would be 1) in a rural and isolated setting and 2) have a small home/cabin on it, and have been shocked by how expensive the limited inventory is. Can't find anything under $600k that's a 1.5 hour radius from primary home. Our combined income is approaching about $600k a year so we can afford it (will spare the details but we would still hit our FIRE goal in 8/9 years) but not sure if it's going to add enough to quality of life. The alternatives are to continue renting and accept that some places are going to be more difficult about us having dogs, or to move to a rural area entirely but that would require an even more expensive home and we do like the place we have as well.

  • #2
    Can you? Yes
    Should you? Maybe

    600k seems like an overreaction to a dog peeing on a rug. How often do you rent a cabin?

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    • #3
      Your dog has to pee on 1200 rugs to make up that second cabin. If you want to buy a cabin and use it as an investment property and for you to use, yes you can afford it as long as you don't have a lot of other debts.

      If you're buying a cabin because of this interaction and the rug, I agree complete over reaction. If you owned the cabin and your dog peed on the rug, you'd still have to replace/clean the rug anyways. Just chalk up the $500 as a fee for having your best friend with you.

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      • #4
        Ask yourself how difficult it would be to sell or even rent out your wilderness cabin to others. It’s not cheap to buy/build and maintain a cabin in the wilderness - you can’t just run down to Lowes when the toilet breaks. Maybe you’re equating the value of the land with the cost of the cabin, but they are not as correlated as one might expect.

        Agree with pierre that it seems like an overreaction to the incident. If your dog is prone to doing this, you may the kind of renter that landlords try to avoid and this particular landlord may have had one too many incidents and was really…pissed.
        Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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        • #5
          We have a cabin and we enjoy it. However bought for 260k 1.5 years ago. Currently 650k value but I would not have bought at current price ( we have a similar income to yours) as it would be uncomfortably tight financially. That said we do go up a lot and take our pups with us and it's super nice and easy. Prior to buying we rented airbnbs and left the pups home with a sitter. Most places don't allow pets. So I'd probably go that route at these prices . . .

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pierre View Post
            Can you? Yes
            Should you? Maybe

            600k seems like an overreaction to a dog peeing on a rug. How often do you rent a cabin?
            How often does the dog pee on the rug?

            I’m in the “no cabin” crowd. Maybe at less than $200K, but you still have maintenance, insurance, utilities, etc. Plus why always go the same place when you can go to the Smoky Mountains, Finger Lakes, Tahoe, Maui, Whistler, Park City, Outer Banks, Aruba, St Barts, New Zealand, etc.?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Hank View Post

              How often does the dog pee on the rug?

              I’m in the “no cabin” crowd. Maybe at less than $200K, but you still have maintenance, insurance, utilities, etc. Plus why always go the same place when you can go to the Smoky Mountains, Finger Lakes, Tahoe, Maui, Whistler, Park City, Outer Banks, Aruba, St Barts, New Zealand, etc.?
              Maybe you dog loves to travel. Might want to check the restrictions on the international stuff.
              Just pointing out this is animal issue, not a people or travel problem. I would not buy a cabin for a dog just so I could be with him/ her.

              Try Bark Potty.
              https://www.chewy.com/bark-potty-nat...yAAEgKgcPD_BwE

              These suckers really work for $38. Your dog will jump on your lap and lick your ears. FYI, might even use it at home when it’s raining outside or whatever.

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              • #8
                Why did the dog pee on the rug? Did you leave him/her alone too long? Was the dog frightened by the new place? Perhaps trying to figure this out and perhaps hiring a trainer to help you would be cheaper than a cabin.

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                • #9
                  Why would a dog peeing on a rug make you want to buy a cabin? $500 for a rug isn’t crazy. Would you rather your dog pee on your own rug?

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                  • #10
                    Why would you buy a home that’s 1.5 hrs from your home.

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                    • #11
                      A vacation house is never a smart financial move. You can easily figure out your approximate "break even" point by calculating how much you pay to rent the thing vs how much it would cost to own the cabin (taxes, maintenance, utilities, interest on mortgage, insurance, loss of potential investment growth of down payment, etc). I think that you'd have to use it every month for it to make any sense. You'd probably feel obliged to go there to make use of it during your vacation days instead of going someplace you'd rather go as well. My wife was contemplating this previously. I think you can rent a pretty nice airbnb for the amount you spend on a cabin.

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                      • #12
                        I should clarify, that it's not like the thought of the cabin is a pure reaction to this one incident, haha! It's more of a growing experience of having AirBNBs not quite offering the same experience as having our own place from the perspective of not having our own stuff, not always being dog friendly, and are increasingly expensive (in our area it's about $250/night plus dog fees), so wondering if having our own place would ultimately offer a better experience that would be worth the impact on cash flow. The last cabin rental ended up $2000 for 3 nights after the fees and stuff. Not sold on the idea at all and appreciate the perspectives but it's definitely not simply because of the one incident

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                        • #13
                          I don't want anything to do with a second home/cabin. How much land are we talking for $600K that seems pretty insane for a "cabin."

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                          • #14
                            I would get an RV or travel trailer before I dumped that much money on a cabin. With a cabin you are stuck going to the same place. But I just stick to throwing a tent and sleeping bag in my trunk.

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                            • #15
                              Our vacation house costs us $35k annually in property taxes, maintenance, repairs, insurance. We paid cash and have owned it for 30 years. A very expensive luxury.

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