Are Cabins Cheaper To Build or Buy?

If you are a cabin dreamer who is looking to join the cabin club, you will most likely be torn between building and buying. The main question that people have when deciding on whether to buy or build is; which is more affordable? The answer to this question is going to vary depending on many factors and will most likely change. In this article we will give you the factors to help you determine in your individual case which is more affordable.

The factors that will help you determine if it is cheaper to build or buy a cabin are:

  • The real estate market
  • Interest rates
  • Building material prices
  • What you already have
  • Whether you are going to build it yourself
  • If you are going to rent it out or live in it

The Real Estate Market

The real estate market goes up and down. At the time of writing this article real estate across the board is at all time highs. Remote real estate such as cabins and log homes are especially high. The real estate market also varies depending on what is hot at the time and which locations are booming or busting. If the real estate market is very high and has high competition in the location you are looking at, then it might be more affordable to build new and have something you designed.

Interest Rates

Often connected to the real estate market and inflation. Interest rates go up and down. Interest rates will most likely determine how much of a log home you can buy, the demand in the real estate market, and how much cash you will need up front. Building and buying are two different types of financing. Check with a lender for both to help you decide.

Building Material Prices

Building materials are there very own market. The cost of lumber will change much more often than the real estate market. Lumber costs can also be seasonal, depending on supply and demand. Building supplies are the main driver for log home kit prices. Everything from the logs, windows, and joists vary depending on the market and may affect your quote. It is important to discuss your timeline when getting a quote. Not all quotes will last.

What You Already Have.

What you are bringing to the table just might be the deciding factor. If you already own a slice of land with electric and sewer; then you it may make more sense to build. If you are going to have to buy land and prep it for building, then your building costs are going to climb. It may also depend on how much equity you have in your current home. Many people sell their home and use the proceeds to build their dream log home.

Are you going to build it or hire it done.

Most log home companies sell the kit and do not build it. The cost of building is not included in your kit price and is something to consider. You will either have to hire it done or build it yourself. If you are skilled and have the tools, then you can save big by building it yourself. If you have to hire it done, well your cost just went up. Depending on the size of the log home and design, you may need machinery such as tractors or lifts. Be sure to make a list of all your building costs before comparing to the current cabins on the market. If you have a family that loves doing things together… this could be a great experience!

Will You Rent It Out.

If your log home is going to be your full time residents, then this is most likely out of the picture. But if your log home is a vacation home or purely an investment, then this may affect your cost analysis. The main factor in a good vacation rental is the location. An example to consider is; lakes tend to do very well but there may only be land parcels available. You will also be able to design a new build to make the perfect rental. New builds in the right location and designed for the current market can increase in value.


In the end you will want to do what you can afford and what will make you happy. Log homes are generally a great investment as long as they are taken care of. A couple more things to consider once you have done your cost analysis are:

When buying you also risk inheriting hidden problems. Log homes require a lot of special maintenance and if an owner skips on fixing chinking or something else, it could result in a hidden problem like rot. A good inspection will generally help, but will not always catch everything. A new build may equal less risk.

The closer the cost of each, the more sense it makes to build. If the cost to build your dream log home and the cost to buy one are close, then it may make more sense to pay a little extra and have your dream home. Use the factors above and then see which one makes sense for you and your budget. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *