Abstract: A property inspector comments on recreational properties and how to think about their purchase. We present rules to apply that help focus the buyer’s critical thinking.
Busy summer with calls for help to check-out vacation properties! Obviously the perfect weather on the coast this summer lends itself to putting the best look on a recreational property.
Buildings and Land
In this post we discuss lots where the existing buildings value should be near or at zero. As a buyer, you certainly do not want to (over)pay for someone else’s efforts that have not added any value to a property.
Lot Value Rules
Here are the rules to live by when viewing a recreational property:
- If there’s an older RV on the property, buy it for lot value.
- If nothing has been done to the septic system, budget for a new one. Be prepared for ‘sticker shock’ as the rules and regulations have changed drastically in the last decade, in every jurisdiction.
- If it’s a ‘handyman built’ cottage or cabin and your first impression is negative, then you are most likely correct. Buy it for lot value.
- If it’s overgrown or heavily treed, any clearing will cost you time and money.
- If there is no power on the lot, as part of your due diligence find out out how much electricity will cost to bring it into the property.
- If there is no well or community water supply, just move on to the next listing.
I’ve looked at many older cabins, cottages and RV’s set up on lots. Even with buildings of no value, unfortunately they do not just fade away. They just remain an eyesore. Not only that, but they seem to attract all kinds of broken implements, vehicles, metal parts and generally useless accumulation of hoarding junk. Don’t forget that it will cost you time and money to remove those old structures and accumulated ‘stuff’.
However the good news is that when buying for lot value then you have all kinds of freedom to develop the site to your budget and vision. The trick is to see the potential of the site in spite of the existing structures.