View from porch of log cabin in woods

Getting away from it all and living in a remote cabin surrounded by nature may sound too good to be true. You may have been dreaming about this type of lifestyle for years, and you may have decided to finally act on your dream. It may sound seemingly easy to build a cabin. After all, houses are built every day, and you may not have a huge, elaborate cabin design in mind. But, as simple as you believe the process should be, the reality is that building a log cabin from the ground up can be complicated, time-consuming and stressful. Focusing your attention on a few important points upfront will help you to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Image of log cabin
(image courtesy Riverwood Cabins)

Finding the right land

When you think about the type of land on which you want your log cabin to sit, you may think about a remote lot that is comprised of a specific number of acres and one that has a view. Price is also usually a factor. While these are important points, there are many other factors to keep in mind if you want to buy a quality parcel that is cost-effective to build on. For example, you need to determine if the parcel has water and waste water lines running to it. If not, you need to ensure that there is a space available on the land to install a septic system and a well. Do not assume that lakes, streams or ponds can be used as a source of fresh water. They could be contaminated.

You also need to determine if the land has electricity utility connections. If not, the cost to run utilities needs to be taken into account when analyzing the cost of the land. Road access is another important consideration. Just because your 4×4 truck can get up a steep dirt road does not mean that work vehicles and equipment needed to build the home can access the area as easily. Weather conditions may also hinder your ability to access the property and construction workers’ ability to build the home during some months of the year.

Remember that many people who dream of living in a log cabin find designs that conform naturally to the lay of the land to be more appealing. These may be multi-level cabins that are built into the side of a steeply sloping hill, or they may be small cottages surrounded by towering trees. The right land will have the ideal features that enable you to build a design that you have in mind.

Find land for sale to build your cabin on LandWatch

Image of log cabin
(image courtesy Riverwood Cabins)

Locating a quality builder

As you can see, finding the right piece of land on which to build a log cabin is no easy feat. In fact, it may take you many months to thoroughly explore all the available options and narrow them down. This is only the initial step in the building process. After finding the right land to build on, you must then locate a reputable builder who offers services in the area. This should be a builder who is licensed and insured and who has excellent references. Ideally, the builder will have a long-standing relationship with many subcontractors in the area. It is helpful to find a builder who is familiar and experienced with the type of log cabin that you want to build.

Designing the right home

When you meet with your builder, he or she will thoroughly interview you to determine what you are looking for in a home. Everything from your budget and preferred style to how many closets, kitchen cabinets and other related features you need. You will need to think about your personal need for space and if you plan to entertain. If you do plan to entertain, you also need to think about your guests’ needs and comfort. Remember to incorporate design elements that are suitable for the environment. For example, soaring ceilings may look impressive, but it can be difficult and expensive to keep this style of home warm through the cold winter months. Likewise, huge windows that allow you to take in sweeping views may be nice, but cold temperatures can be transmitted much more easily through glass than through walls. Your designer should take into account the location of your land, its unique features and all of your preferences when designing your home.

Image of log cabin
(image courtesy Riverwood Cabins)

Obtaining building permits

Some builders will obtain all necessary building permits on your behalf, but this is not always the case. You may need to research required building permits yourself before any construction work begins. Obtaining permits may not always be as simple as filing the right paperwork with the right department. There may be instances when the permit is denied because of a specific issue. That issue may need to be properly addressed and remedied before the permits can be approved.

Remember that buildings need to pass various code inspections in some areas. These inspections maytake place at specific times throughout the construction process. At each stage, there is a possibility that the work completed on the home will not pass inspection, and the construction crew will need to backtrack to correct the issue before more advanced stages in the construction process can begin. Delays with site-built construction projects are common and should be expected.

Find land for sale to build your cabin on Lands of America

Finding an easier alternative

If you feel discouraged about building your dream log cabin after learning more about the introductory steps in the process, you are not alone! Building a log cabin can be much more difficult than building your typical home in a neighborhood because of the remote or isolated location of the land, the characteristics of the land and the many hurdles that you must jump over in order to get the construction process started. Remember that there likely will be additional costs as well to improve the road and run utilities to the property.

The reality is that you have to find the right land to place your home on regardless of how you build the home, but you may not have to physically build the cabin at all. Pre-made cabins are available for you to browse through online today, and you can easily find a design that works perfectly with the land that you have selected.

With a pre-made log cabin, you can forego many of the hassles and potential obstacles associated with building a home from the ground up. You can focus your time finding the right piece of land with your pre-made cabin design already in mind. All hassles associated with finding a builder or dealing with weather delays, construction crew issues and more may be eliminated.

  • Vicky works as the Marketing Coordinator for Riverwood Cabins. As the Marketing Coordinator she executes marketing campaigns and strategies, primarily in the digital space. She loves creating and curating content and finding fun ways to engage customers on social media—and to do it as a "job"—it just doesn't get any better. She's also an artist and loves taking photos. Vicky lives in the heart of Nashville with her husband, Michael.

  • Show Comments

  • Neil De Odhar

    Very well written article! Organized, detailed, tailored exactly to what readers would want to know. I’m wondering….with all that wood, what steps are taken to ensure protection against the risk of fire – prevention, detection, and mechanisms to put it out quickly. Fire engines are far away in town!

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