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Old 08-25-2013, 01:06 PM   #1
OntarioSkiBum
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Cost per sq ft to build Adirondack Camp

I'm not sure if this is the right category for this, but I'm curious... what is the typical price to have a cabin built not including lot, but including septic, foundation (without basement), electrical, plumbing, etc. I'm thinking one-story with a small sleeping loft... maybe 800sq/ft, and wood (not drywall) interior.

I don't have a lot of time to do too much work myself, so this would be pretty much turn-key. Also, how would the financing work.

That said, this would be pretty much in the "dreaming" stage right now. We're probably 2 years away from seriously considering our ADK cabin. For reference, this is where we've stayed the last couple years, and would be pretty much what we're after...

http://www.homeaway.ca/cottage-rental/p238397
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:39 PM   #2
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You're way high. Surely you must mean $80/sq.ft. which sounds reasonable. At $800/sq. ft. a 1,000 sq. ft cabin would cost $800,000 plus land.

I have never had one built so those who have can provide actual statistics. I did however look at having a handcrafted log home built. The numbers started at $200-$250/ft plus land and land improvements.

You'll need to get construction financing for the build-out (construction) phase and that temporary financing would get permanently financed by a mortgage once the project was complete. The lender can be the same for both but doesn't have to be.
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiiawiwb View Post
You're way high. Surely you must mean $80/sq.ft. which sounds reasonable. At $800/sq. ft. a 1,000 sq. ft cabin would cost $800,000 plus land.

I have never had one built so those who have can provide actual statistics. I did however look at having a handcrafted log home built. The numbers started at $200-$250/ft plus land and land improvements.

You'll need to get construction financing for the build-out (construction) phase and that temporary financing would get permanently financed by a mortgage once the project was complete. The lender can be the same for both but doesn't have to be.
Read again. The OP wanted a 800 square foot cabin. Log cabins can be expensive depending on access.

Until you have a lot in mind I doubt anyone save a local log home supplier can help you. Location is of course supreme and well and septic can be as much as the house.

You will probably have to provide your own road and finance it. And maintain it. Your insurance carrier may require year round access for the Fire Dept.

We pay some ten thousand dollars a year for road maintenance. It's a long road..over a mile. That does include grading and we share the costs with about a dozen other homeowners.

Utilities can cost another twenty grand..thats what it cost when someone put in a camp nearby. Its not NY though your cost could vary. Best to have a woodlot and solar panels. Site carefully. You might check into having a composting toilet.

Hand pumps seem to be hard to find parts for these days. A camp we help run has such an animal and we are always scavenging for parts.

Be aware that on lake properties you may be required to have a pumped septic system in order to install your field uphill. Our neighbors ( about half a mile away do). It cost a pretty 10,000 extra.

Last edited by yellowcanoe; 08-27-2013 at 06:43 PM..
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:52 PM   #4
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I think he meant 800 square foot, not $800 per square foot.

BTW I have no idea. But I looked into these for a minute:

http://trophyamishcabins.com/

My thought was to have a well dug with a freeze proof hand pump and a composting toilet.

No real improvements but a base camp to stay, especially in the winter. My wife won't sleep out in the cold months.

I finally came to my senses when looking for land. It is just too much! I wasn't even looking for much at all, just some place that had it's own road frontage to a road that was plowed in the winter.

I had calculated everything out on what it would cost. I could probably dig up the numbers with typical lot prices. Financing can be a bear - there are places who will do financing for projects like that but it isn't the easiest to get or very low rates. I was going to do mostly cash and maybe a small personal loan. I couldn't bring myself to pay for land in the park though.

I would have to imagine it would cost more to have a cabin built, and much more if you want something that is 4 season livable.
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:12 PM   #5
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I had a Lincoln Log price sheet at one point a few years ago. The cheapest package for a roughly 500 sq ft cabin was around $29k. Something in the 800 sq ft ballpark, 1 bedroom plus a loft upstairs, was around $49k, if I'm recalling correctly. That's for the package only. The general guideline given was to factor in 3 to 4 times the package price to have it built and fitted out. I believe that estimate included everything but the land you put it on.

That was far too much for our budget so we continued scouring the real estate listings until we found a circa 1940 785 sq ft duplex summer cottage that had been moved from the current location of Sutton's Marketplace in Queensbury to a 2 acre lot in Brant Lake in the 70s. It was a 3-season cottage when we bought it, but we re-plumbed to move the water tank & water heater inside and now use it year round. It may not the cabin in the woods I dreamed of as a girl, but it's a place to lay our heads in the Adirondacks and cost less than half what the log cabin would have -- and came with a double garage in which to store all our toys!
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:13 PM   #6
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My mistake, sorry and thanks for catching it. I read it twice too. Yikes.
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:43 PM   #7
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Sorry, when I said cabin, I didn't mean log cabin. My wife and I like board and batten. I was also thinking something around the Wells/Speculator area... there's some smaller lots with roads and services I've seen in the 20K range.
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:55 PM   #8
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http://www.home-cost.com/constructio...r-sf.html#form

Enter the zip code. I am betting that the construction cost of the house itself is pnuts compared to utilities excavation and land.

If you choose a long lasting metal roof (as we have) that gets pricey too.

One last thing. Make sure your land is not bug infested. We have had a five acre lot for sale for six years near me. Its mosquito and blackfly heaven.
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:57 PM   #9
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Here's a sample from a Canadian cottage kit website of something similar to what we're looking at (only we'd do board and batten). The prices are Canadian though so I imagine it'd be cheaper there. Of course you still have to pay to build it... but they'll deliver the materials to site (minus electrical, plumbing, kitchen, and bath fixtures) for $33K.

The answer in the end might be what peskypup alluded to, and we should buy resale.



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Old 08-28-2013, 09:27 AM   #10
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I don't know how old you are but log ladders kind of lose their appeal after a certain age. We have one in our woodshop/boat barn. Our neighbors had a spiral staircase and removed it and replaced it with standard.

Your plans only have one emergency egress..not a good idea. The porch is attractive but will icedam.

I think its best to poke in person in the area. You might learn that waterfront property is very expensive to buy and pay taxes on and a house or cabin right across the street non direct waterfront about a third of the price.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:36 AM   #11
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Great post and information. I had no idea what was involved for building/buying a place in the woods.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowcanoe View Post
I don't know how old you are but log ladders kind of lose their appeal after a certain age. We have one in our woodshop/boat barn. Our neighbors had a spiral staircase and removed it and replaced it with standard.

Your plans only have one emergency egress..not a good idea. The porch is attractive but will icedam.

I think its best to poke in person in the area. You might learn that waterfront property is very expensive to buy and pay taxes on and a house or cabin right across the street non direct waterfront about a third of the price.
You're absolutely right about the lots... that's why we'd hopefully get a water access lot... not pay the high price and taxes for waterfront. We've stayed in the Jolie Montagne HOA 3 times now and like that area... though anywhere in the Piseco-Speculator-Wells area would work for us. As I stated before, there's a smaller lot in Wells selling for 20K right now. Its across the street from the lake and has a shared 10ft water access... not great, but for the price, its really all we'd need.

Those plans were just a sample of showing something of the size/scope of what we're after. We haven't thought that far into what exactly it would look like. We're just trying to get a handle on the costs and determine if its even worth going down the road of building new. That's where some of your input is extremely helpful!!! (Thanks for all the feedback!)
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Old 08-28-2013, 01:47 PM   #13
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http://nyskiblog.com/building-ski-cabin/
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:46 PM   #14
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As a Canadian - you, and myself a Canadian with lending experience I doubt you will have much luck obtaining financing on a new build.

The Canadian banks collateral is somewhere in the backwoods in Northern NY. Its cross border assessments, legal encumbrances etc.

I doubt a US bank would loan money to Canadian who's main assets (income and existing property) are out of reach without expensive litigation. It's a legal hassle.

Use the existing collateral in your Canadian home. If you don't have the collateral you shouldn't be dreaming about building a cabin in the ADKs. Sorry to be so negative but its true.
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:14 AM   #15
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I typed in the Saratoga springs zip code into the home builder calculator and its listing $122/sq'...which is on the very low side. I work for a construction company and the typical new construction price in this area is closer to $200/sq'.
It may be on cheaper side being on slab construction with a smaller footprint and 1 story. But the best thing to do, would be to choose a plan that is close to what you like, and then ask for an estimate. Get a few estimates so you have a rounded out viewpoint on the average cost.
There is a great deal of variance in pricing dependent upon materials and amenities you want.
I would shy away from natural wood exterior siding options as the longevity is not good in fighting off moisture decay and the associated insect damage, which can create large problems for a seasonal use residence.
Many camp owners also employ the use of caretakers to maintain against snow load damage and oversee the security of the camp, etc,..
Modern building codes require camps to be built like regular homes so there aren't any shortcuts like the old camps were built with, i.e. lack of insulation, block piers,etc,.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:04 PM   #16
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I think the writing is on the wall... and I think I got what I wanted to get from this thread.

From a cost perspective, it doesn't make sense to build new. From the best I can tell, we'd be dropping 200-250K to get what we want, and when we're done we'd probably not be able to sell for anywhere near that based on what I see on the market now.

I think the only impetus for building new would be if you already had or inherited some land. Or if you knew exactly what you wanted, and don't want to compromise in other ways and don't plan on selling for many, many years.
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:48 PM   #17
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Buying an existing camp and upgrading over the course of time is probably the cheapest way to go. You can usually find decent tradesman that will do remodel work etc,.. for much cheaper than the up front costs of building from new.
When I worked my last job I drove through the Adirondacks quite a bit on my route.I used to see small cabins for sale and land parcels for sale. It would get me all excited until I got home and got the sticker shock looking the real estate pricing up. Suppose day hikes and weekend camping trips will have to suffice for me.
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Old 08-31-2013, 07:37 PM   #18
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Another alternative would be to build a small cabin at one of the hunting/fishing/outdoor clubs throughout the park. Blue Mountain, Robinwood (Sabattis), Newcomb, Kempshall Mountain, Minerva are a few clubs that allow you to build a cabin on a leased lot.

Downsides are you have to abide by the rules of the club, usually off grid (need generator) and you may not have year round access unless you have a snow machine. I'm not sure about water...if they allow a well to be drilled.
Also, if the club loses it's lease you may have to leave your cabin behind unless you can move it or dismantle it. I know that Robinwood recently purchased quite a few acres so that would not occur there.

Most of these clubs have websites.........worth a look.
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowcanoe View Post
http://www.home-cost.com/constructio...r-sf.html#form



One last thing. Make sure your land is not bug infested. We have had a five acre lot for sale for six years near me. Its mosquito and blackfly heaven.
How much is that bug haven? Is it swamp, or have a pond for breeding?
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Old 10-20-2013, 10:58 AM   #20
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I am a building & union electrical contractor...we do more building than electrical. A small cabin... size in the picture would probably cost around 20K + in material. You can just about double that with labor and keep in mind there is no elect, plum etc.. in that number. If your building on one of those camp properties I would suggest 8' sections of framing bolted together so it can be removed and relocated. I would do the roof in Metal so it too could be removed. Truss's would also be an advantage to relocate. I am in the process of looking into those camps that allow building on the property. Lived with gas lights/refrig in our camp in Cooks Falls NY...loved it.
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