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Evergreen Real Estate: Things to Consider When Buying A Cabin

Real Estate Agent with 8Z Real Estate

Buying a little cabin in the mountains has been a dream for many over the years and the Evergreen Real Estate market has some great options to help make that dream come true.  With our history of being a getaway for writers, artists and the Denver elite of the distant past there are a wide variety of locations, styles and conditions of small cabins.


According to our local MLS (Metrolist), In the last three years there have been thirteen one bedroom, one bath cabins sold in Evergreen with an average price per square foot of $166/foot.


However, I strongly encourage you to resist the temptation to rely on averages.  For example the range of sales prices for these cabins was from $22,500.00 (!) up to $185,000.  So while the average price was a little over $100k, that average does not indicate  the value of any individual cabin.


As in any real estate purchase location is the most important consideration.  In Evergreen values are affected by the relative proximity to downtown—and views/access to the lake.


The neighborhood that the cabins are located in will effect the value dramatically as will the condition of the roads to access the home, the steepness of the driveway, even the aspect of the access road and driveway (is it north facing and holding snow into the late spring or is it south facing and already dry)


Cabins in Upper Bear Creek for example, could be very valuable if they are in Troutdale, but the values drop off considerably deeper up the headwaters.  The cabin for sale in Rosedale is accessed from a steep, dirt road and located right in a drainage gulch (in fact it has a culvert going right through the house!).  This one, like many of the oldest cabins may not be eligible for financing due to age, condition and damage.


Guidelines and regulations for cabins change from County to County and while the cabins in Evergreen in Wah Keeney Park, Mountain Park Home and Mary N Williams Estate are all in Jefferson County those in Brook Forest and Upper Bear Creek can be in Clear Creek County—depending on how high you go.  Clear Creek County guidelines are a little more –lets say “adaptable”  in my humble opinion.


Beyond the typical inspection issues and considerations that we deal with on all mountain homes I’ll give you three more that you might not have considered:


1.)  It’s important to consider your emergency egress from a mountain hideaway.  If your dream cabin is tucked neatly into the woods at the end of a long winding road—you’ll want to have early warning of any forest fires so you can leave! 

2.)  Plow truck- many of these cabins are at high altitude, on acreage, with long driveways.  If you plan to snuggle by the fire after a big snowstorm you’ll want to be sure you can get to your firewood (which shouldn’t be stacked against the house) and get in and out of the property in case of an emergency.  While many will rely on a plow service, I’m always skeptical of where I would fit in the plowman’s priority list so I use my own plow truck.  It’s relatively easy to plow and adds to the overall sense of independence of living in the mountains.

3.)  Source of heat- Many people don’t realize that some of these getaway cabins don’t have a furnace!  My father always said—wood keeps you warm three times: when you cut it, when you stack it, and when you burn it…  And of course, if your cabin doesn’t have a wood stove or a fireplace—it might also be lacking insulation and the electric heat bill might be very expensive!


To be sure, there are many important details to scrutinize when considering any mountain cabin.  You should have the assistance of a passionate and enthusiastic expert who helps you steer clear of the money pits and go into any of these homes with your eyes wide open.


Anyway, I love these little cabins, and all the ins and outs of them.  If you’d like to hear some stories drop me a line or an email.  I’m happy to share.