Demand for recreational property has increased significantly over the past several years across many areas of the country. Northern Utah is no exception. The popularity of recreational property is driven by multiple factors. These include: owning a piece of paradise to reconnect with family, friends and nature; a base camp for activities including hiking, mountain biking, ATV riding, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, skiing, a place to enjoy the wildlife and solitude of the great outdoors; and also as an investment.
For anyone interested in purchasing a lot, large acreage or cabin in a recreational area, there are a number of things to consider before starting to look at properties:
Purchasing real estate in a residential area and recreational area are two very different animals. Recreational properties have a number of unique characteristics, and each recreational area has its own personality. Most recreational areas in northern Utah allow only seasonal access for vehicles, since roads are not plowed during the winter. However, most of these areas do allow winter access by snowmobile or snow cat, allowing residents access to their cabins during the winter for a unique wintertime experience. Depending on the recreational area, elevation and amount of snow received the previous winter, vehicle access can begin between April and June, then go into late October or even Thanksgiving.
As part of the decision to begin looking at recreational properties, one of the most valuable steps anyone can take is to select a real estate agent who specializes in recreational property, and has the local knowledge and expertise necessary to ensure a buyer makes an informed decision. An experienced recreational agent will understand and offer accurate guidance relating to water (private water system, existing well, storage, water rights), septic, power (includes on-girid, generator, solar), excavation, roof design/snow load, restrictions as they relate to CCRs and county ordinances, HOA fees, taxes, gate access (key or gate code), property valuation and more. An experienced agent will understand and offer guidance around specific items that require special attention when an offer is written, and during the due diligence period. Your agent should also have knowledge of other companies and experts such as builders, excavators, septic installation, solar providers, insurance, HOA contacts, etc. Your agent will understand what is unique to each area, and will be able to match a prospective buyer to the area(s) with the best fit and price range. An agent who actually owns in one or more recreational areas can be even more valuable, since they are able to draw upon first hand experience. Locating the perfect camping or cabin property can be fun, but it also takes research, time and patience.
I specialize in recreational real estate throughout Northern Utah, and know this area well, having assisted buyers and sellers in Causey Estates, Sunridge, Legacy Ranch / Monte Cristo and Curtis Creek / Baxter Sawmill and others. My wife and I personally own property in both Causey Estates and Sunridge Highlands. Many of the best recreational properties are sold by word of mouth to friends or friends and relatives of other owners in the same community. I often hear about properties coming up for sale before the word gets out or a property is formally advertised or listed on MLS. Let me assist you in finding your dream cabin or camping / hunting property. They come in all shapes, sizes and prices!
When it comes to selling recreational real estate, it is highly recommended that anyone considering selling a recreational cabin or lot consult with a recreational real estate specialist first. Recreational real estate specialists know these areas better than other agents, and are able to offer much better guidance around managing expectations and helping a seller establish a fair and reasonable list price for the cabin or lot. A recreational RE specialist will work harder to market and show your property than most residential agents since this is where they spending much of their time, showing and listing other properties in the same area. A recreational specialist also knows better how to market your property. Simply listing a recreational property on the MLS does not typically work well for recreational listings. Agents who list a property must be willing to show the property to potential clients, which can take as long as four hours depending on the location.