Plan to build on your property? Four things to consider.


Recreational property buyers often want to someday build on the land, whether it’s going to be a primary home, a hunting cabin or a storage shed.

But no matter what kind of structure you’re planning to build, the time to think about it is before you buy, because you’ll want to be sure the property you purchase is a good fit for that use.

Ben Ballard of PotlatchDeltic sees all kinds of uses by the buyers at Sportsman’s Estates, a rural residential PotlatchDeltic community southeast of St. Maries, Idaho. One buyer, a commercial fisherman, is building a structure that will serve as a shop, storage space and cabin. Others are camping on their properties for now, with plans to build cabins in the future.

“Buying property and building later can make a lot of sense,” Ben says. “You spread out your costs over time while you create the property you really desire. And as you spend time in the area, you determine what type of structure will best fit your needs in terms of sleeping capacity, storage needs, you name it.”

So to plan ahead, here are four things that Ben suggests buyers consider if they think they want to build on their recreational property someday:

1 > Make sure the property has good road access, and easy access to power.
Roads should be in good shape, and power should be available within a reasonable distance. This is an advantage of buying in a developed rural community like Sportsman’s Estates, or others that PotlatchDeltic has for sale, like Tie Creek near Orofino, Idaho and Living on the Edge in Ely, Minnesota.

2 > Get an idea of what will be required to get water on the site.
Rural real estate brokers like the experts in the PotlatchDeltic Preferred Broker Network should be able to get you well reports for nearby properties, so you can get an idea of well depths in the area. This is also a good way to find out who the well contractors are in your area.

3 > Decide whether you want to live in an area with CC&Rs.
Some rural buyers like to be in a community with covenants, conditions & restrictions (CC&Rs), which may regulate anything from the types of structures allowed to whether you’re able to keep non-functioning cars and trucks on the property. Pros: These regulations can ensure that your neighbors don’t do something with their property that is out of character with the area. Cons: You may not want any sort of use restrictions on your property.

One thing to consider as you decide about CC&Rs is the size of the parcels in the community. If you have a larger parcel and can’t see your neighbors, it may not matter to you what they do with their property. Some PotlatchDeltic rural communities, like Tie Creek, have CC&Rs, while others, like Sportsman’s Estates, don’t.

4 >  Consider what there is to do in the surrounding area, which ties to whether you’ll want to spend a significant amount of time on the property.
Sportsman’s Estates, for example, is within easy reach of a wealth of recreational opportunities. This area of north Idaho has the St. Maries River and St. Joe River for such activities as fishing, kayaking, rafting and canoeing. It’s close to thousands of acres of public land for hunting. And it’s only an hour from the shops and restaurants in the quaint town of Coeur d’Alene.

“What’s the point of buying a property and building a cabin on it if you don’t want to spend a lot of time there?” Ben says. “At PotlatchDeltic, we focus on selling properties that are close to tons of things to do, both for kids and adults. It’s such a joy to sell a piece of property and to hear how the buyer’s family is enjoying it.”

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