McBurney Design Associates
Architectural and Mechanical Computer Aided Design
Affordable Housing and Vacation Cabins
How to Buy Land
Financing Your Lot
Vacation Plan
Larger Cabins

P.O. Box 5194
Bloomington, Il. 61704
Phone: 309-662-4114

How to Buy Land


Finding and Buying Land:

There are a lot of things to think about when planning a weekend cabin. The first and most important is where to build and what type of land you want to buy. The first consideration is to keep the land close enough to get to easily and far enough away to feel disconnected from work and everyday trials and troubles. My recommendation is to take a state map and set a drawing compass on the mileage scale and set it for 180 miles. Then draw a circle around your home town. This will show you the limit of a three hour drive in all directions from your home. Now set the compass for 60 miles and draw a second circle inside the first circle. This second circle shows the limit to a one hour drive from your home. The land you are looking for should be between the two circles. This means the land you are looking for is more than and hour away and less than three hours away.

Why less than three hours away? This will allow you to leave work at five o'clock on a Friday night and arrive at the cabin before it gets dark. The sixty mile limit will get you far enough away that you won't be tempted to run back home to shop or do some other type of chore that can wait till the weekend is over. On the map above I show a 180 mile radius and a 60 mile radius around Chicago. Please note that some parts of Michigan would take more than three hours to get to, as traffic through Indiana can back up for days.

Types of Land:

What type of land should you look to buy? There are three basic types of land to consider, and each involve the type of water or lack of water on the property. The first type is property along rivers and streams. Let me caution you against buying land along a river or stream! That little creek that is wandering through the property could become a quarter mile wide torrent under the right conditions. I once looked at a piece of land next to a small stream that had a great price but when I went out to look at it after a spring rain it had water marks three feet up the sides of every tree. I would hate to see you put all this effort into building a weekend retreat and then have it all washed away in a flood.

The second type of property is timber land. This type of land is usually sold by the acre and comes with no utilities or water. Its advantage is it is usually isolated so you are off by yourself but the disadvantage is this type of land usually needs all types of improvements such as roads, a well, electricity and gas. While these improvements are not impossible they do require a sizable outlay of cash.

What this site will concentrate on is the third type of land which is lake property. During the mid seventies several development companies built vacation lake communities through out the midwest. These communities have matured in the last twenty years to become self sustaining resort type properties that offer exceptional value to someone looking to build or buy a weekend reteat. Most of these communities are governed by an owners organization that charges yearly dues similar to a condo fee. These dues are used to maintain the roads and other ammenities such as pools, club houses, tennis courts and the lakes.

These owner organizatons can also control a real estate office to control and profit from the sale of existing properties and see that undeveloped lots that have never been sold or lots that have been abandoned can be shown and sold without disrupting the activities of the community. The advantages to this type of property are many and include established roads, water and sewage systems,and many utilities such as electricity already on the property. The disadvantage of this type of property is you are not away from people and out by yourself. What I have found though is that the people of these communities are very friendly and everyone there is there to relax and have a good time. It is an atmosphere similar to the one you would find at a national or state park only these people take great pride in the resort as they own a piece of it and want to see it grow in value. The people around your property also become your weekend friends and many impromptu parties have evolved from simple cookouts.

To help you find the right lot at the right price I have included the "Lot Locator List" in the Vacation Package that is for sale on this web site. This list contains the names and locations of dozens of Lake communities throught out the Midwest along with contact information for realty companies and owner organizations that sell lake property. The package also includes a complete set of Cabin Plans, a full List of Materials, and Step by Step construction instructions. The package will save you months of inquiry and construction time.

If you have any questions drop me a line at and I will help you any way I can as you start to build your vacation retreat.