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March 15, 2022 | Lloydminster

Starting To Build Your Custom Cottage Or Cabin

For some people, owning a home is a dream. Others dream bigger. They don’t just want a home, they want their home - exactly how they want it. They’ve thought about it for years. They imagine every little detail, inside and out. Maybe they envision a rural cabin with views of the surrounding mountains, or maybe they imagine a rural cottage with plenty of greenery. Either way, their home already exists in their mind, it’s just a matter of creating it in the real world. 

But how exactly do you make that dream a reality, especially without wrecking your finances and taking forever? It turns out modular homes are the answer - at least half of it. The other half is the expertise of Nelson Homes. Want to know how to do it? Here’s how we can start building your own custom cottage or cabin.

Budgeting for Modular Homes

Budgeting for your custom cottage or cabin is all about balancing your wants and needs with what you can realistically afford. If you’re like most people, you will need a construction loan and a mortgage. Many banks will allow you to prequalify for loans. This will give you a rough idea of how much you can spend. However, just because a bank will loan you a certain amount doesn’t mean you should use the maximum amount for your construction. Coming in under your full loan amount is a much safer decision.

There are many, many different types of loans available for your mortgage. Some require little to no downpayment. We also recommend that you plan for cost overruns during construction. Changes you request during the design can cause delays and require additional funds. Even if your design remains the same from beginning to end, material costs can fluctuate over time, potentially increasing your construction costs. Don’t forget to include the initial start-up costs of owning a home. New homeowners can often be taken off-guard by the one-time costs they may encounter when building and moving into a new home.

Those costs can include:

  • Landscaping
  • Garden and lawn equipment
  • Internet wiring
  • Utility hookups
  • Clearing and prepping the land
  • Demoing an existing building on the land
  • Building permits

And of course, there are ongoing monthly costs to consider too, such as:

  • Property taxes
  • Homeowner insurance
  • Lawn-care services

Take your time to create a thorough and comprehensive budget and prevent any surprises during your build.

Choose a Lot

If you don’t already have an existing plot of land, you need to choose one. For one, land costs can vary depending on your location. Local zoning and building codes may also factor in what you can build and how. 

Aside from the costs and build restrictions, there are a few other factors to consider when choosing a plot of land for your dream cabin or cottage:

  • Access
  • Site topography
  • Greenery
  • Other distinct features

It’s a lot to consider, so let’s break each aspect down a bit more into greater detail. 


How far from the road will you want to be? How will you approach the home - from above, or below? Where will you, and any visitors, park their vehicles. How much privacy you want and the steepness of your land will determine how you want to access it, along with our next item - site topography.

Site Topography

Your site topography is all of the forms and features of the land. It includes natural features such as mountains, lakes, and rivers. Manmade features such as roads can also be considered topographical features. The elevation is also an important element of topography. Your site’s elevation is something you need to consider, especially when it comes to drainage. The topography of the land will determine your options for placing your cabin. Maybe you have a hill you can place it on that will give you a gorgeous view. Or maybe you dream of placing your cottage on flat land near a lake. Ultimately the lay of the land will determine where you place your cabin, as well as the potential floor plans and sizes you can consider. Natural features may also determine the direction your home faces, as well as window placement. However, for maximum natural light, it’s recommended that your home face south.


Preserving your greenery is important. Not only will it keep your land beautiful, but more greenery leads to more privacy, better house reduction, fresh air, and a home for wildlife. If you can find a site with lots of greenery, it’s best to minimize your impact on it when constructing your home. Plus, who wants to get rid of gorgeous scenery? 

Other Distinct Features

There may be other distinct features on the land that draw you to it. It could be the view of the sunset, the nearby river, or other key features. Not only are these features something distinct that can draw you to the land, but they are also worth preserving. The more time you can spend on the property and get to know the land, the better.

Pick a Floor Plan

Now that you have a site for your home construction, it’s time to pick a floor plan. A floor plan is a scale drawing that shows the features of your home when viewed from a top-down view. A floor plan is good for visualizing your home and how you will move through it. It shows the layout of your rooms, enabling you to get an idea of the space will work for you or not. It’s one thing to have an idea of how you want your cabin or cottage’s layout to look like, it’s another. For example, a floor plan will show the bedrooms, bathrooms, and living spaces of your home. It may also show the location of walk-in closets. If your home has an additional floor, it will show that as well as the placement of the stairs used to access it. You may have an idea of what your ideal layout is. If you have ideas you can sketch them out the old-fashioned way using pencil and paper, or you could try using software to sketch 3D models.

There are dozens of options for floor plan software. Depending on your technical know-how and the program, they can be very complex, and sometimes, expensive. Experimenting with floor plans can be fun, but too many options can also be overwhelming. That’s where pre-fab floor plans can come in. If you’re not sure what you want, we have plenty of pre-existing cottage floor plans and cabin floor plans for you to choose from. Whether you’re looking to build a cabin as your home away from home, or a cottage to retire in, we have house plans for you. Or perhaps you have a house plan that’s close to what you want, but isn’t quite there. We can customize your house inside and out to make it your own. Just because you’re using an existing floor plan or building a prefab house doesn’t mean it has to look cookie cutter.

Contact Nelson Homes to Begin Your Build

This is where we come in. Once you’re ready to begin the construction process, contact Nelson Homes.  There’s no need to start lining up your experts. We can be the experts for you, ensuring that your home is precision manufactured. Plus, our price guarantee will eliminate cost overruns. Your price is locked in for the duration of your home build.

Our prefabricated homes make for great cabins and cottages. No matter what you plan on using your new home for, we can make it a reality. Our prefabricated homes allow the construction process to go faster. Best of all, prefabricated homes have all the perks of a traditional stick-built home. They’re customizable, can be remodelled, are sturdy, safe, and are made with the same quality building materials as other homes. There’s a reason why we love prefab homes - and we think you will too. Building a prefab home doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. 

Custom Cottages and Cabin Building Is Our Specialty

When you’re ready to start building your cottage or cabin, Nelson Homes can help. For over 70 years we’ve been helping homeowners build their dream homes, cozy cabins, and vacation retreats. Our modular homes are highly customizable and can be easily transported and assembled on-site, saving you both time and money. 

Contact us when you’re ready to get started on your new build. We’d love to make your dream cottage or cabin a reality.

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