Nov 13

What’s The Deal With These Little Cabins Along Highway 50?

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Cabin on Echo Summit

Cabin on Echo Summit


Did you ever ask yourself this question as you were driving up to Tahoe along the Highway 50 corridor?  There are an amazing number  little cabins beginning at about Whitehall.  Well . . . the answer is they are mostly recreation residences, or Forest Service Cabins.  There are almost 600 of them on on the El Dorado National Forest and that includes those in the Lake Tahoe Basin.  You can buy these cabins, not the land, just the cabins when the present owners wish to sell them.  It is sort of like buying a car or a boat because they are considered personal property in the form of improvements on land that is owned by the public, you and me.  You get to use the land with a 20 year special use permit (not a 99 year lease) issued by the Forest Service.  There is a yearly fee for the land use and, get this, you also pay real property taxes at about 1.1% of the purchase price to the county where the cabin is located.  They tell me taxes are charged because you receive county services for your cabin which is good, especially if you need a fire truck or a paramedic.  These are cash transactions and there may not be winter access or winter water, so are you wondering, “Why in the world would I want to pay cash for a cabin on land that I don’t own that does not have winter water or winter access and I can’t rent it our more than 14 days per year?”  Good question.  The answer to that one seems to be the lifystyle that comes with these wonderful places.  In my many years of representing sellers and buyers of these cabins I have been witness to the amazing transformation that comes over families who rest at ease as they see the new families who are buying the place where their family  memories  were born as they realize that more wonderful memories will continue to be created for the new owners.  Each cabin tells it’s own story and I can say that I’ve never  heard the same story twice.

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