Buying land on a “seasonal” road is very common here , in fact many buyers WANT to be on a seasonal road. So what do you need to know before buying land with seasonal access? This isn’t anything to fear , in fact it’s a good thing so let’s cover the highlights so you’re educated before you write the check.


1st the definition of a seasonal road : a road which is maintained by the local town which provides vehicle access during the non winter months. Generally speaking we’re talking about gravel roads which are not plowed in the winter but are “graded” , maintained from April thru November. We’re all familiar with these types of roads and we have a LOT of them up here. I would guess I sell 2 parcels on seasonal roads for every 1 I sell on a year ’round maintained road. Here’s what to consider when buying land on a seasonal road.


1) The town does NOT have to maintain the road if you build your primary home there:

This is the most misunderstood , misrepresented and most important consideration when buying land on a seasonal road. You could walk into any diner up here and ask 10 people if you built a house on a seasonal road does the town now have to plow, maintain it year ‘ round. I’ll bet 7 of those 10 will say “yes , they have to plow it if you live there”. My point is there are many who live up here and don’t even know this is not true. In the old days people would build on a seasonal road and the town would plow it for them. Over the years more and more people did it and built farther away from the nearest plowed road. You can imagine how this adds to the cost of maintaining roads when there’s only 1 house a mile away. Plowing the road is the easy part , building a road that can handle a plow is a whole different animal and an expensive animal. The vast majority of these roads cannot handle the plows we have up here. The simple fact is this : if you build a house on a seasonal road the town does not have to maintain that road 12 months a year. It’s been proven in court too many times to mention so trust me on this. Buy on a seasonal road knowing this and don’t let it scare you away.

2) Privacy is GOOD ! :

One thing you can count on is privacy when buying on seasonal access roads. This is good , and is probably at the top of your list. When looking at properties on seasonal roads you will find they’re usually bigger lots than you find on paved roads. If I talk with 100 people who want to buy land 99 of them mention privacy in the 1st couple minutes. Seasonal roads is where you will get the most privacy which is why so many want to be there. If you’re in the market for a place to build the family cabin/weekend getaway the last thing you want is sit outside enjoying a cold one and listening to your next door neighbor. The whole idea is to get away from that and I’ll show you where you can do it anytime you want.

3) Lower cost to purchase on seasonal roads:

Ok so this is no surprise but it’s worth pointing out. If you compare prices of properties with seasonal access compared to year ’round/paved road access you will find seasonal to be significantly less expensive. I would bet you will save 20% or more just by having seasonal road access. If you’re the typical recreationalist who spends time up here you’re probably spending 90% of your time here during the non winter months. For many it’s 100% of the time so give this some serious thought before you decide where you’re going to buy.


4) Many seasonal roads are snowmobile/ATV trails:

Again if you’re the typical person who spends their time up here you most likely snowmobile and/or ride ATV’s. You probably know we have the absolute best trail systems for both that you will ever see. There are a lot of places you can ride your ATV right off your land and immediately be on the ATV trail system and go all day long if you want. Same goes for snowmobiles AND you can access your property in the winter by sled! If you buy land/cabin out on the “main road” chances are slim you are going to ride an ATV or sled right to the trail systems. Check out the trail maps or ask the person selling the place for info on trails. If you want to look at land for sale in NY ,especially here up north , you will find trail access from most seasonal roads is easy and close by.

5) you can still have all the comforts of home off the beaten path:

Don’t think for a minute that if you buy on a seasonal road you have to sacrifice the comforts we enjoy from home. Those days are over and for good. I have a customer/friend who bought some property from me a couple years ago on a seasonal road up here. This place is quite a ways from “town” and believe me this is off the beaten path. He and his wife built a cabin in their woods and enjoy everything they have at home as far as the “comforts” are concerned. Not only do they have a full kitchen with all the extras but they have a full bath , satellite TV and internet access. My customer is a VP at a company we all know and “works” from his cabin 12 months out of the year whenever he’s there. He does video conferencing , sends faxes , emails and works the phones whenever he needs to. As soon as he’s finished with that stuff he hops on his ATV or snowmobile and he’s gone having fun. There are a LOT of people doing this these days so don’t think you have to live like a caveman just because your place is on a gravel road. Whole house generators which run off propane are all the rage these days. You can run the whole place off these things and it’s pretty affordable to do. Many add a solar panel or 2 and live as comfortably as you can imagine in the middle of nowhere! Make sure you tell “her” this stuff and you’ll be on your way to living the good life in the woods.

Ok there ya have it. A few things to know before you look and buy. Don’t let seasonal access scare you away from a place that sounds good to you. Time have changed and you can pretty much make your cabin life as rough or smooth as you wish and save quite a bit of money while doing so. If you want to discuss ideas/options for buying land here in New York just give me a shout at (800) 260 – 2148 anytime. Thanks for stopping by and please pass this on to your friends and family. See ya soon.  mj

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