The Leatherwood, by Wildcat Barns

The Leatherwood, by Wildcat Barns in Kentucky

A lot of us are yearning to live off-grid and with land prices so low, it’s a very realistic dream right now. However, some of us just don’t have the money to pay to build a house or the time and know-how to build it ourselves. In researching a solution to this, I found something that could be very workable: rent-to-own cabins. Most of these work on the same premise as places like Rent-a-Center: No credit checks and in many cases, no deposit. You pay a payment and sign the agreement, they give you the cabin and you either pay it off until you own it or you give it back when you are done with it (say if you just wanted it for one season at a hunting lease or for a few months at a vacation spot). You can also simply buy one outright if you have the money and with most companies I’ve researched, there are no penalties for early payment in full. Very easy. Basic models start at about $5,000, with the payment being about $200 a month. They are about the size of a single wide trailer (the biggest are around 18×40) and have loft sleeping areas. You can create other rooms in them if you’d like, of course.

They are cute, decently-priced and the company will deliver, set up and level them on your land for you. Some also build them on site. The basic cabins are not finished, wired or insulated, but you can choose one that is finished for more money. You could also finish it yourself. It’s all about what your needs are and what you can do. One thing I noticed, though, is that these do not seem to have a gutter system and if you want a rain catchment system like we do – and to keep the water from eroding the earth away underneath of your structure – you are going to have to put them on yourself.

cape cod cabin

Cape Cod, by Sunrise Buildings in Missouri

Other companies do not allow residential structures on their rent-to-own programs but they do allow structures that could be easily converted into living spaces, such as lofted sheds and horse barns. These guys will often do modifications for you to that end, such as insulated windows and doors. A converted horse barn could make a wonderful home and to be honest, it was my first choice and still is. These cabins are very cute though and affordable.

Living off-grid has never been more feasible than it is now. What are you waiting for?

Search “rent to own cabin” or “portable cabin” and your state. You should be able to find something. Most companies charge for delivery outside of a certain area, so check in your state first. Many offer statewide delivery for free, regardless of where in the state you are.