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What to look for in a cottage

1024 723 Nisha Muire

Cottage-buying is a fun endeavor as the end result is a pleasure place for your family to unwind at on weekends. Knowing what to look for in a cottage will save you money and hassle down the road, and more importantly, it will save regrets over not getting exactly what you want or what suits your family’s needs.
Here are a few tips on figuring out what’s best for you.
Don’t underestimate the importance of buying in the right place. There are plenty of cottage areas from which to choose but they are decidedly not all the same. Some regions offer a more village-type atmosphere while others are completely off-grid and off-the-beaten path. Some areas can be easily driven to in a couple of hours while others require a longer commuting time. Some boast an abundance of lakefront properties while others are more secluded forest land. The area you choose will depend on how long you want to commute, the amenities you want nearby and the kind of set-up you require in a cottage.
Another factor that will greatly influence what you buy are the kind of amenities the cottage has. Do you need a hook-up to a water main or can pumping water from a well suffice? Are you familiar with septic systems or do you prefer a compostable toilet? Are you willing to live off-grid or will you need an electrical hook-up? Do you require a road right up to your cottage or can you hike up part of the way? All of these factors will play a big role in figuring out what you are looking for.
Naturally price is one of the most important factors in any real estate purchase. As the purchase of a cottage is not a primary residence a mortgage on it will be higher than a regular mortgage so you will want to be careful about how much debt you take on for a summer place.
Which brings us to the next point that you will have to decide – do you want a place you can use all year round or only for the warmer months?
Once you have decided on what you require in a cottage, it is time to begin the hunt. Although spring is usually the busiest buying season for cottages, fall is actually the better time to purchase as sellers will usually prefer a price cut to the carrying costs of hanging onto the place for another season.
Be sure to visit the place a few times at different times of day and drive around the neighbourhood and surrounding towns to get a feel for what the area is like. If at all possible go during different seasons to see what the foliage and privacy level is at various times of the year.
If you want a place on a lake, are you okay with a lake that permits motorized watersports? Also, you will have to find out whether the lake you are considering has a lake association board and inquire with them what rules or regulations are already in place.
Lastly, when negotiating with a seller, try to get items that you are likely going to have to buy thrown in – for instance canoes, snorkeling gear, paddle boards, etc…
Once you’ve found the cottage of your dreams, your family will certainly thank you for the purchase each time they are relaxing there on the weekends or on holidays.


Nisha Muire

All stories by: Nisha Muire