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  • Writer's pictureDaven Homes Team

Buying a cottage? 3 things you need to consider

Who doesn't like spending a summer weekend by the lake, or having a cozy white Christmas near a ski slope? While owning a cottage will greatly enrich your lifestyle and may also be a good investment option, cottages come with a lot of responsibilities and their unique set of challenges. Consider these factors thoroughly before putting in an offer.


 

Do you need a 3-season or 4-season cottage?



The most common type of cottage is seasonal which means they are not suitable for winter living. Many lenders will only fund the purchase if it's zoned for year round living and is fully winterised, so figure out in advance if you will be able to finance the purchase.


If you need a 4-season cottage, have a professional inspect the property and make sure:

  • The septic system & water supply system are properly insulated.

  • A heat source is provided. If it's a wood stove, you may want it to be WETT certified too.

Figure out in advance the home insurance part too, as there are not a lot options out there in terms of insurance providers for seasonal homes.

 

Do you want a freehold or a condominium cottage?



If your cottage is part of a resort, you'll get to enjoy all the amenities offered in the compound and also have general maintenance responsibilities taken care of. If you choose to rent out, most resorts will also help you manage bookings via their own rental programs. The downside to this is obviously the maintenance fee which you may have to pay even when the resort is closed for the year. Their rental programs will take a (sometimes significant) cut from your rental income too, so think carefully before investing in condominium cottages.


If you choose to purchase a freehold cottage, you'll have to coordinate all the maintenance on your own but will have a lot of freedom in renovation and upgrading the cottage to your liking (something largely restricted in most condominiums). You can of course manage your own short term rental operation and utilise your own advertising creativity.


 

The cottage difference



Cottage ownership comes with a few unique considerations:

  • Road access: many cottages can only be accessed via private roads and will require you to pay an annual fee to use them (typically a few hundred dollars).

  • Shore road allowance: for waterfront properties, the water edge may or may not be part of the ownership. Property owners do not have to own the shoreline to use it, but their usage will be subject to any future changes imposed by the local government. You can apply to purchase the shoreline.

  • Water supply: most remote properties do not have municipal water but rely on wells or lakes as sources of water which likely will require a water treatment system (filtration, softener, UV light...). You do not have to pay a water bill like in urban areas but those systems (and their pumps) do require regular maintenance.

  • Waste management: the most common form of waste management for remote or rural properties is a septic system, which will require pumping every now and then. You can also install compost toilets which do not need water at all.


If your cottage is on an island, you may need to rely on generators or solar panels for electricity too.


 

If you're looking to buy a cottage, feel free to get in touch with us for a more personalised discussion.

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