12 Important Items to Consider Before Buying a Cottage

Are you dreaming of owning a cottage get-away?

Here are 12, make or break, questions that you may not have thought about that will help you to find your perfect 'little piece of heaven'...
  1. Do I need a year round road?- If you are planning to have a 4-season cottage, this is an important question; is the road municipally maintained?  If not, you may only have access via snow mobile in winter or may have extra costs involved with a plowing contract. If you have children and pets, you may want to consider they safety aspect that a quiet country road offers.  On the other hand, if you are going to be running a business and need visibility and easy access a municipal road may be the answer.
  2. Do I need road access?- Land locked or Island cottages may be a less expensive option for those who love total privacy and can get to their cottage via boat or snow mobile!
  3. Do I want waterfront?- Whether on a lake or river, is a waterfront property a priority?  Waterfront properties are more expensive, but also give you easy access to swimming, boating, snow-mobiling, fishing and just enjoying the dock!
  4. How far is it from home?- You will want to think about travel time, especially if you are planning to use your cottage on a regular basis-too much time in the car means less time to enjoy your retreat.
  5. Do I want to be off-the-grid or wired?- The market is much wider for those who don't mind roughing-it! Costs are lower in off-the-grid properties, but consider the extra manpower it takes to keep up the place.  Consider later years.  Do you plan to retire there?  Can you manage it as you get older?  Will you ever be using it as a work/home location?
  6. Do I need internet?- Do you need to be able to stay in touch?  Ask your realtor about internet connectivity.  Many cottage properties are out of range of good internet and telephone services.
  7. Do I need space for a boat? (now or in future)- If you have a boat you will need a dock or boathouse or room for a either. Make sure the lake allows for boathouses if this is your wish as many lakes prohibit disturbing the shoreline in any way.  Aluminium docks are light and easy to move and store in winter.  Is there space for you to install and to store docks?  ***You should also ask about a public boat launch (if needed).
  8. Does the Lake allow motorboats?- If you intend to spend summers jet skiing and motor boating, make sure that there are no restrictions on these types of vehicles on the lake.
  9. Do I want a beach?- Kiddo's love to play in the sand!  Consider if you prefer a sandy beach or a rocky shoreline.  Is there a public beach on the lake?, this might give you the best of both worlds.
  10.  What about potable water?- Do you need a filtered drinking water system in your cottage or are you happy to use a dispenser and bottled water?  Will you pump your water directly from the lake or use a well?  These are important questions to have answered before you purchase.
  11. Do I need out-buildings?- Consider if you need a garage, storage shed, bunkie or wood cribs.  If these aren't already there, do you have space on the property to add them later?  If so, this will add to your cottage investment!
  12. Do I want a large lake system or small landlocked setting?- If you are an avid boater and plan to travel around, a system of joined lakes may be best for you. In this case, you must also be aware that water levels are usually subject to change on these systems.  Landlocked lakes do not allow for travel, but are usually much quieter and not subject to regulated water levels.


Answering these questions will allow you to hone in on properties that meet your wish list.  Share this information with your realtor so that they can help you search for your perfect get-away and avoid wasting time on unsuitable locations.


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