Having your very own cottage or chalet so that you and your family can enjoy recreational time together is a goal of many people! However, purchasing a recreational property isn’t cheap. Cottages and ski chalets can sell anywhere between $200,000 to over 1 or $2 million depending on the area you want. You also pay property taxes on top of your insurance and the maintenance costs, so it’s imperative that you’ve got the finances sorted before you start looking. If you’re in the market, check out these top 7 things to consider before taking the plunge:
1. Don’t go it alone
When considering buying a recreational property, use a Realtor® who has the experience and know-how working with such properties. They are trained to help find the right one for you, and will know the specific by-laws and questions to ask.
Many cottages and chalets sit empty for long periods of time, which can result in higher costs for insurance. Why? Because there isn’t anyone there to provide upkeep or make repairs should something happen (like a burst pipe). Also, if you’re thinking about using it as a rental, you most definitely need to top up your insurance.
The appeal of a cottage or chalet is getting away from the hustle and bustle and enjoying some peace and quiet and family fun. However, if the property is too remote, or there are restrictions on access and services due to it being zoned “seasonal” this can cause problems. To save yourself some heartache down the road, learn about year-round road or boat access (municipal or private).
4. Love thy neighbour
Make sure you verify the property’s actual boundaries. Over the years, fences, shrubs, trees (or neighbour’s boats) can blur the lines between what land you own in reality. Make sure to get a recent survey of the property to find out. You’ll also want to know of any “right-of-way” or easement agreements between your property and your neighbour; you don’t want any surprises after you move in.
5. Water water everywhere
If you’ve decided you want a cottage on lakefront or beachfront, it’s important to note you might not have title to, or have exclusive use of the your so-called “private beach”. Don’t rely on what the seller tells you, find out for sure by having your Realtor® speak with the zoning department for that area. This step will also help you identify any restrictions for building a bigger dock or a boathouse on the waterfront.
It’s a wise strategy to get a home inspection on any property – including a recreational property, particularly to check on the septic system, previous water damage, pests, drinking water, and power/electrical. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with a cottage, so be sure to check it out thoroughly. Your Realtor® can help you with knowing exactly what to look for, and to guide you on what, if any, repairs are needed.
7. Hot & cold temperatures
Canadian winters are tough on northern cottages. If you want to use your cottage during the winter, find out first if it’s properly winterized. If it’s not, you will have to consider paying for upgrades on the plumbing, heating, electrical, insulation and windows. Alternately, if you have a ski chalet you want to use in the summer as well, make sure it’s comfortable during hot, humid weather.
Having an experienced Realtor® is an important first step to finding the right property for your needs. Here are Clairwood Real Estate, we are here to help you with the entire process, whether you are buying a home, condo, or recreational property. If you are thinking of buying a vacation property, or if your selling in the Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, The Blue Mountains, Grey County or the Meaford area, we here at Clairwood would be pleased to help you! Our experienced Clairwood Realtors® are knowledgeable and just a phone call away at 705-445-7085. Call us anytime and let us help you get that “R & R” you deserve!