Dreaming of Cottage Ownership? There Are A Few Things to Consider When Buying A Cottage in Ontario.  From Muskoka, to The Kawartha’s, Georgian Bay, Grand Bend or the shores of Lake Erie, there is something truly special about spending time at the cottage with family and friends creating memories to last a lifetime.

If you’re getting closer to taking the leap into a recreational property, and a cottage has been on your bucket list, you will want to take into consideration a few things before making the financial leap. With sound cottage-buying tips, and the best possible professional advice, you should be able to make your plans of cottage ownership a reality.

Adam Stewart Guelph Real Estate Agent Chestnut Park Cottages

Like any decision, first do your research. There are a lot of cottage regions to choose from, property types, and of course many lakes, or river systems to choose from.  Buying the perfect cottage takes time and patience; so take your time online, and with a local agent that knows how to deal with cottage acquisitions, and has familiarity with local values, and an understanding of the specific lake you might be considering – after all, you will want to know the best fishing hole.

Cottages often fall into one of two categories. The first being  a year-round cottage that can be used all four seasons and have features similar to residential homes such as running water and heating systems. The second category are cottages characterized as minimal and are often not winterized.

Ask yourself, or your real estate agent, a few of these questions:

  • Can the property be used all year-round or only seasonal?
  • Is the road to your cottage public and maintained year-round?
  • Does the cottage pump water from a lake or well?
  • Does the sewage system work and is it far enough away from trees to protect it from being blocked by roots
  • Will you be able to renovate or build any additions to the cottage
  • Will you be able to expand on your waterfront? Such as build a boathouse?
  • Is this a good investment? Will the property appreciate?

Over a couple months, keep an eye on the real estate activity surrounding the area you are looking to buy. Popular cottage destinations can lead to overheated markets, so be sure to consider all your options. Also consider the idea of reaching out to a real estate agent in the area or speaking to cottage owners in your area of interest. It is often worth having an expert, and neighbourly help guide you to make the right purchasing decision.

Also, don’t forget to consider your operational costs, such as property tax, insurance and maintenance costs, and the added toys you will need at the cottage, all of which can add up quickly.

Adam Stewart Guelph Real Estate Agent Chestnut Park Cottages

Another thing to look at when determining your finances include your willingness to rent out your property? Consider how often you will use your cottage. If you plan on only using it for weekends, there is always the option of renting it out during the period of time when it would otherwise be vacant. If you don’t want to sacrifice on privacy by renting your cottage, in the search for your dream cottage keep in mind the size of the lake will dictate a larger price tag, it may be worth taking a look off the bigger lakes, off a lake all together, or up-and-coming cottaging destinations.


Adam Stewart is a Real Estate Sales Representative with Chestnut Park Realty Southwestern Ontario Ltd. Brokerage serving Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Wellington County and Southwestern Ontario markets. Adam can be reached at 519-265-2602, online at www.adamstewart.ca, or by email at adam.stewart@chestnutparkwest.com.


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