The main reason people buy a recreational property is to have a home away from home. Cottages do require a lot of maintenance and upkeep so you must be committed to your decision and treat your property as a second home. In this article we break down ways to get around the high price tag that is associated with owning a cottage.
The location of where you buy your cottage could significantly increase or reduce costs. Some things to consider when you are looking to reduce costs are purchasing a cottage on a river, small lake or backlot. Prices are much lower when you are looking on a smaller body of water. In most Ontario cottage communities, the hot market is on larger lakes but, if you do your research about your desired area you will find that there are many hidden gems on smaller lakes in the same area. Researching up-and-coming cottage areas could also put you ahead of the crowd. Cottages will often be cheaper in these areas and when the area develops in a few years into a desired destination, your property will go up in value. Refer to this article for a list of cheap cottage communities only a few hours away from Toronto.
Evaluate the renovations required
If you are buying a fixer-upper, it is important to evaluate if putting in the time and resources to renovate is more cost efficient than knocking it down and rebuilding. If you love the existing cottage and the renovations are limited such as a kitchen or bedroom revamp, it is worth renovating. If you are renovating 80% of the cottage, knocking it down could be more cost efficient. There are disposal costs that come with knocking down the building entirely which is something you will also have to factor into your decision. Each community has a set of renovation and building guidelines that you must look into before beginning your renovation process. In saying that, buying a cottage that is fully renovated is your best option. It saves you the headache and you will not be surprised with hidden costs.
Renting your cottage
Buying a four-season cottage will set you back financially initially but there are ways to make your money back. If you are willing to make the investment to buy a desirable cottage near a large body of water, or near some beautiful beaches, it will generate more popularity amongst renters. If you are willing to put in the extra time, and take on the role of a landlord, you could see a generous return on your investment. If you are buying a second property it is assumed that equity has already been gained on your first mortgage, so renting is viable if you are already financially stable. You could rent out your cottage during the winter months but location, desirability and a dedicated property manager should be considered.
Share with a family member
There is no doubt that sharing a mortgage with a family member is a viable option as your costs will be cut in half, but this requires a lot of teamwork when it comes to planning. It is extremely important that the person you are planning on joining forces with is as committed as you are. You must consider all of the factors that come into play such as how the monthly bills will be split with all things considered. You must also make sure that they are willing to cover unexpected costs and are in close enough proximity to deal with matters that can only be handled in person. Another thing to consider is planning ALL possible scenarios such as remarriage, death and work-related relocation. Buying a cottage is a huge decision and all responsibilities are doubled so before you commit, make sure all issues are explored.
Most buyers tend to look for cottages in the spring because summer is approaching. The best time to buy a cottage is in the fall or winter months because sellers are likely to unload their property after the summer and the market will likely be softer. The prices will drop because the owner will consider if holding onto the property during the winter is costing them more than listing at a lower price point. During the fall season, the shoreline also drops so you will be able to evaluate the level of privacy that the cottage offers.
Owning a cottage is extremely desirable and can be very beneficial if you are certain that it is what you want. Do your research and draw up a realistic budget. Some of the major costs to consider are insurance, property tax, utilities, maintenance, and entertainment. Talking to a real estate agent is beneficial because we can help with hidden costs to help you crunch numbers. Book a call with us today.