So You've Decided to Buy a Cottage... What Should You Do Next?
Congratulations!!! You've decided that it's time to purchase that cottage you've always wanted. Now what do you do? The first question to ask, obviously, is where to start looking?
There are a few great questions to ask yourself, and anyone else that will be enjoying the cottage with you:
*What will we primarily be using the cottage for?
*Will we be going every weekend and therefore need to consider traffic/drive times?
*What is important about being on/near the water?
When you start answering these questions, it becomes easier to narrow down your search. The more focused you are, the quicker you're able to start enjoying summers on the water!
I've come up with a questionnaire that will help give you some direction with where to start your search...
1. How far do I want to drive to the cottage?
2. How far do I want to drive to amenities from the cottage? ie. grocery stores, restaurants, etc.
3. Do I want to use the cottage year-round?
4. How many people will be enjoying the cottage, and therefore how many bedrooms and bathrooms are: needed ________ wanted__________
5. What is important about being near/on the water?
6. If I'm on the water, do I want a shallow entry or is a break wall or entry off the dock ok? Sandy or rocky?
7. Does the size of the lake matter and where I can boat to on it?
8. Do I need to have internet and/or good cell service?
9. How far from a hospital do I want to be? If this will be something to be enjoyed in retirement, it is always a good thing to consider.
10. Do I want to rent the cottage out perhaps to help cover some of the costs? If so, is the area(s) I'm considering, allowing rentals? And is it a highly desirable location for seasonal rentals?
After answering these questions, you'll start to have a better idea of where to focus your search efforts. The next step, of course, is to find an agent that is knowledgeable about the area(s) you are looking in, with waterfront and properties located close to it. There are many things to consider that you would not when purchasing a property in the city. A lot of cottages are on a septic system, and either wells or lake water. Educating yourself on these prior to purchasing is highly advantageous. Aligning yourself with professionals who can help with this, is a great way to ensure you and your investment are protected.
Another thing to consider before beginning your search is the costs associated with your cottage purchase. Will you have yard maintenance when you aren't at the property? Or close it for the winter? If so, will you pay someone to and open it in the spring? All maintenance costs should be calculated when determining your budget, as there will be some that you may not have thought of or have at your primary residence.
Now that you've determined your budget, and have answered some important questions, you can start your search with confidence. Cottages and waterfront properties are very special, and typically aren't as plentiful on the market as the average home. So, really knowing what your wants and needs are ahead of time is important. It will ensure that you are already in your target area when your new cottage hits the market!!
Written by: Tracy Kambeitz (firstname.lastname@example.org)