Sharing a Cottage

When I first started looking for a cottage I figured there would be no way I could purchase a cottage on my own. I knew some couples that were interested in cottaging and spoke with them a few times about purchasing different cottages together, but in the end they felt it would be too much of a financial burden at this time in their lives.

If you are considering sharing a cottage with other people here are some things to consider:

Make sure you divvy up the chores evenly so that everyone is doing their fair share of the up keep. Lawns have to be cut, docks have to be installed or repaired and trees have to be cut down. A good relationship will not last long if one owner finds themselves doing all the chores because the other isn’t doing their part.

It’s a good idea to plan out a schedule and share holiday weekends evenly. Setting a schedule ensures everyone knows their entitlement and what to expect. When dealing with close friends and family as part owners it is important to stress respect of the others entitlement before signing the deed. Showing up when it is not your week to have the cottage or asking if you can come up during the other owners time might be okay at first, but can quickly lead to an awkward conversation about privacy and respect which can then lead to a heated argument. Make sure the schedule is laid out and everyone agrees to it.

Sharing Toys
It’s important to discuss with the other owner what they want to use the cottage for. Don’t assume that if you buy a ski boat the other owner will pay half the costs. They might want to just sit by the water rather then be on it. Conversely if you do buy the boat and pay full price the other owner has to respect your property and not take it out just because you are not there.

Repair Costs
As the cottage gets older it is going to need some repairs and that will cost money. You must consider what will happen when it comes time to replace the roof and the other owner says they don’t have the money for that repair. A possible solution is a joint account for maintenance that is contributed to regularly.

Sell/ Don’t Sell
Finally what happens when one owner wants to sell and the other doesn’t? Is the owner that wants to sell stuck until the other owner agrees to sell or is there some sort of an out clause? It’s important to understand how each owner interprets this purchase. Is one looking for a family cottage to pass through generations or is this merely a fun property for a few years and then flip it for a profit.

Make sure you discuss all these issues with your potential co-owner before you agree to purchase a cottage together. If you don’t, your good friends and close family could end up as your worst enemies.

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