The Cottage Property – Finding Your Vacation Home

So now you’ve driven a few hours and you’ve found one of the properties that interest’s you. Great, maybe this could be your new vacation home.

If it is a vacant lot you are probably not with the real estate agent. Look at the lot, is it level or sloped? Depending on how you plan to use the lot a severely sloped property can present problems. Are you planning on playing volleyball, badminton, bocce ball, or horseshoes? Some sloped lots don’t allow for this type of recreational space.

Ask yourself:

  • Where will the cottage sit?
  • Where would I put the driveway?
  • Where do I want the fire pit?
  • Where will the dock go?

If you can visualize how all of the potential uses of the lot will work then you will be in good shape. If you can’t see this lot working out it probably means this lot is not the one for you or that it is going to take a lot of money to landscape the lot to meet your needs.

Additional things to do/ask:

  • Does the shoreline appear good for swimming? (If that is a concern for you)
  • How close are your neighbours? Are they too close for comfort or just right?
  • How easy was it to drive to the lot? What will it be like during traffic?
  • Is there hydro and telephone on the lot? Will it be difficult to get those services?

Another good idea is to talk to the locals in the area. Whether they are the neighbours or just the guy at the gas station, they will be able to answer most of your questions. My wife and I found a vacant lot that we were very excited about until we talked to the neighbours. They laughed at us when we asked if the lake was good to swim in. They said “oh no. Nobody swims in this lake it is just too dirty/muddy.” If we hadn’t spoken to these people we might have bought this property only to be seriously disappointed.

If you are at a property that already has a cottage on it things become much simpler since the agent will be with you to let you in the building. You can treat this the same way as buying a house.

Things to ask:

  • Why is the cottage being sold?
  • What is the condition of the septic/holding tank?
  • What is the condition roof?
  • What is the condition of the foundation?
  • What is included in the sale of the cottage? (appliances, furniture, boats)

So let’s assume that you’ve looked at the lot or cottage, you like it, you’ve talked to the neighbours and everything seems good. What now?

In an upcoming article, I’ll talk about putting an offer a property.

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