Ontario Cottage life is idyllic. Period. For virtually everyone the idea is appealing. Warm beaches, rolling surf, glorious sunsets, majestic views, boating, gardening, biking, SUPing, hiking, surfing, romantic dinners, roasting smores over an open fire under the stars and bringing families together in ways very few other activities can. Maybe it is even reading that favorite book or playing that favorite online game while lakeside.   It is also work and possibly an expensive exercise. This is the reality.

If some of these are your in your dreams, here are a few of the elements you should consider in choosing which one is your idyllic cottage to buy.

Location, Location, Location

Rule #1 in real estate is also true when looking for a Ontario cottage purchase. In this case some of the considerations are more aesthetic than in business or residential choices but important nevertheless.

  • Country? Lakefront? Sand or rock beach? Busy or quiet lake?
  • What is the history of the property?
  • Is the natural environment at risk of deteriorating because if erosion or lake levels?
  • Is there any risk of the water rising to impact the buildings?
  • Which area has the best prospects for increases in property value?
  • There is no doubt that some areas have a history of increasing value faster than others.

Muskoka and area have become higher priced and show no sign of getting more affordable. The Lake Huron coast has proven to be accessible, affordable and showing signs of good future property increases.

How Quiet is YOUR solitude?

Do you really want complete isolation? How close do you want neighbors? Are you interested in being involved in the beach community? Many areas like Bruce Beach and Inverhuron hold special events throughout the summer. The choice may be a compromise of activities over solitude depending on your real inclinations?

Conversely, there are many areas where the cottage scene is the party scene. If that is your pleasure, then even within the areas mentioned above there are sections more appropriate for you.

What does Convenience mean for you?

How far a drive do you want to groceries, shopping, gasoline? What if the cottage is only accessible by boat or four wheeler? Are the access roads maintained three or four seasons of the year? How far a drive from your cottage to services is comfortable for you? How close to the cottage can you actually get your vehicle? Those groceries can sometimes get heavy pretty quickly.

What do you want in your immediate environment?

Maybe the view is actually better from a little farther back and higher? But will that climb bother you? Sunrise locations are less costly than sunsets. Which is most important to you. The Lake Huron sunsets along the shoreline from Point Clark to Saugeen Shores was nominated for the CBC’s Seven Wonders of Canada.

lake huron sunset

Is the lake suitable for the type of boating or fishing you like to do? Can you dock your boat? Of course a major consideration is whether the shoreline is sandy, rocky or grassy? Is the lake shallow or deep, solid or muddy? How wooded is the lot and area? How long does it take to walk or drive to get to the beach? Just how big a lot and/or cottage do you prefer to maintain?

What are your entertaining / visitor needs?

If it a family environment you prefer, is the shoreline shallow and safe? Is there a kid’s playground? Does the area have children’s activities and events? How far is it?

Another consideration is that more and more people are buying homes in the lakeside communities like Kincardine or Port Elgin and simply using them as cottages. Usually on municipal services, and close to activities and shopping, this option offers the conveniences of home but you are at the beach!

If it is more single or party environment that has your interest, perhaps one of communities or cottage areas where the lots are closer together makes more sense. Who wants to drive these days after enjoying an evening with friends?

What are the property services?

Is it on a well or municipal water? If on a well, is it shared? When was it last tested? How current is the electrical supply, appliances, heat / cooling supply, roof & windows? How well insulated? Having a professional Home Inspector check things out is always a good plan if you feel you have found the right spot.

What is the Regulatory Environment?

Not all Municipalities are created equally in terms of their approach to development, the environment and/or their approach to how complex it should be for you to make changes to your cottage property. Personally you may come down on either side of any of these considerations in a general philosophical or political way. We suggest you think them through clearly in the specific context of YOUR prospective property and how you might feel about any complications, expense and/or time investment that owning property in that particular Municipality might incur. Your Real Estate Agent, lawyer or Cottage Association should be able to assist with this analysis.

kincardine fireworks

Is Cottage Life Worth it?

Cottage ownership is truly a dream come true for the vast majority of folks. There are those (myself included) that come to find the cottage work some of the most rewarding and relaxing that I get to do. But – do not think there is no work or no new considerations to Cottage Life. It is worth the time and effort of carefully sifting through these considerations (and others) before making the choice that is best for you and yours.

Weigh your options:

  1. Is it waterfront?
  2. Is it isolated?
  3. Do you like neighbors?
  4. Is that sand beach as important as you always thought?

Carefully deciding on personally important cottage buying factors up front will lead to fabulous life memories with friends and family magical moments that we all treasure that make life so worthwhile..

  1. Kincardine Real Estate Listings
  2. Port Elgin Real Estate Listings
  3. Point Clark Real Estate Listings
  4. Inverhuron Real Estate Listings


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