Cottage Country Real Estate Buying Made Easy
With the economic slowdown hitting the cabin real estate market, now may be the perfect time to purchase the cottage of your dreams. The cabin country real estate market is now more stable after years of the demand exceeding the supply. Time-share and new condo developments are proposing generous incentives to potential buyers while the prices of resale cottages are falling as seen in the Collingwood real estate market.
Your first action should be to enlist the help of an area professional. The real estate agent you select should have an in depth working knowledge of recreational properties. An agent working in an area surrounded by cottages and lakes does not inevitably have experience selling cottage real estate. Experience selling in the recreational real estate market should be your deciding factor when selecting an area specialist.
One very important aspect to evaluate is zoning.
In some cases, cottage country municipalities may have passed season using zoning preventing you from turning your cabin into a year round retreat. The same is true for additions and additional constructions. Be sure you ask your agent about the zoning by-laws in the community that appeals to you. The cottage associations deal with the daily concerns while the zoning by-laws are passed by the municipalities.
If you are in the market for a waterfront cabin, be aware that you may not be able to modify the beach or shoreline on your future property. In the case of Collingwood cottages, you may be prevented by the authorities from changing the slope of the land or from adding fill. Any structures that affect the shoreline such as boathouses, docks, retaining walls, etc need permission before they can be constructed or modified.
You need to be sure the legality of the existing structures or that changes can be done in the future and this can be achieved with a clause in the purchase agreement.
Before concluding your purchase, you should investigate the road access to and from your property. You should find out if the road access is public or private, whether it is usable year round, and who is responsible for the upkeep of the roadway. In many cases, access may be along a private right of way.
Another factor is the water and sewage systems. Water is obtained from rivers or lakes wells in many cases. It is important to have your water evaluated by the local health authorities to ensure that is safe to absorb. You may find out that the only way to get potable water would be with the installation of a mechanical purifier. Waste disposal is usually provided with a septic system and these are strictly regulated by the Environmental Protection Act. In a lot of older properties, the septic system may be a crude device. If you are hoping to build an addition on the cabin, you may need to change the septic system as it will most likely no longer be adequate.
Financing of the cottage should be your final consideration. Most buyers cannot afford to pay cash for their recreational property and will need financial assistance. You will be required to put down a minimum down payment of 20% although the quantity of financing available will change with each financial institution. You should evaluate your financing options with a local mortgage broker who will be familiar with the financing choices available for recreational properties.