So you want to buy a cottage? Now what?

                             The first thing you need to do is call a Realtor. Not just any Realtor, but one that specializes in recreational and cottage properties; me, Jeff Park.

I began my career with the Realty and Resource Conservation departments for the Trent-Severn Waterway, Parks Canada; gaining experience in environmental assessments, landowner permitting, and public education. My previous working relationships with local Conservation Authorities and Federal and Provincial Government Agencies helps me guide my clients through often complex permitting processes for shoreline alterations and property developments. I’ve spent many hours out in the boat on local lakes, surveying habitats, searching for rare species of flora and fauna and fishing with my family and friends. I’ve travelled the backroads by vehicle in search of the next property I was to survey and attended countless private property site visits for shoreline permitting approval/denial purposes.

The experience I’ve gained throughout my career is something I openly share with my clients, ensuring the property they purchase is the right fit for them and their lifestyle.

Now that you have the right Realtor for the job, your next action should be planning a visit the area you’re considering buying in. Rent a cottage on the lake for a week. Use this time to get the lay of the land and the lake. Put on that lifejacket, fire up the boat and get out on the water. Feel that summer breeze in your hair? It’s nice isn’t it? Well keep your shirt on, having fun and making memories will have to wait a bit; it’s time to get to work. Look around and take note of boating traffic. How busy is it? how often do boats roar past your potential waterfront? This is important! Will this noise impact your enjoyment? Maybe not, but will it impact the time you’ll be spending working and not relaxing? Yes, yes it will. That wave action will likely bring a lot of aquatic weeds up onto your shoreline, weeds that you’ll want to rake up, unless the smell of rotting vegetation was part of your dream.

Lake lifestyle aside, here are some other items that you should be considering:

Do you want a year-round or seasonal cottage? Is it winterized? This can add to the overall cost. Is there winter access? Who maintains the road and are there any fees associated with this service?

Outhouse or plumbed in toilets? Plumbed in toilets = a septic system. How old is it, has it been maintained, is it leaking? Septic systems that are in good working condition help reduce the risk to drinking water sources, both to your water supply and your neighbour’s.

Commuting costs to and from the cottage: Consider the cost of gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, stops at Tim Hortons and McDonalds can add up too.

Proximity to local fire hall, groceries, banks, LCBO or Beer Store etc. should all be considered. Your definition of just poppin’ out to get that loaf of bread or a dozen eggs could take on a whole new meaning when you’re at the cottage.

An open, honest, no-sugar coated relationship with your Realtor will ensure that your vision of what the family cottage is to be, will and actually can be. If you’re looking to buy or sell a cottage, it is of the upmost importance that you work with a local Realtor who specializes in rural and cottage properties. They can confidently guide you through the buying process, leaving no stone unturned and no question unanswered.

Jeff Park