Buying a cottage tip #2: Location

Once you’ve determined the amount of money you can comfortably spend, you have to decide upon a location that you can afford and will enjoy.  How far are you prepared to drive to your new recreational property? Most areas in Haliburton County can be reached in approximately 2 1/2 hours from Toronto.  A compromise on travel may mean that you can get what you’re looking for at a good price.

Identify property attributes that are important to you and your family.

  • Privacy: You have to decide how much privacy you would like to have at your cottage.  How close do you want your neighbours to be?  Do you want to be on a crowded, busy lake, or a quiet one with only a few cottages?
  • Accessibility:  Cottages that are accessible only by water are generally less expensive, though you have to add in the cost of buying and maintaining a boat, plus marina expenses and the added travel time.  If you want to use your cottage year-round, you’ll want to buy one with road access that is maintained on a year round basis.
  • Lake:  The size of the lake often dictates the kinds of activities that can take place there.  A small lake means there will be less boating and fewer motorized boats.  Medium lakes tend to be fishing lakes.  And a large lake will mean you could do almost any activity.
  • Waterfront:  Find out if the seller owns the waterfront.  In many ways it is to your advantage to buy the shoreline road allowance (the 66-foot strip of land back from the high-water mark), if possible, especially if you want to build anything on that land.  Also, what kind of shoreline do you want to have?  Do you want a sandy beach with a long, shallow walk into the lake, or would you prefer to dive off a dock into deep water?
  • View:  An elevated setting will afford a better view, but may mean stairs down to the water.
  • Roads:  Will the road to your cottage be maintained year-round?  Your mortgage lender and insurer will most likely charge you more if not.