The idea of purchasing a cottage during the winter months is enough to make some people (even experts) feel a little uneasy. In terms of price, you’ll likely find the best deals in the winter, but there is a lot more to it than that!
It’s not uncommon for sellers to raise prices into the unrealistic zone when spring and summer come along, but you may end up missing some very important details if you jump at the lower price and buy in winter. Does that mean you shouldn’t buy a cottage in the winter? No, but you should definitely consider the following points before you do.
An Agent Who Knows…
As someone who makes a living pairing people with the right North Muskoka properties, I can tell you that if you want to go through the process in the winter, having an expert by your side is crucial. The winters in Huntsville, Baysville, Dwight and Dorset are just like a postcard, but it’s also easy to get distracted by all that snow.
And if you happen to miss something, it could come back to bite you when the snow melts and the warmer weather arrives. That sweet deal you were able to get won’t seem very sweet if you have a bunch of water damage later on. An agent who knows the area, the prices and the pitfalls is invaluable in a winter cottage purchase.
Spring or Summer Photos
If you can get spring or summer photos from the seller, you’ll be able to get an idea of how much shoreline you have and the potential for water damage or other issues. The snow covers just about everything, so a few pictures from the most recent spring and summer will mean a lot.
What Are Your Intentions?
If you are planning on heading up to your North Muskoka cottage in all seasons, you will need to ensure it is properly winterized before making the purchase. This means everything that requires insulation has insulation, and you have a heat source that’s appropriate for the winter months. If you only want to use it for summer getaways, these features are less important, but still something to consider.
Speaking to the neighbours is another thing you can do to get valuable information when considering a winter purchase. Not all your neighbours will be accessible in the winter months, but those who are may be able to offer you some tidbits you won’t get anywhere else.
Some of the considerations that will be part of your decision include road access, whether the cottage is isolated are in the community, telephone access, if it’s on or off the grid, the driving distance from home and the size of the lake it is on, if any.
There’s no reason your winter cottage purchase can’t be a successful one, just make sure you know what you’re getting before you move forward.