It’s that time of year again: School is nearly back in session, and some of our friends and their families will be relocating to the cottage to soak up the last month of summer.

At McGarr Realty, our team sees many clients every year who are looking to purchase a second home “somewhere in cottage country.” 

Usually, they are looking at Muskoka, the Kawartha Lakes area and sometimes, locally in communities around Lake Erie – with a view to either vacation there themselves, or rent out to family and friends as a type of investment.

“Cottage” can mean many things to many people: It can be a simple home with a porch and a fireplace or wood stove. It’s not insulated, but it has electricity or propane, a septic tank and is close to water. It’s rustic.

Some cottages don’t quite fit that description; they are larger, filled with conveniences and could be transplanted to any city street and used as a home in all four seasons. These are what you might call “luxury” cottages.

Some areas with cottage real estate in Ontario feature large cottage resorts with luxury cabins both large and small available to purchase as condominium units. For those not interested in the outdoor maintenance work that comes with owning a cottage, this is perfect.

Something to remember, though, is that condominium fees will be due each month, which cover resort outdoor maintenance and upkeep to public areas, like swimming pools, tennis courts, community halls and picnic areas.

For families looking into Ontario cottage real estate in the near future, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Know what your budget will be before you begin looking. To be safe, add half again: This will take into account property tax, insurance and immediate maintenance costs.
  • Have a wish list ready: Do you want waterfront, or just be able to walk a canoe to the water nearby? Winterized, or not winterized? Do you want municipal services, or are you OK with septic system and a well? It’s important to determine before you begin looking the features you cannot live without. While you may find something you love that doesn’t fit your wish list, you will need to know whether updating the property will meet your financial reality.
  • If you have a specific area in mind – say, Muskoka – familiarize yourself with township bylaws so you’ll be aware of things you can, and can’t do to your property. For example, some Ontario lakes are in areas where motorized watersports are not permitted. If it’s your dream to own a JetSki, find out beforehand whether this will be possible.

The team of experts at McGarr Realty has helped many a Niagara family purchase a vacation home in another part of the province. We’ll work with you to meet as many of your wish list desires as is possible.

But just in case we can’t find you the cottage of your dreams, we also offer another option: Finding the perfect piece of property where you can build your dream vacation home.

Ontario is filled with lakes and rivers where sun-filled summer days can be enjoyed on the water, beside the dock or sitting on the porch, watching the waves lap at the shoreline. Not all of our northern and near-northern areas feature million-dollar properties – although there are quite a few of those, too!

A quick look at for the area around Huntsville, ON shows cottages and homes available to purchase from $23,000 (a condominium resort listing) up to $6M or more. Truly, there is something for everyone here!

If you are ready to begin searching for your family’s cottage country vacation home or property, our McGarr Realty team is ready to assist.

Give our office a call at 905-468-9229 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, or 905-687-9229 in St. Catharines. Send us a message HERE.

We can’t wait to explore Ontario’s cottage real estate with you!

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