Buying A Waterfront Cottage – Our Journey

Our cottage hunt, our journey begins here …

Setting Your Cottage Goal

So we finally decided to take the big leap. I still remember the day when we sold our house, started renting so we can purchase our cottage. Tears flowing non stop for at least 5 mins (maybe less, it just seemed so long) when the day came to lock the house one last time, never to come back. That was our dream house!

Once settled to our new place, the hunt begins for the next dream home. This time a dream cottage! And when you find yourself in that situation, it is very important to set your goals, your expectations head on.

What is your budget? Do you know where you want that cottage to be? Up north? Niagara region? East? Do you want to buy a waterfront cottage or a cottage with acreage?

Make a list and check it twice. You will be surprised on how this process is crucial in your hunt for that perfect cottage.

 Are You Financially Ready?

This for us was the most important question we asked ourselves. More than once the answer was a big, resounding NO! We have to do and re-do the math. Then our mortgage broker has finally given us the go signal to look for a cottage to buy. We are pre-approved! Little do we know that there were different criterias that banks look for when it comes to cottages. If it’s a waterfront, the cottage can detriorate much quicker than a normal city or off the water cottage or home. Our mortgage pre-approved rate that was managable became an uphill battle! The major banks suddenly raised our rate. How could they! They can do whatever they want. And a 20% downpayment is suddenly not enough for them.

Make sure you have a trusted mortgage broker like we do when doing your search for a cottage. Since she only deals with the banks in the city, she still managed to helped us find a credit union bank that can give us a good enough rate to start.

Long story short, unless money is not an object for you, be prepared before you make that decision. For us it was a risk that almost cost us our downpayment on that cottage. It would have been a heartbreak twice over. Loosing 2 dream home will be unbearable for us.

You May Have To Compromise

Okay, so everyhting went smooth financially for you. You have yourself a budget. How much? 200K to 250K.? That was ours. I thought, that is a lot of money for a waterfront cottage. Again, clueless. At that time we were stunned of what you get for that price range. You are right, not quite a dream home!

Our real estate broker, finally has to stop us and convinced us to increase our range if we are to get the cottage we wanted. House hunting does not change, whether it is a cottage or not. Just be a liitle bit open minded and do your own research. We have finally came to our senses that if I want a beach front cottage, I have to pay more. Move in ready cottage and somewhat move-in ready? Yes, you got it, that comes with a price. You get the idea here right.?

How Far Can We Go?

Oh yes, don’t forget the commute every weekend in the summer. And oh yes the traffic goes for miles Friday nights! My husband diligently researched all the routes going in and out of cottage country. So we have decided to buy where we will not be trapped in traffic. You need a way out just in case. And driving for 3 or more hours can be quite a drain for some. Ours is a 2 and a half hour drive on a good day. I cannot imagine those that drive for 4 or more hours. I knew some who do and they don’t seem to mind. So, This is one thing you have to consider for the long term.

The End Result Was Perfect – Somewhat

The long wait is over! We have finally moved in to our perfect, Smart Cottage in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada! The place is perfect for us. A waterfront cottage with a small beach area. Not as big as I wanted it to be. But bigger land, specially a waterfront, comes with a big price. I am good to go! The first few months in, everything seemed like heaven. It was Summer time and we have our own piece of vacation getaway. Free! That’s what my 3 year old nephew has said then. Well, free but not really. 🙂

We enjoyed all the stops we have to do on the way up. The chip truck, deep fried pickles, pineapple and everything deep fried from the chip truck! We have our favourite in such a short time. The ice cream shop stop. So may flavours, so little time! That was fun. We are kids all over again! And then there’s a variety of country bakeshops to choose from. Butter tarts, pies, cakes, bread even grilled chicken!

Bubblegum flavour

Then, summer is over. Reality kicks in. We now have to prepare the cottage for winter. What? we have to do more work? Fall means rain and it means making sure the steep driveway will not erode. And you bet we did not guess it when we bought this cottage. Not a smart cottage if you ask me. And our driveway is one headache that never goes away.

Winter is a different story. Winterizing it is not fun at all. So if you asked me now, was it a smart move. I can honestly say no, it was not. We fell in love with the view in front of us that at that time, nothing else matters. Coming home to this waterfront cottage makes me feel at peace with just about everything.

I hope you continue to follow me as we slowly but surely make this piece of heaven not just lovely to look at but also a dream home that you can call a “smart” cottage!


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February 5, 2018