While at one time buyers could find a “great deal” in the off-season, current trends in the market show no sign of a slowdown on cottage real estate over the winter months. As the demand for cottages has increased, what was once a relatively low cost alternative for a family getaway has now become a significant financial investment.
Warm-weather months may still be the best time to search for a cottage property, in terms of being able to see and analyze the waterfront features and traffic on a lake, but waiting until the snow flies may allow a buyer the advantage of time to fully consider the property with fewer competing buyers. Sellers may not be looking forward to the costs of carrying the cottage over the winter, so an offer now could have a great deal of appeal.
If you’re considering a year-round cottage, winter is an ideal time to view a property. It will give you a realistic idea of how accessible the roads are and how long it will take to get to the cottage in less-than-ideal road conditions. It also allows you see the heating system in action. Wood stoves and fireplace inserts are the standard heat source for most cottage properties, but they demand constant attention and may require a back-up in the form of either electric baseboard heaters or a furnace (usually propane). If there’s no back-up heating system in place you may want to allow for the expense of installing one as part of your overall budget.
Working with a local realtor who is familiar with the area is crucial when the shoreline is covered in snow and ice. Too many buyers have purchased cottage property in the winter, using their city agents, only to find out in spring that their beautiful cottage was sitting on swamp land.
Is it time to get into the cottage market? Ask us how you can use the winter season to your buying advantage.