As of 2021, COVID has changed just about everything. First, it transformed the Ottawa residential real estate market, and it’s doing the same thing with cottage purchases in Ontario. So it’s essential to do your homework before you buy or sell a cottage. This interview with Paul Rushforth will answer your real estate questions and tell you what you need to know.
What Is The Cottage Buying & Selling Situation In Ottawa?
Prices for cottages have absolutely skyrocketed. For example, in Constance Bay, you have waterside cottages that are pretty much teardowns selling for $500,000 to $600,000. Average cottages on the water are going in the seven and eight hundred thousands. The nicest ones are well over a million.
Cottage sellers are faced with bidding wars these days. We even see bidding wars on rentals. That’s how crazy the market’s gone.
What About Rental Cottages Near Ottawa?
As an owner, what you can get for a week in a cottage is nuts. Many Canadians are nervous; even if things start to open up, they’re just not interested in getting on a plane and going to a different country. So they’ll rent a summer cottage instead.
If you buy a 4-season property or winterize your cottage, you’ll expand your potential market. The Ottawa River area is a fun place to be in winter, with sledding, trails, ice-fishing, and four-wheeling.
How Has COVID-19 Affected Buying & Selling Cottages?
We have so many buyers that are working from home these days. As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, more people are moving to the outskirts because they can do it now — they don’t need to commute.
Well, cottages are even more popular because of that. Why live in town if you don’t have to, if you can live on the water? That’s why we’re seeing such high demand for our cottage listings right now.
What Should Buyers Look For In A Cottage Property?
Outdoor surroundings. For a vacation home, the water, the land, the beach, and the view are most important, more so than the cottage itself. You will spend most of your time doing outdoor activities, not inside the cottage. Don’t forget to check the exposure, especially if you’re counting on enjoying sunsets over the water (you’ll need a western exposure for that).
Waterfront. Find out whether you’ll have your own “to the water” (meaning you’ll have a private beach) or not. Also, see whether people are swimming. You want to know if the water is very weedy, which will affect your enjoyment. This is not obvious in fall and winter, so a qualified agent’s help is important. Finally, how deep is the water? Shallow water is good for families with small children, but you might prefer deeper water for serious swimming or fishing.
Number of bedrooms. This is important when you’re buying a cottage as an investment. The more bedrooms, usually the more you can charge for rentals.
Distance and access from downtown Ottawa. Prices tend to decrease as you go farther from downtown. If you have to commute to work every day, though, the driving distance and road condition can be a big deal. Not so much if you’re working from home.
Zoning. When you think of adding on or changing anything, you want to look at the cottage’s zoning issues.
How Do Home Inspections Work With Cottages?
A home inspection for a cottage is similar to a home inspection for a house. The main difference is that most — if not all –cottages are on a well and septic system. So the inspector has to make sure that those are good and the water is drinkable.
Why Do You Need A Real Estate Agent?
Buying a cottage tends to be more complicated than buying a residential property. Cottage buyers in Ottawa can’t just look at comparables of how much properties have sold for since each one is so different in terms of specifics like the view or the amount of land. You need an experienced agent; at Paul Rushforth Real Estate, we are familiar with the area, we talk to people in the community, and we know which questions to ask.
To illustrate: we know which areas were affected in the flood of 2019, where the water table is higher.
When you’re selling a cottage today, you need a savvy agent who will guide you in terms of pricing. It’s a lot harder to price a cottage; there are more factors at play. Even rundown shacks are worth something now. The right selling price matters. Trust our real estate team to make sure you don’t underprice and leave money on the table.