Do You Want to Buy a Cottage?

June 2, 2016 | Christina

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Sunset Dock

(Photo Credit:  Muskokagirl)

Most people view vacation homes as places of relaxation from urban life, especially during hot, humid summers.  They are places where family members and friends get together and spend quality time with each other. If you are planning on purchasing a vacation home, a News Canada article, Cottage Ownership: Know What You're Buying, outlines factors to consider before making a purchase.  

Here are a few questions to ask:  

Limited Road Access

  • Can the cottage be reached only by crossing a neighbour's property?
  • Are there easements registered on title that allow neighbouring residents or members of the general public to travel across the land?
  • Is access to the cottage via a municipal road seasonal only?
  • Does the municipality provide garbage collection, snow removal or emergency services in the winter?


Shoreline Rules

  • For a vacation home located on the water, is there a shoreline road allowance along the water's edge that is owned by the local municipality?
  • Has the municipality transferred the rights to this allowance to the individual property owners or are members of the public entitled to walk, or in some cases, drive along it?
  • Are there any rules about construction at the edge of, or extending into, the water?
  • Are there any rules that can prevent you from building a dock or boathouse?
  • Have existing structures, such as docks or boathouses, been "grandfathered" while new ones are prohibited?


It is advised that you consult a real estate lawyer before you buy a vacation property in order to protect yourself from "unexpected problems". For instance, a lawyer can determine whether a vacation home is subject to easements, and can tell you whether the access road is public or private. Moreover, a lawyer can conduct searches to determine whether there is an allowance and who owns it. In summary, a real estate lawyer who is familiar with rural properties can help you "know what you're buying".

For additional information regarding cottage ownership or recreational properties, check out the following titles at Toronto Public Library:

Complete Guide to Buying and Owning a Recreational Property in Canada The Cottage Rules Cottage Ownership Guide
Complete Guide to
Buying and Owning
Recreational Property
in Canada
The Cottage Rules Cottage Ownership Guide

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