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There’s no place like cottage country. The scenery, privacy and peace and quiet make it an attractive place to spend your golden years. These factors, along with rising prices in urban centres have led a growing number of retired Canadians to consider leaving behind the city for a year-round cottage lifestyle. 

While remote living certainly has its benefits, there are a few things to consider before you make the jump. Keep these items in mind if you’re thinking about buying a cottage for retirement, or moving into the one you already have.  

Property Upgrades and Maintenance

As your full-time residence, you should treat your cottage like you would a regular home. This is particularly when it comes to planning for things like maintenance, property repairs and other unexpected costs. If you already have a cottage and have some expectations about what upgrades it may require in the coming years, it’s a good idea to start saving early. You should also keep in mind that any renovations or repairs that require a professional contractor may take longer and be more expensive compared to the city. 

In addition to the cottage itself, you’ll also be responsible for maintaining the outdoor elements of the property year-round. While this may not seem so bad in the summer months, shovelling snow, clearing ice and other typical winter duties can prove difficult depending on the layout of your property.  You should also consider the physical labour that comes with these tasks as you enter your golden years.  

Want to know more about the costs of buying a new cottage? Check out our home buying calculator here

Ease of Access

One of the biggest challenges that can come with retirement in a remote area is access. Whether you’re stepping out to visit friends and family or hosting guests yourself, distance will be a big factor. A 3 hour drive to and from the cottage isn’t so bad for the occasional weekend trip, but it can prove challenging long term. This is especially true in the winter months. 

That being said, there are many cottages that feature easy access to urban centres. A real estate agent who specializes in vacation properties can help you find a cottage that works best for you. 

Want to learn more about the advantages of working with a real estate agent? Check out these blog posts. 

Nearby Amenities 

If you’re looking to spend all year at your cottage, it’s important to consider what resources will be accessible to you in nearby communities. For instance, if you choose to buy a cottage that’s more remote, you may find it harder to access things like groceries or medical care when you need them. Of course, if you’ve owned a cottage before you’re likely used to stocking up on key supplies during your stay. However, this approach can be less ideal for long-term cottage living. 

The good news is that there are plenty of remote communities with strong amenities to support nearby cottage owners. This is another area where working with an agent who specializes in second properties can be beneficial. As regional experts, they know Ontario cottage communities inside and out and can make recommendations based on your unique needs. 

Seasonal Preparation 

While many retirement Cadians choose to embrace a snowbird lifestyle, it’s not for everyone. If you enjoy the cottage lifestyle, there’s a good chance you appreciate the beauty of all seasons and don’t shy away from the elements. That being said, the fall and winter months in cottage country do require preparation, some of which can take a lot of work. 

First and foremost, you’ll need to ensure your cabin is winterized. While each property is unique, this process generally includes installing all-season insulation, having an adequate heat source such as a furnace, updating septic and utility systems, and sometimes installing new pipes. In 2022, a number of cottage properties on the market are partially or completely winterized. Your real estate agent will ensure you find a cottage that will be safe and comfortable. They can also connect you with local contractors to help you fill in any gaps when it comes to winterization. 

Winterization can also be a great way to boost your cottage’s property value. Learn more about equity-building home improvement projects on our blog