Searching for the perfect piece of land for your new getaway? Check out these tips to help you on the hunt through cottage country.
If you’re planning to build a Marshall Homes cottage in the Kawarthas, selecting the right cottage property is a vital step in ensuring the successful outcome of your project. For most, the dream of owning a cottage is as much about your surroundings as the cottage itself. A spot that makes you feel inspired, relaxed and at home is ideal.
But, the land you choose for your custom cottage must also meet a number of practicalities, such as location and site elements. Striking the right balance between convenience, beauty and cost, isn’t a simple task, but you can help narrow the field by keeping a few simple criteria in mind.
Read on for our best suggestions for finding a piece of land that you’ll love (nearly) as much as your new, Marshall Homes cottage and get our list of preferred Kawartha realtors to help jump start your search.
Imagine your ideal escape and create your checklist
Before beginning (or continuing) your hunt for a property, take time to build a springboard of search criteria.
Location, location, location
That’s real estate’s number one rule, right? So let’s start here.
One of the reasons we’re so bullish about the Kawarthas is access. While none of us is spared the snarl of traffic, the Kawarthas offers more routes and less traffic to beloved cottage towns and lakes than heading up on Hwy 400 to Muskoka.
And in the next couple of years, we’ll be zipping all the way to Hwy 115 on the newly extended 407 (a four lane highway) in no time. And guess what? That’s going to make your cottage property a whole lot more desirable in the coming years.
So where in the Kawarthas should you focus on?
When selecting the right spot for your future Marshall Homes cottage in the Kawarthas, it’s essential to balance your dream of a remote getaway with the practicalities of everyday life.
You’ll want to think of favourite cottage villages and towns that offer the kind of amenities and fun you envision. Also consider how far you want to drive. Weigh the pros and cons of a more remote property with any time restrictions you may have. Remote may work if you plan to spend weeks at a time at the cottage. Something closer may be more practical if you’ll be a weekend warrior.
Do you want to be right in your favourite cottage town? Or out-of-town?
You’ll want to consider access to public utilities, as well as drive-time to shopping and emergency facilities, such as hospitals and fire stations.
Likewise, factor in how much privacy you crave. Do you want a property with acreage or would you prefer a close, community feel? Determine your preference, then evaluate each site accordingly.
Look to your interests. Take a moment to envision your ideal cottage vacation. Do you spend your time boating, swimming, hunting or hiking? Consider how conducive each site is to your desired activities. If you prefer boating, a property with a dock or access to a local marina may fit the bill. If you love swimming or have children, a beachy spot along the shore might be a better fit. If a watery locale isn’t imperative, an off-water site can result in significant savings.
What kind of landscape do you envision?
To help narrow down a location in the Kawarthas, decide on the physical landscape you want to be surrounded by during your cottage escapes. Do you want an agricultural feel, forested, or is it the wild, rocky terrain of the Canadian Shield that you crave?
After you’ve settled on a landscape, create a checklist of site essentials. Is water access a must? Do killer views top your wish list? Are you looking for a sloped property to accommodate a walkout basement?
And, lastly, to keep each property’s pros and cons clear in your mind, take physical notes on the plusses and minuses while walking the property. After your visit, compare the notes against your checklist.
Here’s where a good Realtor can help
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When you’re narrowing down the perfect property, a good local Realtor can be your best ally.
They may be able to show you properties with old cottages ready for tear-down.
They’ll know about properties going on the market … before they’re on the market. And they’ll be able to answer questions about technical practicalities such as …
While undeveloped land has a raw beauty that may make it appealing, it may also come with its own set of extenuating factors. A remote location can be a challenge during construction, making it tough (and costly) to deliver materials. It can also make accessing your cottage problematic in the winter months. If you plan on using the property during the winter, find out if the roads are maintained year-round.
Asking your Realtor the following questions will help you avoid having to dole out some serious cash for unexpected bills:
- Is access to public utilities readily available?
- Where will your water come from? If it’s a well, is it reliable and potable (drinkable)?
- Are there any easements or right-of-way considerations that could limit the amount of property you can build on or keep you from accessing it at certain times of the year?
- What is the topography of the land where you hope to place the cottage? Look carefully into whether you’ll need to take any erosion-control measures. Or, if your site is particularly rocky factor in the cost of excavating and preparing the ground for the foundation.
Bonus round: Here’s where we come in
Once you’ve purchased your property, our team will come in and assess your property including everything from zoning to septic tanks (if needed) and building permits. Need local approval? We’ll handle that as part of our custom package and fixed price commitment. It’s all part of our pledge to make custom easier for you.
So go with your gut. After considering the pros and cons of each site (refer to your notes, as mentioned in Tip #1), go beyond your checklist and reflect on the distinct character of each property. Like every person, each piece of land has a unique look and feel. Close your eyes and revisit each property in your mind. Which one stands out—makes you feel at ease and at home? Ultimately, building on a property that speaks to your heart, not just checks the spaces on your criteria list, will help make your Marshall custom cottage an even more perfect place to get away.