There comes a time in many families’ lives when they consider the merits of purchasing a family cottage or small vacation home. Usually, these thoughts peak after an expensive family vacation or a relaxing trip to a rental cottage.
There’s lots to consider when thinking about taking on a second property, even one that will only be used seasonally. Here are some of the important things to think about when the itch to buy a cottage hits your household.
What You should Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home
Buy or Build?
If you’re going to own a cottage, are you going to buy an existing dwelling or build your own? Many opt to buy something that already exists, with the ultimate goal of fixing it up as time goes by. However, building is quickly becoming the more affordable option. Suppliers like RiverwoodCabins.com offer prefab cabins in the size of your choosing, cutting the costs and stress of renovating or building from scratch.
In many cases, you’ll find a beautiful property that you love that has an old, decrepit building on the lot. When this happens, it’s best to prioritize the property and demolish the old building, replacing it with something new and sturdy.
Can You Afford It?
There’s lots to consider when assessing whether or not you can afford to own a cottage. How much do you typically spend on rentals for family vacations? How much does it cost for a cottage or property in your area? You need to be able to think beyond the upfront costs of the cottage and think about maintenance, upkeep, property taxes, etc.
Lots of people choose to offset the cost of their cottage by listing it on Airbnb. Depending on your location, this could be a viable option for you, especially if you know that there will be periods where the space is not in use.
Seasonality and Usage
Most people only use their cottage during the summer, unless it’s winterized or in a prime hunting location. You’ll need to think critically about how long your usage season will be and the steps you’d need to take to use the space year-round.
Also think critically about how often you’ll use it throughout the year. Does your schedule allow you to get to the cottage every weekend throughout the summer? Do you have a job that you could work remotely from the comfort of your cottage? If you know your options for using the cottage will be limited, you still have the option of listing it as a rental.
Family and Friends
Though timeshares are rarely a good idea for investing, you can take the positives of that approach and apply it to your family cottage. Do you have a relative or close friend with whom you’d be interested in going splits on the space with? Not only will this help cut your costs and maintenance time, but it ensures that the cottage is getting used.
If you go this route, be sure to draft a formal, legal agreement regarding what happens if one family wants to sell their share and how scheduling will be handled. Choose someone you trust completely that you aren’t prone to conflict with.
Return on Investment
Take a close look at the local market and assess the return on investment. You may also wish to consult with a real estate agent regarding this. In most cases, cottages don’t have a high return on investment. However, it’s rare that these properties are purchased with that intention.
The return on investment with a cottage is building memories, finding ways to relax and reconnect apart from the responsibilities of everyday life, and get back to nature. If that sounds like paradise to you, and you can afford to make it happen, it may be time to invest in a family cottage.
Can You Get Insurance
With all the recent natural disasters, one must think twice about the stresses a second home can bare. In some areas insurance companies don’t want to cover a home near a flood prone area or a beach that sees a lot of hurricane action. Do your due diligence before signing on that dotted line.