<<< back to article list

Cottage Country Home Inspections

  • +1

Blog by John & Bonnie Fincham, Brokers | April 17th, 2014

Before you buy that cottage...

So you’ve found that Muskoka cottage that seems to fit your families needs perfectly. It's got great waterfront, good privacy and that warm "cottage feel" everyone's looking for when they are searching real estate listings. But beauty needs to be more then skin deep. How's the roof? what about the furnace? The wiring? Leaks in the basement? After your home, a cottage can be one of the biggest investments you makes so it just makes sence to have it inspected before you buy. The home inspector can take the emotion out of the situation and stick to the facts ensuring you really know what you’re getting into. Many cottage inspectors also do septic inspections which can be a key component that is often overlooked by Buyers who are not familiar with them. Another item that's often missed are wood stoves and fireplaces that insurance companies usually want a WETT inspection report for before they will insure your cottage.

A good complete inspection of the cottage will give you the tools you need to make an informed decision on whether or not to puchace it. The inspector will help determine the condition of the cottage you’re considering buying and let you know if there are any potential current issues as well as things to keep in mind down the road.  If there are problems encountered you have several choices.

1. Give the seller a chance to fix the problem.
2. Look for another cottage altogether.
3. Use the results of the inspection to negotiate a better price from the Sellers.
4. Get a quote to fix the issues

How does the Cottage Inspection Work?

It's always good to be there during the inspection so you can ask questions as things come up and the inspector can explain situations first hand. Depending on the size cottage and out buildings it usually takes about 3-4 hours to look at everything. They will generally start outside with the lay of the land looking at the slope and drainage and work their way to everything from the roof to the foundation and everything in between.  They will inspect  heating systems ( many will do WETT inspections for insurance ), air conditioning, appliances, plumbing, electrical, insulation, roof, windows and doors, walls, ceilings, attic and basement.

The inspector then prepares an inspection report that outlines problems (breaking them down into major repairs that need to be done right away and areas that will need attention in the future, with accurate cost estimates for each), highlights good points, and gives you an idea what kind of maintenance you’ll need to do to keep the place in good shape. Make sure you ask for a detailed report that’s written in a narrative style. Never accept a verbal report or one that’s just a checklist.

 As a rule most inspections for cottages in the Muskoka and Parry Sound areas run between $350 and $600 which might be the best money you have ever spent. Real estate agents know the real estate market, not building codes and stucture so don't rely on them for advice when it comes to how solid the cottage is and never believe the listings. That " Well kept solid cottage" may be one good wind away from falling in. That $500 is a pretty small price to pay for significant peace of mind.

Finding a Good Cottage Inspector
When you are looking for the right inspector for your waterfront property make sure they come from a reputable, qualified company that has been in business for a while. They should be able to provide you with references from previous customers, should be fully insured and offer guaranteed inspections. Ask your REALTOR® to provide you with a list of  reputable, objective inspectors that cover the area you're looking in or check them out online. Don't turn your dreams into a nightmare. Do your homework, spend some time and money and hire a good inspector.