10 Tips for Buying a Cottage in Ontario

elitere | Sep. 24, 2021

Buying a cottage is a dream come true for many Ontarians, but it can also be tricky to navigate if you don’t know how to start. A cottage is very different from purchasing a home in the suburbs or city. Before you start hunting for a cottage in Ontario, it’s best to identify and adjust your expectations so that you are only viewing properties that match your vision. Here are ten factors that you need to consider if you want to find a cottage that fits your family’s unique needs.


Location is always important whether you are purchasing a cottage or a home. Do you want to live near a lake in the forest? Or would you prefer to have a cottage in a clearing not too far from town? Where you want your cottage will limit your options from the start. 

Multi-Seasonal Use

Consider whether your ideal cottage is a property that you want to use in the summer months only or year-round. If you are looking for a home that you can use in the winter, make sure the property can be winterized with good insulation and heating, quality doors and windows, and upgraded utilities that won’t freeze. Additionally, it’s important that the property has access to water year-round, and can be accessed by car in the snow.  

Lake Size

For most people, the thrill of a cottage includes an accessible lake. However, lake size will dictate what activities you can do at your cottage. For instance, a smaller lake will be perfect for fishing but not ideal for boating. A large lake will let you do almost any water activity but can get noisy at times because of the presence of motorboats. A medium lake is a mixture of the two but may have limitations for activities like water skiing.

Shoreline Type 

Do you prefer access to a beach or boat ramp? Shoreline matters, so think carefully before jumping into buying a cottage just because of its close proximity to your home.

Internet Access 

Ontario is vast, and not every scenic area has access to the internet. If internet access is important to you, then specify this in your search from the start. On the other hand, if spending the weekends disconnected appeals to you, then the lack of internet access could actually be a selling point.

Access to the Sun 

Regardless of where you purchase your cottage, the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. Consider how you want the sun to fall on your cottage and keep in mind that if you choose a cottage in the dense woods you may not receive much sun at all.


For some people, the thrill of a cottage is that it sits alone near the lake or off in the woods. For others who are naturally social, the idea of a cottage along a shared coastline or in a cluster within the woods is equally thrilling. Consider the level of privacy you desire while shopping around.

Boat or Car Access 

Accessibility plays a large role in the price of the cottage to purchase and maintain. Usually, cottages that are only accessible by boat will cost less, but then you need to factor in the costs of maintaining a boat year-round. Those who plan to travel to their cottage year-round will need to choose car access or invest in snowmobiles once the ice freezes over. 

Shoreline Development

Understanding the shoreline development opportunities and limitations is key if you are buying a cottage near the water. If you plan to build a boathouse or dock, make sure that you own the shoreline as well. 

Best Time to Buy 

In Ontario, fall is an ideal time to buy a new cottage. If you want to secure a good deal and can wait until fall then you should do so.

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