Thursday May 21st, 2020


Every year at this time, as the days get warmer and longer and outdoor life starts to beckon, many Ottawa-area families start thinking about finally buying that dream cottage as their personal retreat from the city.

Often those buyers are couples with young children, who look forward to relaxed days of swimming, boating and hiking, simply enjoying the beauty of nature and creating treasured family memories.

Family time!

In recent years, more and more retirees and those approaching retirement are also buying. They’re purchasing a vacation home as a second residence, where they can enjoy that extra free time without having to rush back to town on Sunday night.

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic that has temporarily slowed down the real estate market, I’ve heard from clients lately who are browsing online listings, and are planning to find that getaway when the market and other aspects of our lives get back into swing.

One of the advantages of the Ottawa area, as I tell buyer clients who are new to our city, is that there are spectacular cottage destinations within a one-to-two hour drive in just about every direction. In Toronto, it’s not unusual for residents to drive more than three or four hours each way when they head to their retreats.

As a Realtor in Ottawa for more than 30 years, I can help you find that perfect getaway, thanks to my extensive network of Realtor colleagues in cottage country, with listings throughout eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

There are a wide range of options within a short drive from Ottawa, all with their own character.

The beauty of water!

In Quebec you’ll find beautiful communities and a rich array of lakes in the Gatineau Park, Gatineau Valley and Val-des-Monts regions, often within an hour’s drive. Towns in these areas include Lac-Sainte-Marie, which is nestled in the mountains about an hour north of Ottawa, and includes the popular ski resort, Mont Ste-Marie.

In the Calabogie area, about an hour southwest of Ottawa, swim or fish in Calabogie Lake in the summer and hit the ski resorts in the winter.

Another popular area is the Rideau Valley, where attractions include peaceful waterways and the postcard-perfect village of Merrickville, lined with historic buildings that make you feel as if you’re stepping back in time.

Or consider the area around Gananoque, the picturesque town east of Brockville on the St. Lawrence River, about 90 minutes southwest. Known as the gateway to the 1000 Islands, this idyllic area offers wonderful kayaking and canoeing and a popular summer theatre, the Thousand Islands Playhouse.

For those willing to extend the drive west of Kingston, the increasingly popular Prince Edward County area is home to more than 30 wineries and upscale restaurants.

When deciding whether a purchase is right for you, remember that a cottage will require ongoing maintenance and repair, just as your main house does. To help narrow your search, It’s helpful to put together a list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.”

In considering the kind of cottage you’ll buy, keep in mind that lenders look more favorably on cottages that have year-round access and are considered winterized. Known as “Type A” cottages, these include a permanent heat source, a permanent foundation and potable running water.

A “Type B” cottage is a more rustic structure with seasonal access only. Interest rates may be slightly higher on either type of cottage than on a principal residence.

Many cottage buyers, however, have considerable equity in their main residences, and they decide to refinance their homes and use the equity to make the purchase simpler.

If you’re considering looking for a cottage in the near future, feel free to give me a call at 613-747-4747. We can get you started on your way to that tranquil retreat and creating lasting family memories.


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