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Over the years, the cottage industry in Canada has seen periods of ebb and flow. But in recent years, the cottage real estate market, country wide, is showing signs of major boom. The 2015 RE/MAX Recreational Property Report published its results and reported that 68% of Canadians would rather spend a long weekend in a cottage than any other kind of getaway (that includes flying overseas).

Canadians love their weekend cottage trips. In another survey, 21% of people would even consider downsizing their house to have the spare means to purchase or renovate a recreational property. It’s a large investment, but it seems to many home and cottage owners that the benefits outweigh the cost.

Before making an investment on a new build or remodelling project, it’s important to determine the primary use (short and long term) for your cottage.

Is it a family getaway destination? If you are planning on taking your young family up to the cottage for vacation during the summertime, the cottage should have access to activities and amenities that suit. You might need to consider building a deck or dock, or stairs down to the water for canoeing, swimming, fishing trips, etc. Make sure the space suits the function. You’ll want large open areas inside the cottage for the entire family to enjoy together. If your hosting family and friends, you’ll want to create a space that’s accommodating for large groups (the kitchen, bedrooms, and common rooms are where to focus your attention indoors). You’ll likely spend ample amount of time outdoors so invest in exterior or landscape projects, like gazebos, decks and porches, gardens and/or pools.

Is it a retirement dream? A vacation property that will double as, or eventually turn into, a retirement retreat needs to have easy access to amenities, like grocery and retail stores, gas stations, hardware, restaurants and hospitals. Location, location, location! Find, build, or remodel a  cottage close to a small town or (more) urban area. Turn your attention indoors and create the kind of space that will be tranquil, comfortable and easy to maintain. Look ahead, consider remodelling or building a new cottage that doesn’t have a lot of stairs, a basement or an attic. You may be close to water, but consider building an overlooking deck, porch or balcony so that you can enjoy the scenery passively. Find ways to take in the outdoors without having to exhaust yourself with activities. Features like fireplaces, wall windows, skylights, a walk out deck/patio will give you the indoor/outdoor cottage feeling.

A cottage can be the getaway of your dreams in the short and long term. Talk to a professional about your goals for your cottage before making the investment.

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