1. Find out what your bank and insurance companies requirements are. For example, some look for an all season road, or for it to be winterized, or…find out before you buy.
2. Before you shop consider your current need/use and your future needs. This will help direct your search. For example, if you are considering expanding the living space as your family grows make sure zoning allows this. There could be restrictions on sq footage of buildings, or you may be required to upgrade from a holding tank to a septic system. This can be expensive and perhaps tough to find space for due to set-back restrictions.
3. Location, location, location -- you can change lots of things, but as we always say this is one we cannot. So consider the lot, the waterfront, the commute, the topography...make sure these all work for you.
4. That it fits your budget and expectations. It could be disappointing to buy something you plan to use that requires more work than you have budget for, so that you can’t enjoy it (to some degree) now.
5. Good neighbours -- this is another variable that is hard to change and can affect your enjoyment of your new cottage. This can be hard to determine beforehand, but is possible. When I bought my cottage I was fortunate to meet both next door neighbours and even a few down before I put in an offer. Not only is it nice to have that opportunity but they were able to offer all sorts of information about the waterfront, the summers (and winters), the history of the cottage, and even work that had and hadn’t been done. As I embarked on this adventure I couldn’t have done this as efficiently without their support.