Updating your cottage before you sell is a great idea, but not all renovations are created equal. Here are some of the best and worst renovations to consider when selling your cottage.
Scott McGillivray is a real estate expert and host of HGTV Canada’s Income Property and Moving the McGillivrays.
Best – Winterize
When you live in Canada, one of the best things you can do is make your cottage habitable in all four seasons. Winterizing can be a big deal as you have to think about plumbing, electrical, heating and insulation, but if it’s within your budget, it can really help command a higher selling price.
Related: 7 Smart Ways to Maximize Your Outdoor Space in the Winter
Worst – High-End Finishes
When it comes to cottages, fancy high-end finishes won’t get you the same return on investment as they do in the city. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have nice, updated finishes, but expensive marble and high-end fixtures won’t add much to the selling price. While there are exceptions to the rule, the average cottage should be updated, but not over the top.
Related: 10 Things You Should Know Before Buying Your First Cottage, According to Scott McGillivray
Best – Install or Upgrade Dock
Is your cottage on the water? A dock can make a huge difference. People love the experience of sitting out on the water, so even if your buyers don’t have a boat, the dock will be a big selling feature. And if they do have one, a dock will practically be a necessity.
Related: 18 Canadian Cottages to Book Right Now Before They’re Gone
Worst – Swimming Pool
Not too long ago I was invited to a lakefront cottage and I was pretty surprised to see a swimming pool. I love a pool as much as anyone, but why have one when you’re already on a lake? To me this is silly and a total waste of money. The only time a pool can add value to a vacation home is when it’s completely landlocked. If you’re on a lake or beach, don’t bother.
Related: A Rooftop Cottage is the Jewel in the Crown of This $3.5M NYC Apartment
Best – Laundry
When I was a kid, I remember always having to take an afternoon during our week at the cottage to go to the local laundromat. I hated it! Who wants to leave the lake to go do laundry? Nowadays more and more cottages have laundry and buyers are coming to expect it. When making upgrades I highly recommend adding a washer and dryer.
Worst – Elaborate Landscaping
Curb appeal is always important, but elaborate landscaping that requires a lot of maintenance can be a real turnoff. While they’re nice to look at, manicured gardens require a lot of upkeep. At a cottage where you don’t live full time, this can get very expensive and tiresome to deal with.
Related: 15 Ways to Make Your City Home Feel Like a Cottage Retreat
Best – Mudroom
are amazing for cottages. When kids come in with muddy shoes, wet towels, sports equipment and the like, it’s great to have a little area where they can dump everything. It doesn’t need to be a huge space, as long as it can have some storage for all those items. And if you really want to make it great, include a heated flooring system. It will help dry shoes faster, it feels great on bare feet and it’s amazing in the winter!
Worst – Luxury Showers
Luxury showers are super popular these days, but at the cottage? Don’t bother unless it’s simply for your own personal enjoyment. Steam showers with rain heads and custom benches can be costly and at the cottage, you’re not likely to see a return on that investment. I’d be more inclined to do that type of renovation at a ski chalet where relaxing in the heat and soothing sore muscles is a priority.
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