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The median size of an American single-family home is around 1,600 to 1,650 square feet which may be too big for smaller families.
Living in a cottage is affordable, improves your quality of life, and encourages the household to spend more time together. Perhaps you’re planning to buy a cottage, but you’re not sure where to start.
Here are six things to consider before buying a cottage, so keep reading to learn what you need to know.
Before buying or renting a cottage, consider the location’s convenience. Cottages are often in quiet parts of the countryside to check whether there is road access to the property and if they’ll be clear in winter.
Also, figure out where the local amenities are. It’s handy to have a grocery store, a gas station, and a hospital nearby as this will drive the resale price higher. Plus, this gives you peace of mind should an accident happen.
2. The Surrounding Area
Once you’ve scoped out the top cottage locations, factor in the local environment.
For instance, decide whether you want to live near a lake or have a waterfront cottage. If you’re interested in living near the water, consider the size, the type of shoreline it has, and whether it’s large enough for water activities.
You should also consider the view or whether you want a property overlooking the valley. Further, consider whether the cottage boasts a fabulous sunset or sunrise view, as the latter is cheaper.
As you walk around the property, factor in the size of the yard. You may want an extension to optimize your living space to figure out how much outdoor space is left.
And don’t forget to meet the neighbors, especially if they’re full-time residents. They will be a great source of information, so you learn more about what the area is like or if the previous owners have had any issues with their cottage.
3. Insurance Costs
As you browse cottages for sale, factor in the potential insurance costs. Many people have a cottage for a second home, so it’s empty for an extended period which increases the insurance price. Plus, there are often higher risks of weather-related issues.
For instance, the cottage may be in a flood plain or in an area that’s prone to intense hurricanes. As a general rule, if you’re planning to rent out the cottage that you’ll need a more expensive insurance plan.
Homeowners must consider their budget and figure out whether buying a cottage is financially feasible. Do this by looking at your current expenses or debt and subtracting this from your salary. This will tell you how much cash flow you have to invest in the cottage, crucial if it’s a fixer-upper.
Further, ask the real estate agent to see the current homeowner’s hydro bill so you can determine the average. This can be costly, so consider this when calculating your monthly expenses.
4. General Maintenance Costs
When designing a cottage, know that maintenance is different with cottages than single-family properties. For instance, if you’re in a windy area, check that no shingles are damaged or have blown off.
You should also consider the plumbing system.
Most cottages rely on black polyethylene pipes to access water, so examine each one to ensure there are no leaks and that they’re well-fitted. Further, inspect the wood stove, and in the spring, spray preservative over decking or wood areas to prevent water from seeping in and causing structural damage.
Homeowners must also winterize the cottage especially if you’re in an area that hits subzero temperatures. It can be expensive, so factor in the insulation, electrical, and plumbing costs when preparing your home.
5. Access to Water and the Septic System
Although browsing these cottage style furniture options is more exciting, you mustn’t forget to ask about the property’s septic tank.
See when it was last inspected, and make sure that it has been recently maintained to ensure it’s in good working order. Make sure you check the copies of the last inspection and that the previous owners pump the tank before selling.
You should also consider the property’s drainage system. Older cottages may use clay pipes that could eventually leak and cause the foundation to crack.
Plus, figure out whether you can easily access water. Many of us take potable water for granted but consider this as many rural properties struggle to pump out clean water. So, check the water situation before you buy, whether it’s via a well or from a tank.
Before filling your new home with cottage furniture, take a look at the cottage’s floorplan. Consider how many people are living in the property so you can optimize the space to add futon, bunk beds, or sofa beds in each room.
Further, figure out which rooms and space the house currently has and whether it aligns with your needs. It may be handy to knock down walls, or if you want to add another bathroom, check whether you have to move sewers.
You should also factor in how much natural light pours in. As a general rule, your cottage should have access to easterly in the morning and westerly light in the evening.
That’s Everything About Buying a Cottage
Hopefully, after reading this article, you now know everything about buying a cottage.
Make sure you consider the location, its access to roads and local amenities, and the surrounding area. You should also consider insurance or general maintenance costs and ensure the cottage has a robust water and sewer system. Good luck!
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