Should you rent or buy a cottage in Muskoka?
So you want to enjoy Muksoka just like every other Canadian and you aren't sure if you would like to rent a cottage or buy one, let’s look at each scenario.
If you don't know Muskoka, I would suggest that you rent in different areas first and see what you like and don't like about each area. If you have friends that own a cottage in Muskoka that is even better that way you can experience the cottage-life. Believe me cottage-life is unique in its own way. It is not like camping, RVing or staying in a hotel. It is unique in its own right and you will either like it or not. It sounds wonderful when people are describing the way of life in the cottage area but you have to be prepared to take on this holiday.
By renting you can enjoy the largest lake in Muskoka that being Lake Muskoka where you can boat into Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau. You can find a cottage near Bala, Gravenhurst, Rosseau, Bracebridge and see which areas you like more. You could even rent on an Island and see if you would enjoy that for a season.
You might decide to rent on Lake of Bays, the second largest lake in Muskoka. I'll give you an example, on Lake Joseph it can get quite busy but at the top end of Lake Joe it is calm and quiet. Lake Muskoka is a large lake and water can get choppy so if you are thinking about an Island make sure you can handle the boat ride back and forth a few times per day.
If you want to buy a cottage you have to realize that it will need to be maintained. Do you want to drive two hours from Toronto only to get to your cottage to mow your lawn and perhaps fix the dock? However some people only dream of doing those types of things because their families will be with them and it seems more enjoyable than doing that in a city. Enjoy the call of the loon, a magnificent sunset and a glass of wine - might not be that bad…the dock can wait.
The other thing to think about is investment. It seems that property values in Muskoka are holding steady if not increasing and if you don't jump in now (pun intended) you may not be able to buy what you want in the next few years. To rent a decent cottage it is not uncommon to spend more than 5500/week on the main lakes and if you do that a few times that can eat away at your down payment for your own cottage. Cottages come in all sizes, areas and value. You are the only ones who can make this huge decision. Cottages have always been a part of Ontario. Most owners appreciate the wilderness, the peace and quiet and the equity. As more and more people want to put their money into investing in a cottage, the values are increasing
We own a cottage and we don't use to all summer so we rent it out weekly. We rent out seven to eight weeks weeks per season and get amazing guests who cherish their time at our cottage. If you want to offset some of the expenses you can always rent your cottage out when you are not using it.
All this being said, I think the main argument is what do you want in your life? I was just showing clients a lot on Lake of Bays valued at one million dollars which they will build on one day. To them it is all about family and grand kids - which they don't have yet but will in the future. They want everyone to be together and to spend summers at their cottage and to make the memories we all cherish.