Resources & Insights

BARRISTON BRIEFS: Buying a Cottage? Factors to consider.

In the new series, Barriston Briefs, David F. Smith and Janice Mumberson discuss what you should consider when buying a cottage.

Has the return of warm weather inspired you to find and purchase the perfect cottage property? Factors that are often considered when a cottage is purchased include location, the purchase price, and a certain instinct about whether the property will foster family memories in the years to come.

As many cottage owners know, however, there are other factors that affect an owner’s ability to enjoy their cottage property.  These factors include: 

Road Access

  • Does the property directly connect to a municipal road that is maintained year-round? If not, does a private road agreement or an easement exist that will provide you with access to the property?

Shore Road Allowance

  • If the property appears to have water frontage, does a shore road allowance exist which separates the property from the water? If so, is the relevant municipality willing to sell the shore road allowance?


  • If a boathouse exists, or if you would like to build a boathouse, has the material water lot been leased or purchased from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry? If not, can it be?

Your real estate lawyer will be an essential ally in determining whether any of these items will impact your ability to enjoy a particular cottage property.

When selecting a real estate lawyer, consider choosing a lawyer who practices in the geographic area where you are purchasing a cottage. You will receive the benefit of any prior knowledge they may have of local road access, shore road allowance, and contacts who can advise on the status of a water lot lease or purchase application. Often, they will have previously encountered these same issues and know of an efficient way to address them, saving you time and stress!

Finally, when considering the impact that purchasing a cottage may have on your estate planning, Barriston has lawyers who can competently advise on strategies for ownership succession, including the utilization of trusts.

With offices throughout cottage county, Barriston LLP knows the “lay of the land” and is happy to assist you with your cottage property purchase!

-David F. Smith and Janice M. Mumberson