Cottage or Dream Home

cottage or dream home?

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A common topic of conversation this year has been whether to invest in a cottage or upgrade to your dream home.  Because of the COVID pandemic, the frequency of this conversation increased ten-fold.

Appropriately, I’m writing from the comfort of the deck at my family-cottage in Kearney, Ontario.  This cottage has been in my wife’s family for over 50 years; hand-built by her Great Grandfather. The land was purchased for $8,000 over a drink, a spit, and a handshake –a far cry from the cost of one today, but the return and enjoyment is the same.

It truly is one of our favourite getaways and we try to get up here two times a year. We unwind quickly, settle in, enjoy our time, and make memories.

I feel like this is an appropriate time to reflect on this conversation to help you decide which direction to go.


The real estate market has become hot, multiple offers and bidding wars are once again the norm. With everyone confined to their house and working from home, people are finding their current home doesn’t fit their needs.  The solution often comes down to upsizing their current home or getting a vacation property; but, which one?

There’s no question that upgrading to your dream home is probably more cost-effective.  A second property comes with a second mortgage, property tax, utilities, insurance, and maintenance. You’re more likely to consider renovating, buying a boat, toys, renovations and landscaping.  Alternatively, upsizing can sometimes be done for a more reasonable increase in cost.

Cottage vs Dream Home Pros and Cons

DISTANCE TO TRANQUILITY: Kick your shoes off and step into your backyard oasis in minutes, or spend five hours packing and traveling to the cottage.  For some, the drive is part of the fun, for others, a tedious, stress-inducing commute.  If the latter, avoid traffic by looking at less-popular areas and time your trips during off-peak travel times.

FREQUENCY OF USE: Will the cottage get a lot of use? Do you see yourself up there every weekend or is this an occasional destination? Compare that to how frequently you’ll be able to benefit from the upgraded home.

UNDENIABLE DIFFERENCES: One thing a cottage accomplishes, that a primary residence seldom does, is creating a sense of solitude and escape.  It’s a place you’ll truly disconnect and get away from the daily grind.  For the same reason you may not want a cottage ($$$), you’ll love boating, fishing, and making memories.

In conclusion …

Both options are worthy of consideration. However, if the all-mighty dollar weighs the scale most heavily, upgrading may be best. Alternatively, consider becoming a Landlord. Find a home that can be partially rented or a cottage to rent out on a short-term basis. The additional income will subsidize your costs, making both options more feasible.

I hope this has helped provide some direction in your decision of what to do.  It’s not an easy decision but both options are exciting to consider nevertheless.

Inspired? Confused? Comment.

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