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Thinking of a Cottage? Don’t Forget you Can Rent, Too!

26 August 2012

Maybe you’re packing up the things at the cottage ready to say good-bye to another wonderful summer spent in it. Or maybe you missed out on your cottage opportunity this year and you’re organizing your plans to purchase one next year. Whatever’s got you thinking about cottage country, make sure you turn over one specific idea in your mind – the thought of renting one.

It’s an idea that financial expert Ted Rechtshaffen recently looked into. And while renting may not be the first thing cottage lovers think of when they imagine sitting out on their Adirondack chair by the lake, they should. Turns out, it could save them a whole ton of money.

Rechtshaffen breaks it down for us by saying, “Say you spend 20 days this summer at the lake, paid $15,000 in upkeep, taxes and other expenses. Those 20 glorious sunsets cost you $750 apiece.”

That’s a lot of money, no matter how glorious the sunset. And while not every cottage owner will spend that amount of money on their cottage every single year, cost is just one headache that comes with cottage ownership.

There’s also the fact that someone has to do all that maintenance on the cottage. And instead of shelling out even more to get a serviceman up to cottage country, most owners decide to do it themselves. Even putting the small cost of those repairs aside, do you really want to be putting in new windows while you’re whole family is enjoying a picnic down at the lake? Is that really what the dream was when you bought a cottage?

And what happens should you pass and the cottage is still in the family? It’s nothing anyone likes to think about but whenever you’re talking about real estate it must be considered. Does someone else in the family want to take on the responsibility? And can they handle the cost of upkeep and property taxes?

Never mind that fact that cottages are usually in out of the way locales, which take hours or days in the cars just to get to. (After all, isn’t the entire point to get away from it all?) This is one reason why owners don’t get up to them nearly as often as they’d like; and another reason why the cottage might not be worth the investment. And what if you want to go farther one year, and spend a couple of weeks in Florida instead? It’s a little harder to do when you own a cottage simply because you feel guilty not using the investment you’re already paying for.

Cottages can be a great escape when you’re looking for serenity, family time together, and just a break from the every day. But when you picture that waterfront cottage complete with a porch, deck, and fireplace for chilly nights, is it yours or are you renting? At only $800 – $2,000 a week to rent, the real dream might be renting a cottage this year. Not owning one.

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