The reasons people choose to upgrade a cottage vary, but the value and cost of those upgrades will almost always impact their decisions. If you plan to use your cottage for years to come, your choices will likely differ from those cottagers who are upgrading to sell. Here are some general rules of thumb that work for both scenarios.
Cottage owners should always consult their insurance provider before making major changes to their cottage, as these changes can potentially impact their insurance policy.
The pretty, practical stuff – kitchens
Everyone loves a gorgeous kitchen, and cottage kitchens are no different. A kitchen renovation is one upgrade that’s guaranteed to add value to your property, in addition to increasing your family’s enjoyment. The kitchen is where everyone congregates and where meals are created and shared, so build for yourself before you worry about what will sell. Adequate storage and counter space are important factors, as are new appliances. But, first start by making sure that the electrical work is up to snuff.
If you’re planning a kitchen renovation with the intent to sell your cottage, don’t overbuild. Your kitchen should be appropriate for the cottage it’s in; otherwise you won’t get back what you put in. If you enjoy DIY projects, then consider repurposing your cabinetry to save money. You would be amazed at what a fresh coat of paint and some new hardware can do for your cupboards.
The smelly stuff – toilets
If you currently have a septic facility but it’s getting old, consider replacing it. Septic systems were built to last for 25 years. Over the years many properties have been expanded to the point where the system is not adequate for the size of their cottage. And who knows what some of them were made of? Your system may still work fine now, but no one purchasing a cottage wants to deal with septic issues. If yours needs an upgrade and it’s not up to current health codes, that’s one investment that will pay off. And consider a low-flow toilet if you have to replace yours. Your bottom line will thank you.
The warm stuff – insulation
The winterization trend is on the rise, and there’s never been a better time to add insulating features to your cottage. For older cottages in particular, insulation will make total sense in the walls but also the roofs and under floors. The bonus will be a cooler cottage in the summer and a warmer cottage for those crisp fall and spring days. While you’re at it, if you still have single-pane windows, now would be the time to upgrade to double panes. With year-round cottage life gaining appeal, it’s a complete no-brainer.
The outdoor living stuff – the deck
No cottage would be complete without a deck. The deck is where you entertain or relax and unwind at the cottage. It’s not so much what it’s made of that matters, but the location, size, weight and safety features incorporated into the deck. Your deck should always be constructed with handrails along stairs and incorporate railings into the design. The deck should be built on the sunny side of the cottage, ideally overlooking the water or other spectacular views. It needs space for your barbeque, some storage for your pillows and deck furniture, and room for all of your friends to comfortably sit and chill out. You don’t need to go crazy, although there are certainly some exceptional decks out there these days. The most important thing is that it suits the cottage, your lifestyle and your budget.
Make your cottage experience carefree this summer by contacting your local Allstate agent. They’ll help take care of all of your insurance needs and give you personalized service and advice.
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