The trees are turning colour and cottage owners are starting to think about shutting down their cottages for the season. But for prospective cottage buyers, the change of seasons doesn’t mean it’s time to end your search for a vacation property.
“Fall is another good time to buy,” says John Aben, a broker for Muskoka’s Harvey Kalles real estate. Over the last three years, Aben has seen September waterfront sales match those made in the spring and summer months, with October and November coming in second place.
While you might have a harder time finding a property that ticks all your boxes, there are distinct advantages to cottage shopping in the fall. Here are four of them.
It gives you more time to find just the right property
If you’ve been obsessively refreshing MLS all summer, but haven’t yet found your dream property, don’t despair. All your hard work will pay off in the end.
“You’re educated at this point,” says Aben. Instead of rushing to buy something before the ice thaws, looking in the autumn means that you’re now in the position to take your time finding a property that suits your budget and lifestyle. And if you’ve been watching the market closely, you’ll also be the first to see adjustments in price.
“Your realtor will help to make you aware of reductions when they occur,” says Aben.
There is less competition
Sure, there may be less cottages to choose from in the autumn, but there’s also a marked decrease in something else: buyers.
“During the spring, there can be more competition for sought-after properties,” says Karen Phillips of the Phillips Team Cottage Country Real Estate in Parry Sound. “In the fall, buyers are ready to purchase and sellers are ready to negotiate a sale before the winter sets in. It’s typically a more relaxed process.”
There may be more wiggle room on price
Don’t assume that autumn automatically means lowered listing prices. Since it’s currently a sellers’ market — with all-time inventory lows and increasing sales prices — many sellers are prepared to re-list their properties in the springtime, with the intention of nabbing their full asking price.
However, there are those sellers that are motivated to sell before the snow sticks, as well as those who don’t want to deal with the uncertainty of a new spring market.
“On occasion, you will find a seller that’s determined to sell before winter hits and may agree to a lower offer to get the sale done,” says Aben.
Buying in the fall means enjoying your cottage fully come springtime
Instead of spending your spring months setting up a new property, imagine opening the door to a cottage that you’ve already had months to prepare and set-up.
“Contractors are sometimes more available in the Muskoka area in the winter,” says Aben, adding that interior work can be completed during the snowy months so that you’re ready to fully enjoy cottage life the following year.
However, he notes, this is also the downfall of buying in the autumn: “You’ll have to wait until next summer to swim in the lake.”