How should I go about choosing a builder for a cottage or lake home in Lake of the Woods, Clearwater Bay, Falcon Lake, Minaki, Winnipeg River and Black Sturgeon Lake areas?
First of all, you have to do your research. Pick a builder that has a good reputation for quality in the area. If you are seriously considering a particular builder, insist on seeing their work and talking to customers who have recently gone through the building process with them. A good builder will welcome that opportunity.
How do I keep my lake home or cottage building project on a budget?
It is crucial to have a realistic budget. Many builders will support whatever number you give them just to get the job. They will leave the job when the budget is used up and the homeowner is left to find someone else to finish up the project.
Pick a builder who has a reputation for being upfront and is known to deliver on projects with stringent budgets.
Try to consider these factors:
It is more expensive to build in remote or challenging locations such as areas with merely boat access. Costs include more than just traditional square footage, e.g. basements, decks, garages, landscaping, lanes, septic, docks etc. Everything costs money and needs to be considered in a budget.
Invest in comprehensive plans and keep changes to an absolute minimum.
Watch for scope creep in project size and finish. It is human nature to want to make projects larger and more elaborate without recognizing the costs in doing so.
Consider asking your builder for a guarantee. Expect to pay a premium of some sort if you are shifting the risk to them.
Consider downsizing the project and building it in affordable stages. For example, start with a smaller cottage with the option of adding a bunk house later.
How do I go about choosing a lot for my lakeside cottage or home?
There are both practical and emotional reasons for choosing a cottage lot.
Ask yourself if you are looking for a view that knocks your socks off or a simpler commute from the city.
On the practical side you should start with a budget and focus on the cottage lot as opposed to the cottage. (Unless of course you have the resources to do both!)
Proximity to your home and work can be important as are services, medical care, shopping etc. Alongside proximity and services, convenience and access are important factors in choosing a lot to build your dream cabin on.
Would it be convenient for you to have road access or would you prefer only water access property?
Of course you also need to consider what brought you to the Kenora, Ontario area in the first place. Are you looking for solitude or excitement? Was it fishing, swimming, hiking, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, wakeboarding, water-skiing or seadooing?
If you follow a more emotional path you may be considering views, sunsets, solitude and perhaps neighbours.
Ideally you can find a balance of both. That ideal spot with a great lake view and short commute from home.
Is there a secret to picking a lot to build on in the Kenora Ontario, Lake of the Woods, Clearwater Bay, Falcon Lake, Minaki, Winnipeg River and Black Sturgeon Lake areas?
There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a lot:
Exposure - Do you want the sun to light up your cottage most of the day or would you prefer to be nestled in the shade?
Access - Is your cottage going to be a year round retreat? Road access is an important consideration especially with an aging population.
Elevation - The big trade-off is between the big (high) view and water accessibility. Sometimes you are lucky enough to find both but it is often a bit of a compromise. High elevations mean lots of stairs!
Water profile – Do you want a sandy beach with easy entry, deep water for boats, natural shoreline for Wildlife? The choice is personal but most people have firm ideas on what they want in this department. Check the water depth to make sure it’s right for your watercraft. Ask yourself if a muddy/weedy bottom is an issue.
Lot size and frontage - Generally the real value is in the frontage Depth. This is important as it acts as a way in which to buffer you from any roadways. Consider where your neighbors have built or are likely to.
View - What will you be looking at when you sit out on your deck? Does it give you goose bumps? Are you looking at a neighbor? Is your lot the right size and location to ensure that you have your dream view?
Terrain - Does the lot have a natural profile that you can see building on?
Neighbors - If you are looking for solitude and your neighbours like to party, that could be unpleasant. Or vice versa. Do you want neighbours in close proximity to your cottage or would you prefer a lot that gives you the ability to have your own space?
Waterways - Accessibility to what brought you here, fishing, kayaking, sailing etc. Do you like small and quiet lakes and bays or do you prefer big, active and open waterways?
Costs - It’s important to look at costs not only for the property but also for taxes, insurance and energy bills in Lake of the Woods, Clearwater Bay, Falcon Lake, Minaki, Winnipeg River and Black Sturgeon Lake areas.