Okay, you made one of the most important decisions in your life: you’re buying a cottage! It’s in your desired area, close to everything you love, you dig its design and feel, and you’re ready to finalize the deal.

But, whoa … wait a minute! Buying a cottage isn’t like buying a toaster. If you discover something’s wrong with your new cottage, you can’t return it for a refund or an even exchange. You’re stuck with your buying decision. Purchasing a cottage is an important investment and should be treated as such. Therefore, before finalizing anything, your “ideal” cottage needs an inspection to protect you from throwing your hard-earned money into a money pit.

A cottage inspection is a professional visual examination of the cottage’s roof, plumbing, heating and cooling system, electrical systems, and foundation.

There are really two types of cottage of inspections. There is a general cottage inspection and a specialized inspection. Most general inspections cost between $350 and $450. The cost of the specialized inspection varies from type to type. If the inspector recommends a specialized inspection, take that advice because buying a cottage is one of the most important investments you’ll make and you want extra assurance that you’re making a wise investment.

By having your prospective new cottage inspected, you can:

  • Negotiate with the cottage seller and get the cottage sale-ready at no cost to you
  • Prevent your insurance rates from rising
  • Opt-out of the purchase before you make a costly mistake
  • Save money in the short and long run

How Much Money Can a Cottage Inspection Save You?

A cottage inspection helps to find potential expenses beyond the sales price, which puts cottage buyers in a powerful position for negotiation. If there are any issues discovered during the cottage inspection, buyers can stipulate that the sellers either repair them before closing or help cover the costs in some other way. If the sellers do not want to front the money to complete the repairs, buyers could negotiate a drop in the overall sales price of the cottage!

Perhaps even more importantly, a cottage inspection buys you peace of mind. Your first days and months in a new cottage will set the tone for your life there, and you don’t want to taint that time with worries about hidden problems and potential money pits.

To help you understand how much money a cottage inspection can save you, here are some numbers to drive the point home:

Roof – Roofing problems are one of the most common issues found by cottage inspections. Roof repair can range between $400 and $1000, but to replace a roof entirely can cost between $5000 and $10,000.

Plumbing – Don’t underestimate the plumbing. Small leaks can cause damage that costs between $1,000 and $3,500 to repair. Your cottage inspector will look for visible problems with the plumbing such as leaky faucets, water stains around sinks and the shower, and noisy pipes. Stains on walls, ceilings, and warped floors show plumbing problems.

Heating and Cooling – Ensuring the cottage’s heating and cooling system is working properly is very important. Your cottage inspector will make you aware of any problems with the existing system and let know you whether the system is past its prime and needs replacing. You don’t want to throw down $4000 to replace an aged furnace. Nor do you want to spend $3000 replacing an ill-working air conditioner. Replacing and repairing a water heater gets pricey too. Wouldn’t you rather use your savings for a vacation?

Electrical Systems – When thinking of the electrical system, no problem is better than even a small problem. Electrical problems might seem small, but they can blossom into thousand-dollar catastrophes. Make sure your cottage inspector examines the electric meter, wires, circuit breaker, switches, and the GCFI outlets and electrical outlets.

Foundation – If your cottage inspector sees that the building is sinking, that means water is seeping into the foundation; cracks in walls, sticking windows, and sagging floor also indicate foundational problems. The foundation is so important that if the general inspection report shows foundation problems, lenders will not lend money on the cottage until those issues are solved. Foundation repairs can reach as high as $6000 to repair.

As you can see, a small investment of a few hundred dollars for a general cottage inspection can save you tons of money and future headaches. To save even more money, you might consider investing in a specialized cottage inspection as well. A specialized inspection gets down to the nitty-gritty of all the trouble spots the general cottage inspection might have located.

How Much Money Can a Specialized Inspection Save You?

A general cottage inspection can trigger a need for a specialized inspection because the general cottage inspector spotted something off about the roof, sewer system, the heating and cooling system, and the foundation. If humidity is high where you’re buying your cottage, a pest inspection is recommended. Usually, a pest inspection will check for mold as well as pests. Many cottage buyers have a Radon test done to ensure air quality.

Roof – Roof specialists examine the chimney and the flashing surrounding it. They also look at the level of wear and tear of the roof. They can tell you how long the roof will last before a new one is needed. They’ll inspect the downspouts and gutters. The average cost of a roof inspection is about $200. Most roof inspections will cost between $100 and $300.

Sewer System – Making sure your sewer system has no problems should happen before the closing because what might look like a small problem can turn into a large problem in the future. If any issues pop up, you can negotiate with the seller about needed repairs or replacements before closing. Cost of inspection will vary; on the low side, it might cost you around $100. Compare this number to repairing a septic tank, which can cost, on average, $1,500 (though it could reach as high as $4,500), and you can see that the cost of an inspection is worth it when you catch the problem before you buy.

Heating and Cooling System – A HVAC specialist will check the ducts for blockage and for consistent maintenance of the unit. The repairs needed might be small or they might be big, but this small investment will save you headaches and lots of money down the road.

Foundation – A foundation specialist will pinpoint the exact problem with the foundation. The specialist will look at the grade or slope of the cottage. The ground should slope away from the cottage in all directions a half inch per foot. Many cottage owners have spent $6000 to repair their foundation.

Pest Inspection – Termites eat a cottage’s wood structure from inside out and can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your cottage. Other pests can turn your dream cottage into a nightmare. Depending on the humidity of where you live, you should a pest/termite inspection every two years or so. You can start with your potential new cottage. The good news is that most pest management company will guarantee the past inspection if bugs show up.

Radon Test – Radon is a naturally occurring invisible odorless gas that is the second leading cause of cancer. A radon test is a good test to have done as a good habit. The cost of radon test is low and its cost varies from state to state. Here’s more information about Radon.

Steps You Can Take to Save Money Using a Cottage Inspection

To help yourself save with a cottage inspection, you will need to:

Attend the inspection – Attending the inspection is important because it’s an opportunity for you to ask questions.

Check utilities – Checking utilities let’s know the energy efficiency of your potential cottage.

Hire a Qualified Cottage Inspector – We can recommend bona-fide cottage inspectors to you. While the decision of who you work with is always yours, we can educate you so that you make a wise cottage buying decision.


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