Helpful Tips for Cottage Sellers

Far too often, the first impression people have of a Muskoka Lakes cottage for sale is their last impression. Simple things like a messy garage or a missing light bulb can make a world of difference when it comes to selling your home in the least amount of time for the best possible price. Follow these tips to help create a quick, smooth sale and ease stress.

 Organize Your Documents

Have a file ready that contains a copy of the following information:

  • Property survey
  • Last tax bill
  • Ownership Deed
  • List of upgrades and their dates
  • Opening and closing instructions (security system codes, copy of keys for showings)
  • Water quality test results
  • Septic tank details
  • Water pump details
  • Contact info for service and maintenance (winter plowing, lake cottager’s association, property maintenance etc..)
  • List of Chattels that outlines the items included with the cottage in the asking price.
  • List of Extras that outlines the items that are not included in the asking price but may be listed and sold separately if you want to get rid of them. (Boats, motors, trailers, ATV’s etc.)

Keep receipts for all materials and labor costs applied to upgrading the cottage or cabin.  These can often be used to increase the original cost value of the cottage and therefore reduce the amount of capital gains that will be taxed once the cottage is sold. When it comes time to calculate your tax bill after the sale, it’s going to be important to understand your correct adjusted cost base (ACB). The higher your ACB, the lower the taxable capital gain you’ll have to report. Your ACB should include the original cost amount of the property, plus capital improvements you make over time. Be sure to track the amount of those improvements. It’ll save you tax later.

Note: Always consult your accountant regarding tax matters related to the cottage.

Prep Outdoors

  • Complete all maintenance projects that you have been putting off. (repair to decking, stairs or railings) Consider the safety of buyers viewing your Muskoka Lakes cottage for sale and providing safe access to the waterfront.
  • Remove any junk items stored under the cottage, behind the shed, in the bush or garage.
  • Organize the tool shed. Clean up lawnmowers, trimmers, chainsaws etc. and make sure they are working properly.
  • Get the septic system pumped out and inspected and display the receipt.
  • Have the water tested and put a copy of the results in the documents folder.
  • Present your cottage well by planting a pretty garden or hang flowering baskets around the property and at the front door.
  • Tend to your trees and shrubs and keep your lawn trimmed.
  • Address numbers and mailboxes should be hung straight. Numbers should be easily seen from the road if possible.
  • Keep room available on the property for parking for buyers and agents. (if possible)

Prep Indoors

  • Remove all of your personal items that may be creating clutter. This includes toys, magazines, old rugs and carpets, litter boxes, collections and photos. Buyers will be better able to envision their own belongings in the space and your rooms will appear larger.
  • Keep the kitchen and bathrooms clean and in good condition; get rid of discolored, missing or loose grout around ceramic tiles. Organize and declutter your cupboards and closets.
  • Keep the interior neutral – this will also help to lighten the cottage. Dark colors can make rooms appear smaller. Replace any wallpaper or paint that is outdated.
  • Make all necessary repairs to walls, replace broken windows, ensure all door locks are working. Fix loose or broken doorknobs and replace any light bulbs that have burnt out.
  • If you have chipped paint on doors, trim and baseboards, take the time to repaint – it will give the impression that your cottage has been cared for over the years and will create a fresh, clean space.
  • Drywall compound and paint is the solution for water stains and cracked drywall on ceilings or walls once the leak has been fixed.
  • Clean out the closets and other storage areas, Storage space is crucial to most buyers.
  • Be sure all Chattels you’re leaving with the cottage are in good working order. (appliances etc..)
  • Don’t cook a meal heavy with odors the day of an open house or any showings.
  • Open the blinds or drapes. Potential purchasers want to see bright and airy rooms. Let the sun shine in during the day and have your lights ON for showings both inside and out later in the day or evening. Add lighting to rooms that are especially dark.
  • Be clear about the things that still need to be fixed or replaced.  People appreciate the honesty just as you would!

The simplest repairs can make a positive impact when showing your Muskoka Lakes cottage for sale. Remember you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so be sure to make the right one the first time!


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