Buying and selling properties in KenoraBuying and selling properties in Kenora 12 April 2022

Buying and Selling Recreational Properties

Owning a waterfront cabin or cottage is the dream for many Canadians, especially in Northwestern Ontario! 


Even though it is the dream of many, there can still be many questions pertaining to the buying or selling process. Luckily we were able to speak with one of our talented recreational agents, Harold Warkentin, to get all the best information on buying or selling your recreational properties.


What should someone consider when thinking about purchasing a cabin or cottage property?

Clients should ask if the property that they are interested in is leased land, tenants in common, or a title ownership. Leased land can be slightly less expensive, but you will not own the land, and it is important to understand the differences. 

Beyond that, it is important to be aware of closing costs, land tax, layers fees, and HST that can be added onto some properties. If there is any disappointment that comes from the buying process, it is typically when a buyer is hit with unexpected costs. It is important for a buyer to do their homework, go slow, and ask their real estate agent any questions they have.”


What should someone consider when thinking about selling a cabin or cottage property?

“Once someone has decided that it’s time to sell, it is important to be realistic with the price. Consult with your real estate agent, do some research, and understand your market and value.

Do what you can to get the most amount of money with the least amount of hassle.

You may not need a brand new deck/roof/ etc., but it is important to tidy up and hide the personal stuff. Make your home as generic as possible for a potential buyer to walk in and see themselves at the property. 

It is also important to be aware of costs such as legal fees, capital gains tax, and how much money is actually going to be yours in the end.”  


Can you talk about the different types of properties that can be found around the Kenora area and the advantages someone would have if they bought property there?

“Different types of properties all have their advantages and disadvantages, it is really a personal preference. 

There are lakefront properties that have road access, and some that are only water access. The type of access someone wants usually depends on how private they want to be. Water access properties, like islands, can sometimes offer the opportunity to be out there in winter if the ice conditions are good. There are also recreational properties that are completely off grid, so a buyer needs to know if electricity and cell services are important to them when looking for a cottage. 

Buyers may also want to have a conversation about shore reserves. The first 66 feet of land off of the water is typically shore reserves, but sometimes that land can be purchased for an additional fee, which is typically, give-or-take, around $10,000.

There are lots of great waterfront locations around the Kenora area to buy recreational properties. We have great real estate in Kenora, but if a buyer is interested in being closer to Winnipeg, and not a far drive off of the highway, then Clearwater Bay is a great area to look. The farther away from Winnipeg you go, the quieter it gets.

Black Sturgeon, Storm Bay, and even Sioux Narrows are also popular and great places to check out!

When deciding where you may want to buy a cabin or cottage, it is important to consider how far away you are from the firehall, grocery stores, hospital, etc. 

Ultimately, the best way to find your dream property is to make a list of the things you want and look for it!”


Are there any top 3 “must-haves” when shopping for a recreational property? 

“As a realtor, I would think that the top 3 must-haves would be things like high profile, privacy, and value, but then again, value is all in the eyes of the beholder. 

There really isn’t one answer for the entire marketplace, but instead, it depends more on what each individual is looking for. Do you want somewhere that has good fishing? Good swimming water? Privacy from neighbors? View of the sunset? Road right to the door? These are all individual factors, so it is important for buyers to put some thought and consideration into what they want in a property so that they will be able to find that perfect place.”


With all your experience over the years, helping your clients buy or sell their cottages & recreational properties, are there any common questions or concerns you have seen, and what is your answer to those questions/concerns? 

“The most common question I get from buyers is “what is the property worth”. 

Whatever the price you’re paying for something, if you really love it and have to own it, don’t ask – Just buy. 

If you’re trying to buy something with good value, consult your real estate agent, do your homework, check the market, but be wary that someone might buy it before you. 

The ultimate answer to “what is it worth” is “what someone will pay for it”. 

Other concerns may be the regulatory stuff that people will need to conform to, but all in all, our market is a very healthy place and there are few disaster stories.”


What changes have you noticed over the past 10 years in the recreational market?

“Of course there are changes. The value of properties have increased, the buying process has changed quite a bit, and now we basically have the ability to work across the planet, so the market has expanded quite a bit. 

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is that cottage time is family time. People who buy cottages typically want peace and quiet, relaxation, and time to recharge their batteries – It is the same now as it was then. 

So much has changed in the world, but the cottage market has somewhat stayed the same. In 1980 I could sit on a deck with a seller and would hear about all the good stories that were had at the cottage. These days it is still the same.”



Buying or Selling waterfront cabin or cottage