I sometimes hear from long-time clients who have decided to sell the family cottage or year-round second vacation home.

They often ask if there are different issues to think about when preparing a cottage or rural property for sale than when selling your city house or condo.

There are similarities and differences between the two. Some tips:

Preparation and touch-ups, inside and out

Just as with the sale of a house or condo unit, start with a de-cluttering and cleaning to make the retreat look as airy, spacious and inviting as possible. Your Realtor will advise on the most important fixes to appeal to cottage buyers.

This can include doing repairs or touch-ups. As with a city home, fresh coats of paint and switching older fixtures or lighting for something contemporary can make a big difference.

As with a city home, changes to the exterior can give your cottage more curb appeal, whether it’s re-painting the cottage, adding pots of flowers at the entrance or trimming overgrown shrubbery or branches.

List What’s Included and Excluded

When selling a cottage, it is more common to offer to include furniture, kitchenware and other necessities than when selling in the city.  List what you’re willing to include and what is excluded.

Get Papers Ready

Buyers of cottages have questions that don’t usually arise when buying a city home. Your Realtor can help you answer those questions and provide any necessary paper records.

This can include such details as how your septic and water systems work and whether the water is drinkable, with results of any recent tests.

Preparing a “Cottage Manual,” is helpful for buyers, with a list of necessary chores for opening and closing the property for the season.

Consult an Accountant on Tax Implications

When you sell a cottage, as with selling any secondary residence, you will pay capital gains tax on part of the difference between what you paid and the price you receive.

Major renovations you completed can help reduce that tax, if you have receipts.

Depending on its value and how much the cottage has appreciated compared to a city home, some sellers decide to designate the cottage as their principal residence. An accountant can advise if this makes sense in your situation and what’s required.

If you’re interested in selling a cottage or second home in the Ottawa area, I can assist you. If the property is a lengthy drive from Ottawa, I can refer you to expert Realtors closer to you who know what cottage buyers in your area are looking for.

Feel free to give me a call, at 613-747-4747.