From urban city to cottage country: 5 things to consider

May 1, 2021

While companies are looking forward to a post-pandemic world returning to “normal”, many people are considering moving out of the city and working from home indefinitely. Cottage country used to be a destination for summer cottages but are now quickly becoming the principle residence of new families, retirees, and young couples alike.

Making the move from city to cottage country can be a daunting one, so we rounded up the top 5 things to consider:

Securing a remote job.

Working remotely has been met with mixed feelings, but you might be one of the many people who thrive from working away from the office. After having a taste of remote work for probably over a year, ask yourself if you are better off without the traditional office setting. Remote work might “work” for you now if everyone is working remotely and the playing field is level. But once some colleagues return to the office, there is the chance that the remote colleague experiences becomes less than ideal.

Have a discussion with your employer about what the company has planned for “return to the office”, or if a permanently remote opportunity is viable. Think through things like promotion opportunities and whether an in-person presence is critical. If your employer expects you to be in the office more than a day per week, work out the costs of travelling to the office such as gas, personal expenses, and scheduling with other household members, if applicable.

Find a property with reliable internet.

Cottage country is rarely known for its high-speed internet, especially for properties that are further away from services. If working remotely with reliable internet is a must-have requirement, make that known to your real estate agent. Dave has had high rate of success finding such homes to his clients who work remotely and crave the high speed of fibre optic internet – it exists in the Muskoka region! You just need to the right realtor to help you find it!

Map out how far of a drive you want to be from key places.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, and schools are ammenities that many clients cite as highly important. Ask yourself if it’s okay that you might be driving 15 to 30 minutes, each way, once a week, for groceries. Or if you have to make that drive every day to drop off your children to school, or if there is a school bus that will shuttle them back and forth. Attempt to make that kind of drive once a week (for a month) in your current home town to get an idea of how much driving you are willing to do.

Review your household finances.

There are unique expenses that come with living in cottage country. For example, some properties are not on connected to municipal water or sewer services. Instead, you may have a water well and septic tank that will need maintenance every few years.

Cottage country also gets lots of snow! That little shovel might not be enough for a 100 foot driveway if you end up falling in love with a property that has one. If you live around mature trees, you need to feel comfortable using a chain saw to cut it up and move it out of the way if it’s blocking the path through to your property for critical vehicles to access (e.g. paramedics, pizza delivery, and the in-laws!).

A surefire way to catch the differences is to make a list of all the household expenses you currently pay for, and ask about them when you view a property.

Spend time in nature.

There is a lot of it here in Muskoka – the good and the bad – so ask yourself if you can work with it or, better yet, thrive in it! There are countless parks of various sizes, including Arrowhead Provincial Park and Algonquin Park, which we highly recommend you check out to get a feel for all that Muskoka has to offer.

We hope this guide was helpful and if you have any other questions, feel free to reach out the Dave to chat more!