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Buy or Build? The Benefits of Custom Home Building in Muskoka

Buy or Build? The Benefits of Custom Home Building in Muskoka

Finding the perfect place to plant your dream getaway in Muskoka is an important first step in making your holiday hopes real. If you’re ready to own a vacation home in Ontario’s cottage country, you may be debating between buying and building a home in Muskoka. The best choice for you will depend on your desires, budget, and timeline.

Ballantyne Builds is a premier construction management firm specializing in second homes in Muskoka. We live where you plan to vacation. We’re happy to offer our local and professional insight into the unique conundrum of buy vs. build.

Pros of Buying an Existing Cottage

There are plenty of good reasons to buy a cottage in the Muskokas, and we won’t leave them out of the article just because we’re custom home builders. We want you to make thoughtful decisions with all of the facts. Here are a few of the most common reasons for purchasing an existing cottage in Muskoka.

You Know Exactly What You’re Getting

When you tour a cottage before you buy it, you can visualize every space. It’s easier to make a plan for furnishings, decorations, and any upgrades that need to be done. You know exactly what kind of view the front porch offers, and it’s easy to see yourself there, sipping a too-late in the day for reasonable bedtime coffee or too early in the day for the regular workweek cocktail.

You Can Play Today

If you buy an existing cottage, you can hit the lake as soon as your deal closes. Building a custom cottage could take a year or longer, and many folks can’t wait this long to join the fun. We suggest renting a place during your build if this is your primary driver for buying an existing cottage.

Cheaper than a Custom Build

You’ll pay less for an existing cottage than you will to build your dream cottage from the ground up. If your primary concern is square footage and location, your budget is probably best spent on an existing cottage.

Cons of Buying an Existing Cottage

Here are some of the most common reasons folks choose not to buy an existing cottage or regret it if they've already committed to an older place.

Dated Features

Cottages are often family affairs, passed down through generations. Though cottage style is a little more forgiving than the cyclic trends of primary residences, some features in older cottages are hopelessly dated. You can only deal with so much dark wainscoting and old-school linoleum before investing in a remodel. 

Repair and Upkeep Expenses

Older cottages have older appliances, HVAC systems, roofs, and more that will need to be repaired or replaced over time, sometimes sooner rather than later. There are also plenty of opportunities for ugly surprises that weren’t apparent at inspection, as fixes were cobbled together over the seasons.

Optimized for Someone Else’s Fun

An existing luxury cottage might come with fun features like a fire pit, sauna, home gym, outdoor shower, wrap-around porch, or built-in bunk beds, but someone else designed them with their own habits and preferences in mind. When you purchase an existing cottage, you almost always sacrifice a few things on your wish list and pay for elements you may not want or need. If you’re going to spend up for luxury features, why get it 75 percent right?

The Case for Building a Custom Cottage

Our clients have many very personal reasons for building their vacation home in Muskoka. Here are some of the most popular reasons for building a cottage from the ground up.

You Get Everything How You Want it

Building a luxury custom cottage means designing every element. Want room for an extra-long dining table? You can design an extra-long space for it. Need dedicated built-ins for every member of the family? You can create the storage solution you desire. Want plenty of dock space for company to boat in? You can have it built. Leave nothing unchecked on your wish list.

All-New Elements Will Need Few Repairs

Building a cottage with new, energy-efficient features means you’ll spend less on your utility bills than you would in a comparable older home. All-new appliances and systems will require less maintenance for the foreseeable future, eliminating the probability that an unexpected break or malfunction will ruin a perfect day. 

Building a Custom Vacation Home in the Muskokas Might Not be Right for You If

We want you to have a fantastic experience in your vacation property in Muskoka. We’d be thrilled to build your custom cottage with you, but only if it’s right for you. You may be better off with an existing cottage for a few reasons.

You Can’t Wait for the Build

If you’ve got to own a place for the upcoming season and can’t get by for a while by renting, building a custom cottage isn’t for you. It’s a long process, especially if weather conditions create seasonal access. 

You Have a Limited Budget

You can purchase more cottage if you opt for an older, existing cottage in Muskoka. An older home is a better bet if you’re trying to stretch your dollars to afford real estate in pricey cottage country.

Your Custom Cottage Dreams Become Real When We Connect

Ballantyne Builds has what it takes to make your lake country dreams come true. We’d love to discuss your plans and vision for your new home away from home in Muskoka. Let’s connect today.

Cost Guide: Building a Custom Cottage in Muskoka Version A