Check This Before You Buy Waterfront Property

Buying waterfront property seems like a dream come true. 

It is, and the challenges of living by a lake, riverfront, or canal are real too. Flooding, erosion, high water marks, who owns the foreshore – you’ll have to get up to speed quickly before you take the plunge. 

Start by taking a close look at your lifestyle. 

Quick Read

Can you own waterfront in Ontario?

Where is the cheapest lakefront property?

How much is waterfront property worth in Ontario?

Checking waterfront property beforehand

Is Waterfront Property a Good Investment?

Waterfront property commands a premium. All but the smallest and remotest of lakes may cost you well over $250,000 for a simple cottage or home. Waterfront property for sale in Ontario communities like Kawartha Lakes starts around $400,000 (cottage included) and currently tops out near $6 million.  

Waterfront property can be a good investment, if it fits your lifestyle. Are you prepared to travel long distances to find waterfront property for sale in Ontario, or do you prefer quick weekend retreats? Do you want a sandy beach, or will a rocky bluff do? Is the kids’ safety paramount, or are they old enough to kayak or fish on their own?

Now decide on a budget. Waterfront property commands a premium. All but the smallest and remotest of lakes may cost you well over $250,000 for a simple cottage or home. Waterfront property for sale in Ontario communities like Kawartha Lakes starts around $400,000 (cottage included) and currently tops out near $6 million (July 2022). 

When to make a firm offer in real estate.

When Can You Own Waterfront Property in Ontario? 

Now you’ve defined what you want, here are some little known truths about buying waterfront property for sale in Ontario. You can own waterfront property in Ontario, with a few caveats or limitations. 

  • Sandy shorelines are prone to erosion from waves. You may have to pay for breakers, retaining walls, or to bring in sand. 
  • Climate change could put your waterfront property under water. Saltwater can eat away at your cottage and dock. Invest in quality materials, and do your research on what the shoreline or riverfront may look like 25 years from now. Get advice on managing erosion and stabilizing slopes.
  • Flood zones and wetlands near riverfronts or marshes call for special building measures. That can involve sump pumps, water treatments, or high water table management and the like. Flood insurance is extra. Checklist for offering over asking price in Ontario. 
  • Your land may be leased, not freehold. Leasehold properties take longer to sell because your only asset is your home. Then there’s the cost of the monthly lease payments. 
  • Digging wells, installing a septic tank, and bringing in utilities all add up. Locate wells on Ontario properties. 
  • You may not own the dock, or foreshore it’s on, defined as the low and high water mark vs the water’s edge. Check the property title to see what belongs to you, and what other property owners, the municipality, or province may be responsible for. Watch out for rising Great Lakes high water marks
  • Does your lake or waterfront property manager allow motor boats, swimming, fishing, water skiing, or other activities you enjoy? Not all do, and you could be hugely disappointed. How deep is the water anyway? 

Before you decide what you include in your offer to purchase, remember agreements of purchase and sale are legally binding.

How to make an amendment to the agreement of purchase and sale. 

Where the Cheapest Waterfront Property Is

Head North for Cheap Waterfront Property 

Northern Ontario is where the cheapest waterfront property is found. Places like Balmertown on Red Lake, and Sioux Outlook are an all-day trek for some of the lowest priced lots around. 

Small Towns, Cities Offer Best Value

Remote lakes, and modest cabins by provincial parks are good value for the money. Timmins gets hopeful waterfront property buyers a foothold near a lake for $200,000 to $800,000. Actual waterfront property is limited, but local homes are well priced. 

Writing the purchase and sale agreement for Ontario real estate. 

Southward bound, Lake Nipissing or Trout Lake are popular with North Bay homeowners who want to fish, swim, or paddle board. Vacant land may be your best bet, or a small, detached home in the city. Prices start around $75,000 to $130,000 for a lot, and $300,000 for older bungalows.

Where to Buy Southern Ontario Waterfront Property

When land or cottages come on the market, Moonbeam and Georgina are popular. If you’re keen to build, Bancroft has vacant lots for around $80,000 to $170,000 and up. Parry Sound, midway between Sudbury and Barrie on Lake Huron, is further out price- and distance-wise, but well worth a visit. 

What Waterfront Property is Worth in Ontario 

Any waterfront property appreciates faster than a landlocked lot. 

Once you have your piece of paradise, hold on tight. Building a cottage of any kind, what activities are allowed, the waterfront’s physical condition (is the lake full of weeds or algae blooms?), and new development like resorts, shopping centres, or casinos can all influence your waterfront property’s assessed value. Compare property values around you. 

You don’t want to sell too early, or too low. Your realtor can help you decide when to sell. If a real estate deal falls through, here’s what happens to the deposit

Get your home appraised before you list.

Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer

Buy or sell waterfront property with confidence when you use Axess Law. We have virtual real estate lawyers throughout Ontario for legal advice on offers to purchase, finalizing sales transactions, or refinancing your mortgage.

Close real estate deals without leaving home. 

Our cheap real estate lawyers review your agreement of purchase and sale for binding clauses. We search property titles for easements, rights of way, construction liens, or financial encumbrances. We register title in your name when you sell, or add family members to title to your new property. 

Revoking the agreement of purchase and sale for Ontario private sales. 

Existing mortgages are discharged, and new mortgage documents finalized to make your home purchase or sell go smoothly. We meet the completion dates in your agreement of purchase and sale, or negotiate with a seller’s or buyer’s lawyer to amend the agreement if they need more time.

Your final statement of adjustments is all inclusive. We explain deposits, legal fees, and disbursements so you have a complete understanding of what your real estate transaction cost you. 

Affordable Real Estate Lawyers, Anywhere You Are

Access lawyers for less in Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, or anywhere in Ontario  when you buy, sell, or transfer property. Axess Law’s flat fee real estate lawyers are affordable, and our rates are all inclusive (excluding taxes, disbursements, and third-party charges). Axess Law offers you only the legal services you absolutely need. Your final invoice includes no surprises or hidden charges. Your itemized statement of adjustments is explained when we deliver it, and we answer any questions you have about it.

Hiring a real estate lawyer.

Make Phone or Online Appointments in Minutes 

Book appointments by phone or online. Our convenient online booking form is easy to use. Make remote video conference calls when time is at a premium. E-sign documents online, or drop by our Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa law offices to finalize real estate and mortgage refinance documents. Dial toll-free to 1-877-402-4277, 647-479-0118 in Greater Toronto Area. Our lawyers make day or evening appointments at times convenient for you. 

Try our onsite parking, and easy transit access.