Category Archives: Buying a cottage

** Now Sold!** Unique Muskoka Cottage for sale

Circa 1934
Double sized level lot steps from water
Original Fir, Spacious Rooms
Classic Muskoka Fireplace


Real Muskoka cottage for sale.

Every once in a while there is a very special place that speaks to that special cottager who loves Muskoka history. This place was built in the thirties, in Muskoka Beach Village and although it has been very well preserved, it still has all the original features that made cottaging so appealing in the past century.

The cottage is white clapboard, with an oversized Muskoka Room, for starters. You can see the water through the trees, while sitting on the porch. The walls are fir lined, and the rooms are spacious. The original stone fireplace is so appealing, and there are pristine oil lamps attached to the walls.

The bathroom is bright and gleaming and the kitchen is large. If you listen carefully, you can hear the rabble of meal making, and the laughter of a bygone era.

The carefree days of enjoying Olde Muskoka don’t have to be over. Purchase this property today. It stands steadfast on a double lot with municipal water and the potential for municipal sewage. It is currently three season, but would make a great place to live year ’round with some renovations.

The beach is a few steps away. This cottage is not directly on the waterfront (but not across a road) , and therefore the taxes are low.

The deeded access is fewer than a dozen steps to a wide sand beach, lovely swimming and some of the best views Lake Muskoka has to offer. And you thought that Lake Muskoka was just out of your reach. Asking a mere $360,500.00

Sales of cottage properties rose 18% in March 2014 compared to March 2013.

Residential and cottage activity both up year-over-year in March

Residential sales activity recorded through the MLS® system of Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® numbered 204 units in March 2014. This was up 19 per cent from March 2013. Sales of cottage properties rose 18 per cent from a year earlier to 39 units in March 2014.

“While the year-over-year increases for March 2014 look about the same, residential sales surged above 200 units in the month of March for just the fourth time in history, while cottage sales were still running below the historical average for the month,” Mike Stahls, President of Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®. “In fact, the 77 per cent month-over-month increase in residential transactions from still subdued levels in February to very strong levels in March was the largest on record. This likely reflects, at least in part, the release of some pent-up demand following an unusually harsh winter.”

The median price for residential property sales was a record $225,000 in March 2014, up 13 per cent from a low reading a year earlier.

The median price for cottage sales was $385,000 in March 2014, a decline of eight per cent compared to March 2013.

The dollar value of all residential sales in March 2014 totalled $48.9 million, an increase of 35 per cent on a year-over-year basis and the highest level for this month on record.

The total value of cottage sales was $15.4 million. This was up 20 per cent from a year earlier.

Detailed – Cottage Sales and Median Price by Area
By Area Unit Sales Median Sale Price
March 2014 March 2013 Year-over-year
March 2014 March 2013 Year-over-year
Muskoka 15 10 50.0 $400,000 $420,750 -4.9
Haliburton 4 6 -33.3 $121,000 $421,250 -71.3


Important information

The average price information quoted can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods, or account for price differentials between geographical areas and property types.

The area served by the more than 670 REALTORS® who belong to Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®, is located less than a two-hour drive north of Toronto, in the heart of Canada’s Cottage Country. There are several major geographical areas within the Association’s boundaries, including the City of Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Muskoka Lakes, Huntsville, Almaguin Highlands, Lake of Bays and Haliburton. Each of these areas has a unique blend of properties ranging from residential homes located in the City of Orillia and smaller towns located throughout the remaining areas and the prestigious year-round recreational properties on large lakes, and lower and mid-range priced cottage properties on the smaller serene lakes.

Algae and Water Quality. Looking back to see the future

As mentioned in previous posts, cottage owners and cottage buyers want to know about water quality on lakes in Muskoka. Because water quality has a direct relationship to property value, and algae – particularly algal blooms – directly affect water quality, we all want to know as much as we can .

I just completed and uploaded a video here for the Muskoka Watershed Council YouTube page. The subject is a talk that was presented by Dr. Andrew Paterson of the Dorset Environmental Centre at the Muskoka Stewardship Conference at Nipissing University in Muskoka (Bracebridge). The event’s theme was What Are You Watching?


This highly interesting talk looks at studying lake sediments deposited over hundreds – and even thousands of years. Sediments are archives of environmental change and within them are clues to possible triggers of algae outbreaks.

Dr. Paterson talks about sediment research done in Lake of the Woods in north-western Ontario and the Hudson Bay Lowlands which may help scientist understand occurrences in the lakes of Muskoka. There is discussion on the relationship between water quality and property value for cottagers. The seeming paradox of stable or even declining phosphorous levels – the usual algal bloom suspect- at the same time as blue-green outbreaks are increasing. And of course, the effect of climate change.

Algal Bloom Three Mile Lake 2005

Of particular note is the 2005 toxic algal bloom in Three Mile Lake in 2005, where research may indicate the possible triggers of record high temperatures coupled with record low precipitation which occurred in the fall of 2005 in Muskoka.

Slide 1

There is significant evidence that a warming climate is related to the increase in algal blooms. Dr. Paterson suggests that if algae was the music that we hear from a radio: then phosphorous is the volume; other nutrients (particularly nitrogen), light, etc., influence what species are present – are the “tuning”; and climate is the antenna. The presentation concludes that blue-green algae likes it hot!

Slide 1

Click here for the link to the video on YouTube.

Relationships matter. What makes selling cottages in Muskoka worthwhile.

We received some kind words of praise yesterday from a couple who bought a cottage we had listed.

I am not surprised because I know how much Catharine cares about doing the right thing for all customers, but it is really wonderful when people stop and take the time to let us know!

“We can’t thank you enough for all you have done for us in our search for the perfect cottage. You have gone above and beyond what is expected of an agent.  You were extremely patient with us and not pushy at all when we were scared and undecided about purchasing our cottage.  After spending hours in the freezing cold during the lengthy building inspection you still remained up beat, positive and always had a smile on your face…..You always responded to our e-mails and phone calls (and there were many) within hours.  Answered all of our questions, and when you didn’t have the answer hopped in your car drove to the township office to get the answers.  You gave us many valuable reference for the best trades people.
My mother always told me, to be successful in business you need a good lawyer and accountant. I now believe that a good real estate agent is on that list of people required to be successful.  And you are the best in the business!

Thank you so much for your kind comments. Some other client comments are here.

Lake Joseph. Out on the April ice.

We were taken by snowmobile today so we could determine a listing price for a very nice Lake Joseph island property.

45 mph makes for a good wind chill when you’re holding a camera!

We’ve been asked a few times actually, just in the past three or four days: “How thick(thin) is the ice on the big three?” Well we can tell you, as of today it is still very solid. Visibly on Lake Jo, there are no signs of open water except around bubblers and moving water. We have a way to go in Muskoka before break-up.
Below, even right beside the boathouse, the ice is very sound.

Catharine; either waving, or trying to stop the process altogether!

We can’t show you the boathouse, the cottage, or anything identifiable on the property yet, as it’s not listed. But, here’s an image I made of the point while waiting for the snowmobile to return to pick me up.


Spring at the Cottage in Muskoka … not here, not yet.

Many times in the past, at work in Toronto, Chicago, Orlando, or Boston, I’d hear about spring equinox (night and day of approximately equal length) and begin to wonder how conditions were at our Muskoka cottage.

In case you are at work planning for spring at the cottage, I have an update for you. Depending on where you are, it may not be all that spring-like, and it isn’t here either.
On Lake Muskoka, I made this image less than 20 minutes after the spring equinox today (Mar 20th). It’s hard to tell, but it was snowing and the high today is expected to be -2C.

Lake Muskoka from Muskoka Beach area. Mar 20, 2013, spring less than an hour old.

Here’s how the spring weather looks coming up this week:


If you are reading this a bit later here’s the current forecast.

And have a look below at the historic records for this date. Last year we hit 24.8C – much better than -18 in 2007!


We did have an “early” spring last year and cottage real estate, just took off for us.

Speaking of spring, we’re at the Cottage Life show on April 5th -7th, really getting the cottage season jump-started; actually we are there Sunday the 5th from 1-5pm, so come and say hello.

If you want tickets give us a call.

Back to winter at a cottage in Muskoka

Up to Tasso Lake off Limberlost Rd. for a home (cottage) inspection early this morning.

We had 12 degrees C yesterday, back to a more seasonal -12 degrees C tonight. But have a look at how beautiful Tasso Lake is on a winter morning before freeze-up.

Tasso Lake, soon to ice over.

Tasso Lake is only about 2 kilometres from Algonquin Park.

As we have mentioned before, information about the water quality of lakes in Muskoka is available on the Muskoka Water Web; here’s the page for Tasso Lake.

Muldrew Lake Cottage Update

We are happy to say that there will be a new family on Muldrew Lake. Particularly exciting to us is that this family is new to Canada, has never cottaged before, but really want to live a “classic Canadian lifestyle,” and they decided, what better way than to cottage in Muskoka.

More details on their beautiful property here.

Catharine is always happy to add the SOLD sticker. Bentley sneaked in to the photo.

Classic Muskoka Cottage & Boathouse; View From Above

We have a magnificent property listed at Pine Point on Lake Muskoka.

The key feature about this property is the land itself; the rare privacy afforded by 895 feet of Lake Muskoka frontage on this beautifully level point. Nevertheless, the buildings, specifically the boathouse, has found its way into a number of classic Muskoka books.

As an iconic Muskoka boathouse, the boathouse at Pine Point doesn’t dominate the scenery; it plays an important supporting role.

Iconic in summer.
Standing resolute to the winter cold and winds.

We wanted to feature all of it somehow; the boathouse, cottage and the truly wonderful property itself in our own way. So, up in a battery powered remote-controlled helicopter went a carefully mounted digital camera, and softly(whew) down it came with the following pictures on its memory card:

… beautiful!