Do You Need a Survey Before Buying a Waterfront Property

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Cottage county and waterfront lands are a lot different than a subdivision or a property in town. Many cottage properties have never seen a survey.

Many owners just assume that the property is theirs!

Why wouldn't they? Their grandfather built it 60 years ago and they have used it all their lives.

Granpa picked out the best building spot, good waterfront, assumed it was within the property lines and away he went.

Just a Rustic Compass Picture

Friendly neighbors were not to concerned that the garage, that was later built, may be a little on their property. Or perhaps it was the septic system over the boundary line...just a little.

In lakefront areas near to crown land there was an abundance of property that grandpa could use, no one was to concerned and it really wasn't watched that close 60 years ago.

So yes, the cottage properties, outbuildings, driveways, sheds and/or boathouses may not be on the property.

Maybe they are, maybe there not... but do you really want to take a chance?

Cottage Life was different back then, when they were truly cottages.

Some links to Further information about a survey and information that it will provide:

  • The most complete property information you need a Building Location or Real Property Report.

    This will show you all the structures and any easements on the land.You know where the borders are, tells you how you get to the property, easements, and if you own the waterfront.

  • Do you own the waterfront? See shoreroad allowance

  • How about the dock?

    Planning on fixing or improving more information at dock information

    Remember also that many cottages were built a long time ago, before municipalities put zoning regulations in place.

    These properties may be described as ‘legal non-conforming’, meaning the property is OK as it is, even if it is too close to the water (setback allowances) by today's standards.

    These cottages may be 'grandfathered' and you should find out what your rights are in regards to renovation or expansion.

    Keep in mind you are not only dealing with the municipality. There are other government agencies such as conservation authorities that have a say or control what you do with the land and/or your cottage.

    This may limit your ability to expand a property without municipal approval, if they allow it at all. In your due diligence of properties, this is not a step to skip. work it into the Offer of Purchase, it is needed.

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  • Peter Rollings, Broker, Cottages and Waterfront homes


    3276 MacDonald Island Road

    3276 Macdonald Island Road Big Rideau Lake

    1000 ISLANDS/ St. Lawrence River
    1473 North Shore Road Kingston

    1473 Shore Road Kingston

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