When looking to buy waterfront in Muskoka, whether you are looking to build, renovate, rent out, or use as is, there are a boatload of items to consider.
Zoning, planning conditions, and building bylaws govern what you can and can’t do – and the rules are different in each town and township.
Muskoka provides many great investment opportunities. However, if you are planning to buy a property and then invest in it further, it is extremely important to understand the maximum value your land could support. You want to ensure that you aren’t overinvesting, and that whatever you build will have a protected resale value years down the road.
And most importantly, you want to fully understand all the nuances of the lake and the property itself … before you buy.
From the way the sunset position changes throughout the year, to what kinds of vessels are allowed on the lake, to the prospect of development on nearby land, there is much that can affect your enjoyment of the property and the safety or risk of your investment. The only way to get things sorted properly is to work with an experienced and professional team, explains Chelsey Penrice, a broker with Harvey Kalles Real Estate Brokerage.
Chelsey is a generational cottager with 15-plus years as a realtor. She and her colleagues Alexandra MacDonald and Gini Kelly bring together decades of experience in Muskoka. “We live and work in Muskoka real estate,” says Chelsey.
“We work together and help each other, often collaborating to help just one client, if that’s what’s needed,” she adds. “If someone has a last-minute showing, for example, any one of us can step in to help and already be familiar with the client and the property. We provide an exceptional experience to all our clients by maintaining an incredible work ethic and service level to go along with our extensive knowledge.”
No matter whether you’re a buyer or a seller, the team is there to help. Sellers have access to promote their properties through several channels, including through the various websites and brokerages that are under the Harvey Kalles banner.
All three team members bring unique skills to the table. Chelsey has in-depth knowledge of an incredible number of lakes in Muskoka and the surrounding area, including Georgian Bay.
“When somebody on the team has a showing on a lake that’s new to them, it’s great that they can call and ask questions,” she says. “And I can usually say ‘yeah, I know a lot about that lake. Let me help you with that.’ It’s about who you know, what you know and how fast you can get that information to your client.”
Meanwhile, both Alexandra and Gini have extensive experience in the world of building and development. They use it to advise clients on what they can and should do with their properties – whether buying or selling.
Alexandra’s particular passion is old Muskoka and traditional cottages. However, she has also spent time in the custom construction and luxury build market.
“Being a part of a luxury construction and design company really helped grow my love for the building process. I really enjoy looking at a property and visualizing all the possibilities and the best use of the space,” she says. “The design aspect is also something I very much enjoy – whether it’s the design of the building, or the interior finishes and touches once it’s built.”
That comes in handy when clients need guidance to ensure their dreams and visions can be achieved, while maintaining an eye on resale values. That could mean adjusting the placement of the main cottage or a bunkie, changing the layout of the interior, or making other tweaks.
“We help guide our clients by letting them know what luxury buyers are looking for in specific price ranges, so when they’re building their home or cottage, they’re doing it with an eye toward maximizing their ROI,” says Alexandra. “In many cases, our buyers become sellers and we’re here to provide valuable guidance throughout the entire process.”
It’s also about understanding the rules and giving their clients ideas based on what can and can’t be done according to bylaws and regulations.
Gini started her career on the development side of things before transitioning to real estate. Having good relationships with the local trades is beneficial for their clients: even before they buy the property, new cottage-owners will have local references who will do the work.
“I specialize in vacant waterfront properties,” explains Gini. “One of the most important things we do is helping buyers understand zoning and other bylaws, as well as helping them to visualize how best to take advantage of each property’s topography. Helping a client understand the highest and best use of a property is a key consideration to a purchase.”
Together, the team can draw on the skills necessary to make any Muskoka real estate dream come true.