Top 3 Common Differences – City Life vs Muskoka Living

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Muskoka Real Estate Matters – By Maggie Tomlinson

When searching for cottages or rural homes in Muskoka, it’s important to understand some of the common differences between city life and Muskoka living. Here are the top three:

Access – Private roads are found throughout Muskoka, and you’ll need to know if access is seasonal or year round. Find out who is responsible for road maintenance and snow plowing, and what the costs are. Does your dream cottage have deeded access, and is it registered on title?  If you are looking at island property, does it come with a mainland property, boathouse or dock – or do you need to arrange for docking at a local marina?

Water Source – In Muskoka many cottagers draw their water directly from lakes & rivers, or there could be either a dug or drilled well.  Check to see if there is any filtration and/or UV protection. Has the water been tested recently? If the property is going to be subject to a mortgage, the lender will usually want a potable water sample. Your realtor can help to guide you through the testing process if required.

Sewage Systems – Most Muskoka properties will also have private sewage systems.  These can range in age and type, from holding tanks to concrete or plastic tanks with tile beds, to more sophisticated systems such as Waterloo Biofilter. As a professional real estate broker working with buyers, I always recommend to include the septic when doing the home inspection. A licensed inspector will perform a visual inspection and a flow test as part of this process.

Have high expectations of your realtor, ask questions & be informed about the complexities of buying real estate in Muskoka.

Until next time – stay safe on the water & on our roads – and happy buying and selling!


Maggie Tomlinson is a professional Real Estate Broker with Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage, serving her clients from the heart of Muskoka. Maggie has successfully been actively marketing and selling cottages, homes, vacant land and commercial properties for years.
If you have any questions about buying or selling, your answers are always just a phone call or email away.
705.644.9283[email protected]

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