Author Topic: Looking at a tiny lake house  (Read 4185 times)

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Offline Adam Roby

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Looking at a tiny lake house
« on: October 19, 2014, 03:53:28 PM »
My wife and I are considering the purchase of a small lake house as a rental unit to help save for retirement.
The house is only 16x20, on 2 floors, full block foundation, dry well, uses lake water, and is insulated for 4 season usage.  The road is plowed so accessible year round, and it is on a peninsula of a pretty nice lake.  Comes with paddle boat, canoe, and furnished.  The layout is a bit strange, with 2 bedrooms on the lower level (have to walk through one to get to the other, but for a small family it should be adequate.  The lot is pretty small (8000 square feet) but is on an angle so large back yard on the water, smaller in front. 

The wife went up yesterday to look at a few of them and this was the only one that stood out.  I will go up next weekend to have a second look, and if I like what I see we may already make an offer.  The timing is good for a buyer because nothing is selling in the mountains, and especially this time of year.  It is a buyer's market... but I want to be as prepared as possible.  For anyone with a similar property, what kind of things should I especially look out for?  Is there anything special to look our for if considering as a rental unit?  We are hoping to rent it out at least 10 weeks of the year to pay for itself, and any more than that would be fronting on the cake.  Will follow up with pictures if I actually consider going through with the purchase.

One thing mentioned in the paperwork is that it is a dry well.  It does not mention septic or leach field, but does say it is legal and is emptied every 4 years.  What is a dry well, just a buried holding tank?

Offline MountainDon

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Re: Looking at a tiny lake house
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2014, 11:31:06 AM »
dry well.... that's it in a nutshell. If legal it just means calling the septic pumper every few years or so. Have them pump it out as a part of the deal ???


Renting... We've had years of rental experience as a landlord; condos. Some years better then others. A lot depends on proper research on the applicants. I guess our situation is a little different than yours, in that you'll be having rotating renters.  A friend of ours rents a condo out as a recreational space, a week or so at a time. One thing she does is charge them all a flat clean up fee. She has a lady who does the post rental cleanup. The nice thing about that is you yourself don't have to be concerned about whether or not the cleanup was done right. Renters run the gamut from the careful and concerned to the what, do I care?

Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Looking at a tiny lake house
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2014, 02:11:45 PM »
We were provided with a certificate of localization.  On the document, it shows that there is a cement retaining wall/deck that it non-conforming and the chimney as well.  It seems as though the previous owner moved the wood stove (slow burning) back against the wall (probably to make more room inside) and moved the chimney from inside to go immediately outside, and it has vinyl siding on the chimney.  Not sure what part of that is legal or not, or what the "non conforming" stamp actually means, whether it is a safety hazard, something done without permits, or something that has to be removed. 

Here is the stove:


Here is the chimney:


Looks like they didn't really know what they were doing.
Now the question is, how do I have those nonconforming parts checked?  I already spoke to an inspector and he said those are specialized things, and require specialized people to inspect.  I can't exactly spend $2000 on specialists if the house doesn't even belong to me.

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Looking at a tiny lake house
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2014, 04:19:48 PM »
So... silly question maybe, how does it work when you running on lake water, can you continue drawing water up all winter long?  We have some pretty nasty winters up here, and I am sure the lake freezes a foot or more with ice... how does the hose stay thawed?  Is that something I can look into when I visit tomorrow?

I need to find an inspector that knows the area, and knows that kind of thing.  The agent says he can recommend someone from the area.  What are the chances that the inspector he recommends is unbiased, and can give me an accurate inspection report?  I know this is not really something you can reply to with any certainty, but would you question this or go with the agent's recommended inspector?

Offline rick91351

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Re: Looking at a tiny lake house
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2014, 07:29:40 PM »
Here the cabins that have such 'grandfathered' you have a foot valve that connects to a like 1 1/4 inch poly pipe out in the lake  This is buried up to the cabin or lot.  It would be buried several feet deep or below the normal frost level then would be handled inside the dwelling as a normal water supply.   Does this lot have water rights to the water you are tapped into?  I would never assume such.  Eastern water rights however are very different as are mineral rights for those of us that live out west.  Never believe anything a realtor tells you about legal rights and such.

 ???  If this has just a hose as you state there is no way in a hard winter you will keep it thawed.   There are hoses you actually plug in for RV's and such.  There is heat tape you wrap around your hose.  But you are restricted distance and power.   
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Looking at a tiny lake house
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2014, 02:57:06 AM »
Hi Rick,

Thanks for the feedback.  This will be my first visit (wife saw the property last week) and the my first experience with lake water as a source so it is all new to me.  I don't trust anything any agent tells me...

Offline hpinson

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Re: Looking at a tiny lake house
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2014, 09:57:42 AM »
What would it take/ cost to drill a well there?  Probably it could be a shallow well, if you are close to the lake.  If the lake source is unreliable year round, as it might be, perhaps the cost of a well could be a bargaining point?

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Looking at a tiny lake house
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2014, 04:51:19 PM »
I have some serious doubt about the cesspit condition, legality and future sustainability considering we want to rent it out.  My wife called the municipality to ask about the non conforming issues on the paperwork we received (as suggested by our agent) and the inspector basically gave hell to my wife.  He said that anything not conforming will have to be immediately removed, and fines will be issued, and since she does not yet own the house the current residents can sue her for the damages they incur because we reported her.  What the hell does that even mean?  If I see someone breaking into a house, and I call the police, am I liable for the lawyer fees the criminal must incur to get himself out of jail?  This guy was extremely rude, sounded like a complete moron, and simply made no sense.  Why would we not want to investigate the property before making an offer?  I am not sure if this guy felt threatened, perhaps because he is obviously not doing his job very well if 90% of the houses up there are non conforming to current bylaws, or perhaps he actually knows the current owners.  Anyways, we decided to forget about this one and start looking elsewhere.

Thanks for the feedback gents.

Offline sabre

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Re: Looking at a tiny lake house
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2014, 06:38:57 PM »
Hi,
I am from Montreal.  I started to look for a lake cottage about the same time as Adam, late September this year, also, i am thinking of rent it out to help some maintaining it.
I am very happy to find this forum.
 

Offline rick91351

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Re: Looking at a tiny lake house
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2014, 06:57:51 PM »
Glad to have you join the forum  w*
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Looking at a tiny lake house
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2014, 03:56:55 PM »
Hi Sabre, welcome to the forum.

I have seen many chalet's up around Gore and Wentworth and I am usually very disappointed.  There are many places that are not properly build, partially rotting, and most do not have legal waste treatment.  I think it is a potential legal nightmare, so beware the low prices.  We are now looking in the area of Saint-Adolphe d'Howard.  The places are quite a bit more expensive, but anything lakeside so far has had similar problems with septic and water.  Away from the water you get nicer buildings, but harder to rent with no water.  It is a tough call...

Where are you looking?  Are you looking at lake front or anything specific?

 

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