1. Never buy property without setting foot on it first. Take the time to look it over closely and inspect it yourself.
2. Has the property been appraised recently?
(a) If so, when?
(b) How did the seller arrive at the asking price?
(c) Check MLS and FSBO web sites and print off some of your own comparables.
3. If there is a cottage?
(a) Is it insulated? Or, how many seasons is the cottage rated for?
(b) If there is no cottage, are their restrictive covenants? Does one have to built within a certain period, by a certain date? Do you have your choice of builder? Building architecture?
(c) Was a geological report done? Obtain a copy.
4. Surveyor’s Certificate available?
(a) Obtain a copy of the so that you can determine exactly where the property lines are.
(b) Does it show the buildings: cottage, garage, boat house, etc.? If not, plan on buying title insurance.
(c) Check with the municipality whether the building must be a certain distance from the property lines and check this against the survey to confirm the building complies with bylaws.
(d) Is there road access, as well as the terms of the road maintenance agreement, if applicable?
(e) Confirm right of access to the land if not accessible from a public road.
5. Access to electricity, water, sewage and other utilities?
6. Is the property serviced by an on-site Septic System?
(a) How old is the septic tank?
(b) What is the location, age, size and depth of the tank?
(c) If so, has the system passed inspection within the past 2 years?
(d) Can the Seller provide a copy of the report?
7. Is town sewer available?
(a) If the property is serviced by town sewer, is there a betterment still to be paid or connection costs?
(b) What is the yearly cost of town sewer?
8. Does the property require flood insurance? If so, can I get a copy of the current policy?
9. Are there any known defects in or around the property that I should know about?
(a) Obtain a Property Condition Disclosure Statement;
(b) Have the current homeowners completed any upgrades?
(c) Was the work permitted? Request copies from town departments.
10. Are there any easements associated with the property? Can you provide a current copy of the deed? Best to have your lawyer obtain a copy of the title prior to negotiations.
11. Find out about the conditions of the shoreline in the summer? Weed count? Type?
12. Is the water level is always the same or if it fluctuates throughout the year?
(a) Is the lake water level controlled?
(b) Is the water quality tested annually?
13. Are there restrictions in the use and/or development of the shoreline?
(a) Have the lake/river water been tested. You would not want to spend a quarter million dollars or more only to have your child develop a rash after they go for a swim.
(b) If there is a pressure water system that draws water from the lake
i) How old is it?
ii) Test it to ensure it is functioning; and,
iii) Look for leaks.
(c) If the lot is serviced by well water, have a water potability test conducted.
15. What recreational activities are allowed / not allowed on the lake?
16. Are the bylaws or restrictions with respect to fire?
17. Is there a boat dock?
(a) Does it have to be removed and stored in the winter or left year round?
(b) Maintenance required?
18. If the property is remote, make sure you know who is responsible for maintaining the road. Banks may require a copy of a Road Maintenance Agreement before they will lend on remote property.
19. Does the lake have an active Lake Association? If so, obtain contact information.