Whether you call it a vacation home, a cabin or a cottage, if there’s one thing Canadians love it’s escaping into the outdoors while still having the luxuries of being at home. Loving our cottages as much as we do, it’s no surprise that proper cottage care is a must for many owners. Being in remote locations, sometimes only accessible by boat, you may be unsure of who to hire for your cottage maintenance needs. Luckily, there are companies who are entirely dedicated to ensuring your home away from home is in tip-top shape. Upper Lakes Property Management is one such company.
We spoke to the experts on their team to find out everything homeowners need to know about proper cottage maintenance and what services are necessary when opening your cottage for the season. Upper Lakes Property Management is a Muskoka and surrounding area company that can help you with common cottage maintenance. This includes services such as window cleaning, grounds keeping, handiwork, and carpentry services. Additionally, the team provides roof assessments, utility opening, deck and dock repair services and more! Read on to get the team’s expert opinion and learn how to safely open your cottage.
When is the best time to open a cottage in Canada?
The pros at Upper Lakes Property Management recommend the second week of April for all land-based properties with safe and easy access. For properties that are on a dramatic slope or have had significant ice accumulation over the winter, you may need to delay your first visit until conditions are safe. Depending on how frozen the ground is, groundskeeping services may be delayed but you can still get an idea of the work needed. You can also book your service ahead of time so that when the ground thaws, the team can get to work.
For water access cottages, as soon as you can get your boat in the water, the pros are ready to help! Upper Lakes Property Management recommends contacting your local marina for opening information so the team can better plan your first visit. The team advises that the sooner you can get up to your cottage, the better they can plan to help you!
What tasks are covered with cottage opening services?
Just like our everyday homes, each cottage has its own specific needs. The Upper Lakes Property Management team explains that the cottage’s location, age and type has a lot to do with the tasks that are needed. Additionally, whether the property is hooked up to municipal services or is independent will impact their services.
Common cottage opening services typically involve:
- Charging or activating systems such as water, sanitary, hydro, etc.
- Reviewing the overall health of the property
- Checking for potential damage to the roof, windows, ceilings, decks, stairs, docks, bunkhouses and boathouses
- Surveying the land for washouts, erosion and fallen trees
In addition to opening services, the team also provides scheduled services throughout the spring and summer. These services include tasks such as window cleaning, general handiwork, carpentry, power washing and groundskeeping.
What are the benefits of hiring cottage opening services?
Among the many benefits of hiring a dedicated cottage team the most important to their customers is peace of mind. Upper Lakes Property Management operates as a project manager of all your cottage needs. They are well experienced in their trades and have responsible teams on-site to support you. Whether this is with your cottage opening plan, or helping to identify, correct, advise and/or make repairs in real-time to your property. This saves you, the property owner, the hassle of trying to coordinate all of the trades by yourself, especially if you can’t always be at the cottage.
If you’re contemplating whether or not to hire professional cottage opening services, ask yourself this important question: How much do you want to take on as an owner? Realistically think about how much of your cottage time you want to spend crawling under decks, into crawlspaces and attics, walking on roofs, inspecting toilets and septic tanks or sewage ejectors. If your answer is none, then consider hiring a well-experienced team such as Upper Lakes Property Management to take on these tasks for you.
If safety or vandalism is a concern, Upper Lakes Property Management offers an exterior cottage watch program with up to four visits per month that provides property owners with extra reassurance. Pro tip: take photos of your property before closing as a reference and make note of where all of your keys, opening supplies, instructions, manuals, as well as insurance documents, have been stored.
What should homeowners look for in a company that provides cottage opening services when hiring?
Much like any other company, you want to do your research before you agree to hire them. Look online to find out how long the company has been in business, read their reviews to access their experience, and always make sure that they only work with accredited trades.
Upper Lakes Property Management cautions cottage owners to avoid companies that promise they can “do everything.” This is simply not true and a reputable company will hire different trades for each specific project. For example, it’s unlikely that one person can provide roofing services, electrical services and property management. Ideally, they will have relationships with skilled trades who are experienced experts in their fields.
When it comes to caring for your home away from home, you should invest in it like you would in your own home. Whether you need help cleaning up the outside of your property after a long and cold winter, or you want someone to take care of crawling under your deck for you, you can always reach out to the pros. Teams like Upper Lakes Property Management are focused on making your cottage experience as enjoyable as possible by doing the heavy work for you. If you’re getting ready for cottage season, be sure to connect with a well-reviewed and experienced team to help open your cottage.
Upper Lakes Property Management is a full-service maintenance provider for cottages, homes, multi-unit commercial and residential properties in the Muskoka Lakes region and surrounding area. With over 25 years of construction and maintenance experience, their team is equipped to respond promptly to your year-round needs. They are experts in looking after properties that undergo extreme freeze and thaw stresses and take great care to make them last and stay beautiful inside and out for a lifetime of enjoyment.