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Old October 15th, 2012, 09:14 AM   #1
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Default Cottage opinions

Growing up all my realatives and alot of friends all had cottages, up north, silver lake, Houghton lake etc. It seemed everyone was always going up to their or families cottages. But growing up in a single parent home my mom could not affored one and had no intrest in going when we were invited.
Recently finacial things have change . My wife is making good money and we have a some money to do somthing. Now we have looked at trave trailers and we had a blast the summer we had it. I was forced to sell it when I was off work with a injury.
Well the other day i was contacted by a friend about a cottage he has for sale. The cottage is only 20min from me on a canal on Wixom lake. Wixom lake is a great all around lake and the cottage is very nice and priced right. On one hand the cottage is nice and close so we can use it at anytime. But on the other hand do I want a cottage that close?
Also I looked at a place in Au Gres. It is a super cool place on a canal that leads out to Saginaw bay/Lake Huron. We have vacationed up that way last year and it is very nice. We currently do not own a boat but will buy one when we decide what we are going to do.
I just do not know what would be better? A cottage close by and a pontoon tied up at the dock. Just walk down to the dock jump on the pontoon and go.
I do not have alot of experince going out on the bay. Is there anyone here who has a place /boat on the bay or Lake ?
Or do I just buy a Travel trailer and go where ever I want. My only issue with that is trying to find spots during busy times .
A thing to keep in mind is with my back injury launching and loading a boat on a trailer is not something easy for me.
So OK guys/gals a cottage close by on a inland all sports lake. A cottage on a canal that leads to Lake Huron about 1hr from me. Or look at a trave trailer and a boat I can try and lauch myself ( issue is unless I have a 5th wheel trailer taking both trailer and boat is a pain.
On the going out on the bay is that fun for the family other than fishing?

Sorry for the long post. Just want to finally do something for the family to enjoy .
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Old October 15th, 2012, 09:25 AM   #2
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Don't have advise on where.If you do get one close you could do weekend/weekly rentals on it, when you don't plan on using it. But close enough to check on it. If you get the right renters they take the same week/ends, year after year. My neighbor bought a cabin on the lake they had the same clients for years. Never had a rental nightmare. Just open from end of may till early sept, pays for the mortgage for the year. And they still get about one week a months use too.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 09:30 AM   #3
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I would vote for the cottage closer to home on Wixom lake.

You can still get away for the weekend and go relax at the lake, but you could also swing by and use it on week nights during the summer when time allows as well.

Also, inland lake = cheaper to use.

Great lakes = more potential rough water, bigger boat needed, etc.

Also from a fishing standpoint the equipment needed to do a little blue gill fishing, bass fishing, etc. from a recreational user persepctive is a lot cheaper then some of the equipment needed to do some big water fishing.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 09:35 AM   #4
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After a few trips up north to the Sleeping Bear and Traverse City area over the past couple of years, my wife and I were seriously considering a cottage out that way but ultimately decided against it because we don't like the idea of having to sit in the car for 4 hours to get there. I know that is not that long of a drive in the grand scheme of things but when I go away for a weekend, I like being there not driving there. I think part of the problem is that I just hate using my vacation days for anything - I like hording them and watching them build up!

My in-laws have a house with nearly 200' of frontage on Lake Huron just a couple miles north of the Blue Water Bridge that we have access to whenever we like (they are only there about 3 months of the year). It's not ideal if we want to go for a hike on some trails or really get that Up North feel, but we can be there in about an hour (and more importantly, it's free for us!) so we've decided to just keep using that for now.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 09:37 AM   #5
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I agree with kickstand. We had a cabin 30min away when I was a kids. My favorite times where going our there anytime it was nice out, or just for an overnight stay. It seemed so far away as a kid.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 09:39 AM   #6
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When we bought out place up north our criteria was a 2 hour limit. Unfortunately for us, in order to get north of the flat farm land, we had to settle on closer to 2 1/2. I agree with the others, a long drive will diminish the amount you will enjoy your place. At one time we were looking strongly at Silver Lake but we can't make that trip in less than 4 hours. We decided we would rarely use it.

With having a shorter drive, we even go to our place for the day. Leave at 7:00am, get there by 9:30, enjoy the day and be home by 8:00.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:09 AM   #7
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My family has a place on Wixom lake, and we love it. The lake is big enough to go out and spend hours cruising, but small enough that you can take just about anything out on it. Where exactly is the cabin your looking at? We checked out a lot of places on canals, and I'm REALLY glad we didn't buy any of them. The canals are pretty shallow, although you probably wouldn't have an issue with a toon, we couldn't get a 19' bow rider down a few we almost bought on. We ended up buying a place on the main lake for less then we were looking at spending on a canal. (~100k range)

Let me know if you want to know anything about the lake!



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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:11 AM   #8
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I'm from AuGres and the in-laws have a house on Saginaw Bay by Point AuGres. We are there just about every weekend. The fishing there has been great, and this summer I spent more time on the water than I ever have.

That being said, I would vote for the inland lake.

If we get an east/northeast wind more than 7-10 mph, the bay/lake is useless for us (19' bow-rider). It's too rough to enjoy. You mentioned your back problems. I know a couple people that suffer from them, and they avoid going out on the lake at all costs.

You would, in my opinion, get more boat time on Wixom Lake. Being closer to home is a plus, too. Mid week outdoor activities are easier and more convenient.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:15 AM   #9
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Thanks Guys. I was leaning towards Wixom Lake myself but my wife loved the other place. We also really like going up towards tawas.
I am retired for now and my wife is a Hospice nurse and she covers Midland/Saginaw and Mt pleasant area. So at Wixom lake we could stay anytime. The cottage its self is just a nice 2 bedroom 1000sqft basc house with a two car garage and big yard. Not a real cottage feel just a year round house. The plus is it is vynal sided,newer roof , nice garage, 120' across lot (plenty of pole barn or house addition rm) and it has a sea wal with a 3' wide dock that runs the whole 120'.
The other cottage is 1 hr away and the inside is done up extremly cool. 100% cottage. It is completly furnished and has a nice deck and dock that over looks the canal. It is a very short trip into the bay. I looked at a couple bigger boats a couple years ago and loved the set ups. I wanted to buy one and leave it at the Marina in Bay city but was not secure enough with my income at the time.
Does anyone have a boat that they go out in the bay with? Do you enjoy it?
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:17 AM   #10
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:18 AM   #11
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regardless of where you end up, consider it a second set of property responsibilities. lawn to mow, plumbing to fix, exterior maintenance, boat / dock expense, storage, insurance, etc. AND do you buy a seperate set of items for the cottage or load the van up each trip with lawn mower, weed wacker, chainsaw, tools, clothing, flowers yada yada. who's going to keep an eye on it in the winter and how do you winterize it?

on the other hand our kids grew up at the cottage for about 12 summers. made lots of friends they still cherish. and the memories are an added plus.

the toughest part is deciding if and when to part with the property.

would it be cheaper for you top rent a place for all / part of the summer and not have the tax, liability, insurance, maintenance responsibilities and costs? this allows you to travel whenever you want. i have spent every memorial day, july 4th and labor day at the same lake for *xx* years. am still unsure if i've missed anything by not travelling out west over the summers.

much to consider young grasshopper!
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:21 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by RivMan View Post
My family has a place on Wixom lake, and we love it. The lake is big enough to go out and spend hours cruising, but small enough that you can take just about anything out on it. Where exactly is the cabin your looking at? We checked out a lot of places on canals, and I'm REALLY glad we didn't buy any of them. The canals are pretty shallow, although you probably wouldn't have an issue with a toon, we couldn't get a 19' bow rider down a few we almost bought on. We ended up buying a place on the main lake for less then we were looking at spending on a canal. (~100k range)

Let me know if you want to know anything about the lake!



-Rob
I am looking at one that is on a deep canal up near Albright shores. I would love to be right on the lake but cant affored that. I would sell the house we are in now so we could buy right on the lake but my 6yr old is in 2nd grade in Midland and loves it. I would hate to pull him and send him somewhere else.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:21 AM   #13
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Only downside to vacation property is maintenance on two properties, and the taxes will be higher on your second property. From the maintenance standpoint, having a cabin close is a plus.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:26 AM   #14
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Not to derail your thread so sorry in advance, but have you considered upgrading your primary home to have the same things that make you want to have a cottage? I work with a lot of people who live out farther from work than I do, but they are on lakes. They say it is like being on vacation everyday when you get home. I have thought about getting a cottage but have been more seriously thinking about moving onto a lake so I have the benefits all summer long. I may have a different view on this though because we work so much that going away for a weekend is really a huge chore for us.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:42 AM   #15
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I am looking at one that is on a deep canal up near Albright shores. I would love to be right on the lake but cant affored that. I would sell the house we are in now so we could buy right on the lake but my 6yr old is in 2nd grade in Midland and loves it. I would hate to pull him and send him somewhere else.
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Not to derail your thread so sorry in advance, but have you considered upgrading your primary home to have the same things that make you want to have a cottage? I work with a lot of people who live out farther from work than I do, but they are on lakes. They say it is like being on vacation everyday when you get home. I have thought about getting a cottage but have been more seriously thinking about moving onto a lake so I have the benefits all summer long. I may have a different view on this though because we work so much that going away for a weekend is really a huge chore for us.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:43 AM   #16
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Not to derail your thread so sorry in advance, but have you considered upgrading your primary home to have the same things that make you want to have a cottage? I work with a lot of people who live out farther from work than I do, but they are on lakes. They say it is like being on vacation everyday when you get home. I have thought about getting a cottage but have been more seriously thinking about moving onto a lake so I have the benefits all summer long. I may have a different view on this though because we work so much that going away for a weekend is really a huge chore for us.
this, in a nutshell is why we never purchased a place up by the inlaws summer home. (Canadian Lakes area)

while we still don't live on the lake, and while I still don't have my dream 200 acres with a moat around it - both would be more reasonable of an expense than owning and maintaining two separate properties - especially with the 2nd having non-homestead property taxes.

of course, for us, all of those discussions took place before our oldest got involved in travel baseball - so that eats up any realistic time to spend at a cottage up north anyway.

if lakefront living and playing is the main desire, there are quite a few marina's where you can dock your boat for the summer for less than the typical property tax bill on a lake-front home.

good friends of ours do exactly that, they leave their boat moored on Silver Lake (the one in linden/fenton), and just rent a place when they feel like heading up north, or down south, or out west, or... well ya' get the idea.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:44 AM   #17
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I'm from AuGres and the in-laws have a house on Saginaw Bay by Point AuGres. We are there just about every weekend. The fishing there has been great, and this summer I spent more time on the water than I ever have.

That being said, I would vote for the inland lake.

If we get an east/northeast wind more than 7-10 mph, the bay/lake is useless for us (19' bow-rider). It's too rough to enjoy. You mentioned your back problems. I know a couple people that suffer from them, and they avoid going out on the lake at all costs.

You would, in my opinion, get more boat time on Wixom Lake. Being closer to home is a plus, too. Mid week outdoor activities are easier and more convenient.
I looked at a 24' cruise r that was nice and I really liked the Trophy boats. I guess the times I went out on the Bay I had smaller boats but the weather was nice. I always thought it would be cool to go up the shoreline staying at different marinas on the way. I looked at that book on all the marinas and that looks like a blast. But I have never done it so I need some advice on that??? Also with a bigger boat I could put it in at Ludington as my friend runs two marinas there.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:47 AM   #18
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Only downside to vacation property is maintenance on two properties, and the taxes will be higher on your second property. From the maintenance standpoint, having a cabin close is a plus.
x20000000000 with Bloomule. Extra maintenance on the property is hard especially when its hours away. I have a buddy who has property in the UP, but its a 6 hours drive and you burn a whole day driving so they rarely go. On the other hand I have had a cottage in my family for decades and we love it, someone is there every weekend. Its only 20 mins from my parts house so it isnt a big deal to run home, perfect IMO. When I lived in Lansing it was about 1hr 15 mins away and still wasnt bad. I would say go with the close one. Even though its close, when you are there it will still feel like you got "away".
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:55 AM   #19
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[QUOTE=RyeBread;3187738]this, in a nutshell is why we never purchased a place up by the inlaws summer home. (Canadian Lakes area)

while we still don't live on the lake, and while I still don't have my dream 200 acres with a moat around it - both would be more reasonable of an expense than owning and maintaining two separate properties - especially with the 2nd having non-homestead property taxes.

of course, for us, all of those discussions took place before our oldest got involved in travel baseball - so that eats up any realistic time to spend at a cottage up north anyway.

if lakefront living and playing is the main desire, there are quite a few marina's where you can dock your boat for the summer for less than the typical property tax bill on a lake-front home.

I have considered that also. I struggle as my 6yr old is a home body who hates to have to go places. I thought with a cottage he could bring a friend, and or bring alot of his stuff with him. I just posted I had thought of doing this in Bay city as it is a quick trip. Also I have a friend that runs two marinas in Ludington. I guess I should look into buying a big enough boat I could leave in the marina and use it as a floating travel trailer. The marina in Ludington has a pool,recroom,laundry facilities etc..etc.. and is less than 2 hrs straight west on US10. Bay city is only 25-30 min. Wixom lake 10-15min and even Houghton/Higgens lakes are within an hour. So lots of choices for places to go just need to decide on cottage,trailer, big boat in the marina or small boat ...
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Old October 15th, 2012, 10:59 AM   #20
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x20000000000 with Bloomule. Extra maintenance on the property is hard especially when its hours away. I have a buddy who has property in the UP, but its a 6 hours drive and you burn a whole day driving so they rarely go. On the other hand I have had a cottage in my family for decades and we love it, someone is there every weekend. Its only 20 mins from my parts house so it isnt a big deal to run home, perfect IMO. When I lived in Lansing it was about 1hr 15 mins away and still wasnt bad. I would say go with the close one. Even though its close, when you are there it will still feel like you got "away".
Yes this is a concern as I cant do much maint on my own with my health. The one place at Wixom was all remodeled in 2003. But there is ysrd work etc I would have to pay for.
I know my brither inlaw and many others that drive hours north every weekend to just work on their cabins than rush home sunday to get their yard work done at home.
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