For its owner, his own summer cottage is usually one of the most beloved places in the world - whether it is a beach villa in the Turku archipelago or a dry country cottage in the middle of the Kainuu forest.
Unfortunately, memories of happy summer days cannot be turned into sales value. The harsh truth is that despite the emotional value, many Finnish cottages are not worth anything financially.
We asked the experts how to really proceed with the summer cottage in order to get the maximum financial benefit from it if one day you decide to sell it.
1. Take care of major repairs
At no point should the cottage be allowed to deteriorate. If the roof starts to leak, it quickly significantly affects the condition of the entire building.
Drainage from the roof must also be carried out, ie the eaves must be serviced regularly.
Sewers must be in good condition, as must moisture insulation that prevents water from entering the structures.
If a lot of wood is burned in the cottage, sweeping should be done every year, but at least every three years.
A traditional tire well should also be serviced by a professional at regular intervals.
2Wastewater system up to date
It is important that the cottage's wastewater system is implemented in accordance with the wastewater regulation. Otherwise, the renovation of thousands of euros will fall on the buyer's neck.
However, the outdoor toilet is not visited even among young people, SKV's real estate agent Seppo Väli-Klemelä points out. There are many good options available: composting toilet, dry toilet, freezer and incinerator.
3Consider the heating method
Electricity is an essential part of the equipment of a cottage for sale today. If it is not advisable to draw electricity all the way to the cottage, solar energy is a viable option - albeit insufficient for heating the cottage all year round.
As a form of heating, air source heat pumps or geothermal heat are particularly preferred, as they are considerably cheaper alternatives to electricity and oil.
4The new generation needs comfort
Currently, the most in demand are winter-friendly cottages with running water, a decent kitchen and other amenities.
According to Väli-Klemelä, young people do not need a summer cottage, which is a work camp. For them, the cottage is more and more often a base for going to sleep and sauna, and for going to hobbies or even partying.
5The beach plot is the most desirable
A beach plot can even double the value of a cottage, and beaches facing south-west in particular are the most sought after in the cottage market.
Instead, the hard-to-reach island cottage shares opinions strongly.
The beautiful beach is still not enough if the lake water is cloudy and the blue-green algae smells.
Väli-Klemelä also does not recommend clearing artificial ponds in the yard. If, after a sauna, the mind makes a dip in the water, for example, a lot is a better option than a ground pit that grows grass and collects mosquitoes.
6Release the light
Old cottages are often considered too dark by buyers. You should boldly fell the trees from the plot so that the sun’s rays reach the yard around the clock.
You can also catch the sun on the terraces. Terraces can be placed on both sides of the cottage.
7Clean the yard
Tapio Tervo, Chairman of the Board of the Leisure Residents' Association (VAAL), reminds that the cottage is not a landfill. If you want to get your summer cottage for sale, you should collect extra debris from the yard that has accumulated over the years, to which your own eye may have become accustomed.
The beautiful beach landscape is also not worth leaving behind the undergrowth, and pruning the beach reeds will increase your comfort right away.
Pruning all the extra vegetation is still not worth it, as the natural plot has always attracted buyers. Trees also provide protection from neighbors.
8Leave the surface repair to the new owner
It is usually not advisable to go for a major surface renovation for sale unless you happen to be particularly comfortable with your hands. New wallpaper or laminate flooring often increases the value of the cottage by no more than the amount spent on the renovation.
The repair should be left to the prospective buyer, who may carry it out to their own taste.
Finns are ready to drive a maximum of 200 kilometers to the cottage on weekends, and those living in the Helsinki metropolitan area live a little longer. At a distance of 20 km from the cottage you should also find at least some kind of convenience store.
Although the location of your cottage cannot be changed, for example, your own cottage road can often be affected. A decent road practically shortens the travel time to the cottage. Making the road isn’t even expensive, just a little bulldozer and gravel are needed.
Others also appreciate the fact that the cottage can be reached by public transport.
10Give up on time
A low-use cottage should be abandoned at a reasonable stage, especially if the offspring are unwilling to maintain the building.
- One day, though, I have to give up. It is often sensible to carry out a sale when it can still be done sensibly for everyone, says Jukka Rantanen, CEO of the real estate chain Sp-Kodi.
The cottage can be ruined as early as a year if it is not maintained at all.
- In a couple of three years, birch grows through the terrace and aspen through the chimney. Yes, nature takes over its own quickly, Tervo points out.
As many as tens of thousands of cottages in Finland are currently in danger of getting into such poor condition that the only option is to demolish them.
Tapio Tervo, Chairman of the Board of the Leisure Residents' Association (VAAL), Jukka Ranta, CEO of the real estate chain Sp-Kodi, and Seppo Väli-Klemela, SKV's real estate agent, have been interviewed for the story.
You can read more about matters related to retirement income in Ilta-Sanomat's special publication Secured Retirement Days.