Renting a cottage for the first time?

10 questions to ask before you rent a cottage. Take a look at some pointers to make your first time renting run smoothly.

Worried about renting a cottage? While for the most part there’s no need to worry, there are common concerns that cause renters (especially first-time renters) to hesitate before taking the plunge. Here are 10 of the most common questions cottage renters have and ways to get the answers you need.

1. What if the cottage is nothing like it looks in the photos?
To ease this concern, make sure you choose a cottage that’s listed with plenty of good-quality photos of the inside, outside and lakeside. Be sure to ask the owner plenty of questions to ensure you understand the details of the listing correctly. Check the cottage ratings or reviews, if available. Or you could always rent a place your friends or family have rented in the past.

2. What if it’s not childproofed?
Make sure you bring your own childproofing equipment, such as plug holders and a playpen, just to be on the safe side. And talk to the cottage owner so you know what to expect and what to bring.

3. Is the water safe to drink?
Take this concern up with your cottage owner, and be prepared to bring your own water.

4. What if the cottage isn’t clean?
Again, speak to the owner prior to renting and voice this concern. Choose a property that hires a cleaning service between renter stays, and purchase cleaning supplies if, for whatever reason, none are available upon arrival.

5. It’s a lot of money. What if I have to cancel my rental?
Prior to renting the cottage, make sure the owner has a good cancellation policy.

6. I have work to do. What if there’s no Internet access?
One option would be to contact your wireless provider and purchase a rocket stick.

7. What if the neighbours are noisy?
This is rare in cottage country, and generally out of the cottage owners’ control - much like the weather, the bugs and the lake temperature. Talk to the owner about possible construction in the area to ease your mind. Otherwise, ear plugs?

8. What if it rains the whole time, and we’re stuck inside?
Cottage life isn’t limited to the outdoors. Good quality time can be had indoors without the usual urban distractions. Pull out some board games, curl up with a good novel, and if there’s a DVD player, pop in a movie.

9. What if there’s an emergency or we have difficulty with key appliances?
Make sure you have good communication with the cottage owner during the rental process and that he or she returns emails or phone calls promptly. If possible, ensure that the owner will be this communicative during the rental period. Also, make sure emergency and service phone numbers are included in your welcome manual.

10. What do I need to bring?
Often cottages have everything you need, from linens to towels, life jackets and cleaning supplies, but asking the owner about what’s there is a good idea. Before you leave, create a checklist of necessities (and luxuries) you want to bring, and just relax: you may be in the wilderness, but there’s usually a convenience store minutes away. A good welcome manual will have easy-to-follow directions to the nearest town, and you could always explore the area in person or online beforehand.

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