Should You Make a Summer Real Estate Purchase in Norfolk County?

Why not buy summer real estate in Norfolk County? Beaches, boating, beautiful rural settings, and an abundance of activities are what bring visitors to the area. Small town living, a slower pace, and affordability are why they choose to stay.

As July settles in, days are longer, nights are warmer, and the summer real estate season is in full swing. Norfolk County is buzzing with the excitement of the many festivals, events, and lakeside vacation destinations that draw visitors from all over while encouraging locals to “staycation” in their own backyards. It’s a time where you will (finally) see more For Sale signs popping up in towns and rural areas giving some relief to buyers who have been struggling with a lack of inventory in most price ranges and housing types.

But before you put pen to paper (or e-sign which is a lifesaver!), there are definitely some important items to consider when purchasing in the area, such as zoning, water supply, school bus routes, bylaws, and subdivision covenants.

Zoning and Water Supply

While a homeowner may live at a property year round, that doesn’t necessarily make it a “legal” use. It’s quite possible, especially for winterized cottages, that the proper use of the dwelling is seasonal, which means you are required to have a second home that you live in the rest of the year. While the discussion is on cottages, the water supply is something that would be top of the list to discover before your purchase. Many vacation homes have cisterns (which require a delivery of water), wells (that you will want to test for potability each year), or seasonal water that is at a cost per year but is only available between certain dates (usually April to October). If you are considering a visit in the “off-season,” you will want to find out if the access road is county maintained or if the owners along the lane pitch in and have it snow-plowed privately.

Schools and Bus Routes

As a visitor to Norfolk County who has fallen in love and wants to move their family here full time, it is a “must” to do your homework first when it comes to public, Catholic, and French school choices as well as bus routes. Each community has different offerings when it comes to your children’s education and transportation, so the best thing to do is contact a local Realtor® who can point you in the right direction.

Subdivision Covenants and Bylaws

Though this area is known for its beautiful farmland and rural hamlets, most small towns now are also home to gleaming newer subdivisions with recently built homes and low maintenance options — just in case your DIY ambitions are a thing of the past. What you need to know is that they look this way because of “covenants” or rules imposed by the developer to keep the neighbourhood neat and tidy. Some examples of good neighbour rules are that you can’t park boats or trailers year-round in your driveway, you must plant a tree in your front yard, and you need to finish your driveway surface within a year after moving in. Is a pool a must? Be sure to look at the covenants and County bylaws to be sure your dream home allows for it.

Get to Know Norfolk County

Norfolk County is known as “Ontario’s Garden” (as you can see for yourself in this short video) offering fresh produce that some would say is unmatched. It offers something for everyone and is definitely a place that welcomes visitors, and new residents, with open arms. Start your Norfolk County search online and then contact a local professional to start shopping — this might just be your year to buy summer real estate!


Melissa Mummery is a full time, licensed Salesperson with CB Coastline Realty Brokerage in Port Dover, Ont., Canada. She has been in real estate 8 years with an extensive background in customer service. Melissa is a busy mom of 4 daughters and is very involved as a volunteer within both her daughters' school, her community and her local Real Estate Board. She had earned her SRES®, ABR® and SRS® designations as well as being Smart Home Certified (which she did at Gen Blue in Miami while serving on the Social Squad). This busy  mom is active on social media and is known as someone who is the "go to" for all things local.

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