In 2018, two sisters bought this Haliburton cottage for $425,000. They just sold it for $930,000

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In 2018, two sisters bought this Haliburton cottage for $425,000. They just sold it for $930,000

Township: Minden Hills
Agent: Andrew Smyth, Sutton Group Old Mill Realty Inc.
Previously sold for: $425,000, in 2018, prior to renovations

The property

A three-bed, three-bath cottage on Little Boshkung Lake, a 20-minute drive from Haliburton. The recently renovated 1,100-square-foot getaway sits on a woodsy 1.5-acre lot, with more than 120 feet of waterfront and a couple of docks.

The sellers

Amanda Smyth, 37, a real estate lawyer; and her sister Carrie Mason, 34, a real estate investor

The history

In 2016, Amanda and her husband Andrew Smyth, who live in Etobicoke, purchased a cottage on Little Boshkung Lake, about 15 minutes from the town of Minden, where Andrew cottaged for much of his life. In the summer of 2018, while out for a walk, Amanda spotted a for-sale sign for a two-bed, one-bath on the same lake, just a few doors down from their place. Around that time, her younger sister Carrie was interested in purchasing a cottage, too. Carrie, who lives in downtown Toronto, wanted a place she could flip for profit or use in the summer with family and friends, then rent out for the rest of the year. But to make it rent-worthy, the place—built in 1968—would require some work. It had low ceilings, decrepit wood paneling and stained green carpet throughout. Still, the sisters saw the potential. It was located in a popular part of cottage country, just a 45-minute drive from Lake Muskoka, and sat on a uniquely large 1.5-acre lot with ample waterfront.

Later that summer, they pooled their money and bought it for $425,000. Renovations began in the spring of 2019. Inside, Carrie wanted a clean, clutter-free space, so she commissioned a Scandinavian-inspired interior with white shiplap walls, light wood flooring and lots of natural light. They renovated the kitchen, raised the ceilings to 14 feet and re-jigged the floorplan to add an additional bedroom and bathroom, among other upgrades.

In January 2020, the place was nearly ready. Over the next eight months, the sisters used the cottage themselves and completed finishing touches, adding a fresh coppertone paint job on the exterior and new interior furniture sourced from Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. Over the summer, they watched the cottage market boom during the Covid-19 pandemic, driven by Torontonians fleeing the city. They decided to flip it for a profit instead of keeping it as a family property.

In September, the sisters enlisted Andrew, a realtor, to market and sell the property. On September 18, he slapped it on MLS for $899,000, taking into account the cost of renovations and comparable sales in the area, with an offer date set for the following weekend.

The sale

In September 2019, a couple from downtown Toronto started looking for a cottage. They had spent years renting properties in the Haliburton area during the summer and were eager to buy their own. Their ideal place: a winterized two-bed, one-bath with a sunset-facing dock and easy water access, ideally for less than $1 million. But they weren’t having any luck. After stopping their search over the winter, they started looking again in April 2020, with lockdown providing added incentive to escape the city. They submitted offers on five cottages in the Minden and Haliburton area—but lost out each time.

On Sunday, September 20, they visited the Little Boshkung Lake cottage, which checked every box. Plus, it had newly renovated interiors, making it move-in ready. They particularly liked the 120-plus feet of waterfront. That same weekend, there were 19 viewings and one conditional bully offer on the table. Hoping to pin down this property, they submitted their own pre-emptive offer of $30,000 over asking, with no conditions. The sellers, Amanda and Carrie, gladly accepted.

Amanda and Carrie will use the cottage with family until the end of November, when the sale officially closes. They hope to invest the money into another cottage flip. While Amanda and Andrew still have their cottage nearby, they’ve considered putting it on the market, too, to cash out and look for a bigger property. Meanwhile, the buyers plan to spend some of the winter at their new place, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing at nearby Twin Lakes. Before next year, they intend to purchase canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, to make for an active summer on the water.

The tour

Here’s the driveway to the cottage, which sits on 1.5 acres of land:

The sellers hired Painted by Jane, a Haliburton painter, to re-finish the exterior of the cottage with coppertone paint:

Inside, there’s oak laminate flooring and beadboard-panel walls:

There are quartz countertops in the kitchen. Carrie chose black cabinetry to contrast the bright Scandinavian aesthetic:

The dining room has 14-foot vaulted ceilings:

In the living room, there’s a wood-burning stove, which the sellers moved over from the kitchen area:

The window in the TV room looks out onto the front lawn:

Here’s the 125-square-foot master bedroom:

The ensuite bathroom has a porcelain-tile shower:

There are triangle shelves in the second bedroom. The sellers got those from their cousin’s husband, an artist named Nathan Brady:

The third bedroom:

Here’s the main bathroom:

Outside, the sellers added wood chips to create a picnic area:

There’s a stone firepit on the east side of the property:

Here’s the first of two docks. This one, which the sellers sanded and repainted, gets removed every winter to avoid ice damage:

The second dock sits next to the single slip boathouse, which has a ramp big enough for a Jet Ski:

Here’s a view from the water:

By the numbers
  • $929,000
  • $2,701 in taxes
  • 1,128 square feet
  • 3 days on MLS
  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2 bathroom
  • 3 parking spaces