How to save the family cottage
Northern Michigan has been a beloved vacationing destination for many years. Families develop annual traditions, with each generation introducing the next to the beautiful countryside and artistic spirit found throughout the region. Frequently, a member or several members of the family decide to purchase a cottage, preserving the summer tradition for all the generations to come.
The family cottage has invaluable sentimental value; however, oftentimes it appreciates in financial value over the years. Over the last 40 years, the greater Grand Traverse region has become a premier national vacation destination. The local real estate market has seen near constant appreciation, which has accelerated to sometime outrageous rates since the housing bubble collapsed in 2008. It is not uncommon for a modest cabin, purchased or built in the 1960s, to now be worth in high six, or even seven figures, if it has a significant amount of frontage on the right lake. Finally, the vacation rental industry has exploded into a major economic factor. The family cottage may not only be an appreciable asset, it can become a significant source of revenue, if the owners so desire.
The significant value associated with a family cottage can become problematic after its ownership has been distributed amongst a number of family members after the death of the first generation. Subsequent generations may have less attachment to the Cottage. In some cases, new owners may financial constraints on how much they can contribute to the maintenance of the property. Other owners may see the property as an investment, rather than a vacation destination.