Abstract: Keats Island Home Inspection notes on site selection, seasonal use and owner improvements may affect buyers’ expectations, how they plan to use the property, how much time will have to be devoted to working weekends.
Island properties are special, not only for their location but also for the fact that they allow the owners an expression of building creativity which would not be possible in an urban setting. Here is my ‘Top 3’ list of issues:
- Site: Is the ground stable or is there evidence of a slide or movement? Is it on high ground or water logged? Have the trees and vegetation overtaken the buildings on site? Shaded sites are common on the island and may lead to disappointment for new owners if the expectaion was for a sun-drenched get-away.
- Occupancy: Is the structure built as a cabin, cottage or 4-season occupancy? Is there deterioration due to long periods of vacancy? Has the structure been converted to a full-time residence? How is freeze protection managed? Many properties were never built for winter use. Is your family willing to accept a limited season holiday destimation?
- Owner Improvements: To what standard were any repairs, renovations, new structures built? There is a broad spectrum of owners capabilities and attention to detail… how do those improvement affect occupancy health, safety and comfort? One of the pleasures of a cabin or cottage is that the owner has no one other than themselves to set the standards for repair or maintenance… or not. Island properties will range in physical condition from pristine to abandoned. Neglected properties do not age well and typically have a long list of deficiencies that a new owner will have to address.
A home inspector needs experience and judgement to treat these island dwellings fairly. It is important that the prospective buyer use a inspection firm with recreational property experience for a balanced report.