Location, Location, Location! — Consider the factors that will increase the price of either renting or buying: proximity to the city, style and size, location on or near the water.
Nearby Amenities — Decide what amenities are important to you. Are you interested in being close to a small community complete with a grocery store, or is boat-only access in the remote wilderness more your style?
Wildlife Considerations — Research the area to find out if there are any wildlife problems. Are you going into bear country where food and garbage need to be locked down? Is there a rodent problem in that particular area?
Seasonal Fire Restrictions — Check to see if there are any seasonal fire restrictions, especially if your idea of a getaway includes telling ghost stories and roasting marshmallows around a campfire.
Neighborhood Considerations — Do a little research into the neighborhood. Does the area you are considering attract a lot of young partygoers, or will the constant drone of motorized watercraft ruin your tranquil lakeside retreat?
Wish List — Divide your wish list into must-haves and nice-to-haves so you know where you are willing to compromise. Are you looking for a luxury home on a lake or an off-the-grid cabin in the woods?