With a boathouse like this, who needs a cottage? Oh, to have an income property in the Muskokas... Photography by Gary J. Wood/Numinosity.I spend an appalling chunk of my Saturday mornings browsing the properties on HomeAway. And in addition to critiquing the staging of the vacation rentals, I have been known, on occasion, to book a handsome-looking home for my holidays. Although I've always just been on the "tenant" side of this equation, an increasing number of Canadians are investing in cottages and cabins as income properties. But what exactly do you need to take into consideration before plunking your listing on HomeAway and raking in the dough from the likes of me? The folks at RSA Canada, the country's leading home, auto and commercial insurer, have pulled together four key questions you need to ask yourself before putting your summer retreat on the rental market: 1. Are you insured? Be sure that you have appropriate coverage to rent out your seasonal home, as not every policy allows for it. 2. Did you take stock of the cottage's contents? Keep an inventory of items in the cottage. Run through the checklist immediately after tenants leave to ensure things haven't gone missing. 3. Did you get references? Don't be afraid to ask even short-term tenants for references. Make sure they have their own insurance policy for contents and liability, just in case. 4. Is the property safe? Fix broken steps or tripping hazards; ensure fixtures and fittings are safe and in working order; and test smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers. Likewise, make sure to deadbolt door locks and windows to deter intruders when the property is unoccupied. Follow me on Twitter!