With summer almost upon us, people are getting ready to head up to cottage country on the weekends and during their vacations.  Many people rent cottages or do the camping thing, but it’s probably the dream of just about every Canadian to own their own little piece of lakefront (or beachfront) heaven.  Here’s some information that you can feel free to use in your own blog to share with your clients about what they need to know when in the market for a vacation property.

Buying an everyday home and buying a vacation home can be very different experiences.  Your main residential home is obviously much more of a necessity than a vacation home and there are many things to consider over and above the obvious when buying a vacation home.  Here are some tips and general things you might want to consider when purchasing a vacation property.      

1. Where to Buy – Ontario cottage country is gorgeous, but there are so many places the world over that would be ideal locations for the perfect vacation home.  If you’re a sun worshipper, obviously you won’t be able to use the home in Muskoka in January to get a tan.  You are therefore the type of person who would fare better with a property in a more tropical climate, let’s say, the Caribbean or somewhere in the Southern United States.  With the Canadian dollar being as strong as it is these days, many Canadians are looking to purchase in the U.S. right now.

But, if you want something closer to home that you don’t need to jump on an airplane to visit, Ontario does have some beautiful destinations, like Muskoka or the Kawarthas.  The advantage to buying locally is obviously that you can visit more often and really get your money’s worth out of buying a vacation property.

2. What Your Intentions Are – Sure, it’s great to kick back in your own vacation property, but there are plenty of people out there that want to purchase something solely as an investment property, or, as both a place to kick back and as a place to rent out when they’re not using it.  So, you need to make a realistic decision with regard to what you’ll be doing with the place, because your wish list, or the list of things that you require, could be very different if you will be the only one using the place compared with if you will be renting it out.  The size, for example – if you have a large family and you plan to be there with everyone most weekends and holidays, you might want to consider more space than if you’ll only be going there a few times a year and renting it out the rest of the time.

3. What You Can Realistically Afford – As with any major purchase, you have to take a long, hard look at your finances and be honest with yourself about what you can really afford to spend on something of this magnitude.  Other considerations:  Is your primary home paid off?  Have you thought about the operating costs of another property?  If you are considering buying in a foreign market, ensure that you do your homework with respect to tax implications and hidden costs & fees.

4. How Well You Know the Area – It’s all well and good to spend a couple of days here or a couple of weeks there at your favorite destination.  But, before you buy, it’s a very good idea to really check the area out.  Explore and ask a lot of questions.  Talk to neighbors and local dwellers.  What kinds of amenities are close by?  What is the local hospital like?  Is there a good veterinarian around?  You get the picture.  Once you purchase a property, you’ll likely be spending a lot of time there.  You don’t want any unwelcome surprises – it’s a vacation home – you want to enjoy it!

5. Pooling of Resources – A lot of people do it and it can mean the difference between being able to afford something really spectacular compared with something that you can’t wait to leave at the end of a long weekend.  Consider buying jointly with a friend or family member – for some, it’s the only affordable way to do it.  Buying jointly, however, can open up a whole other can of worms, so to speak, if all scenarios and considerations aren’t ironed out prior to signing the papers.  There will obviously be a lot to talk through and agree upon in this case, but it can be done as long as everyone is on the same page.

6. A Deal’s Not Always a Deal – We’ve all heard the expression, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.  Just as with buying your primary residence, it’s imperative to know what you’re getting into when buying a vacation property.   It might look like a great deal that just needs a bit of sprucing up – but make sure you check under the hood.  Just as you would for your primary home, make sure that you have the place inspected by a reputable home inspector.


About online - e - realty

Doug Mack has been providing consulting and training services to the real estate industry since 2006. Specializing in computer related services and tools, Doug is the owner of DM & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in training and computer services to real estate, insurance and mortgage groups. Recently Doug founded online e realty, a firm specializing in Social Media.
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