As Canadians, we know that there’s really no greater way to spend our spare time than up at the cottage. It’s one of our most cherished past times and a good old Canadian staple. If you’re keen on the idea of buying a cottage or vacation home for you and your family to enjoy, consider some of these tips before jumping into your purchase so you can feel confident that’s it’s the right way to go.
Dedicate Enough Time to Research
Buying a vacation property is a big decision. And it’s usually one that’s meant to stay in the family for many years down the road, so it’s important to choose wisely.
- Location matters. Ontario or Quebec? Do you want easy access within 90 minutes from home, or are you OK with a further distance for longer getaways?
- Lifestyle matters. Lakefront property is beautiful, but it costs more. Island property is amazing, but it’s harder to access. Do you want to be near a ski resort? Hiking trails? Do you prefer isolated, private property, or are you happy being in a community?
- Property type matters. Do you prefer a rustic, no-frills cabin, or a fully winterized vacation home with satellite TV and A/C?
This isn’t the type of purchase you should ever make on a whim. Start to focus your research and homework on figuring out and answering questions surrounding all of your wants, needs, and must-haves.
Be Realistic About This Purchase
Sure, maybe you love the idea of owning a vacation property out in Muskoka, but the price range might not be practical. Always be realistic about what you can afford and what will make the most amount of sense regarding the location, along with your lifestyle.
If you have kids, you’ll need a kid-friendly area maybe with a more lively neighbourhood. Or if you prefer a quiet oasis, make sure the area you’re looking in isn’t a popular party destination once the summer hits.
Make Sure It’s a Worthy Investment
When you find a property that you think might be “the one”, make sure that’s it’s a worthy investment. Try to rent it out for a week or so to get a feel for the place and area. You should also consider and reflect on the answers to questions such as these:
- Will this be a seasonal property or one that can be used any time of the year?
- Is it easily accessible, and a short enough distance away from your home to be used frequently?
- Does it have essentials covered, such as a functioning sewage system, running water, maintained roads year-round?
- If it’s on a waterfront, can you build or expand the dock and surrounding areas?
- Will it require some serious maintenance and upgrades, and if so, can you afford them?
- What’s the projection of the market for the area and property? Will it appreciate?
Going over each of these scenarios and questions can help you paint a much clearer (and more confident) picture about whether this is or is not a good investment to make.
The most important factors to always keep in mind when you’re buying a vacation property is your budget, and if it will be worth your time, money, and effort. Never rush into this purchase, and spend enough time researching the market, along with your specific wants and needs so you can be sure that it’s a wise investment that you and the family will enjoy for many years to come.
Dreaming of vacations by the lake? Talk to The Mortgage Advisors about our mortgage options for vacation properties and second homes.