What to Consider When Buying a Vacation Home

Monday Mar 12th, 2018

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With spring just a few weeks away, many people find themselves dreaming of their summer plans. For most Southern Ontarians, that means time at their favourite lake or resort up north, or even a rental down south. This is also the season when vacation home buyers look to make their move on a second property. 

If you've been thinking of buying a cottage, chalet or condo on the beach, here are four important questions to consider:

How often will you use it? 
Most vacation homes are within two hours of an owner's primary home. Any more travel time than that and you may find that you won't be able to make (or afford) the trip nearly as often as you thought.

How much will it cost? 
In addition to the purchase price, a vacation home will require annual property taxes, insurance, condo or maintenance fees, utilities, and maintenance services. For safety's sake, you may also require a security system or the additional cost of a property manager to check in on things when you are away. If you plan on buying a vacation home in another country, you'll also need to factor in exchange rates.

Will you rent it? 
Some vacation home buyers offset the cost of owning a second property by renting it out when they are not using it. But if you rely on the rental income to be able to afford monthly expenses on the home, you'll need to be confident in how much the property will bring in. The best way to know this is by speaking with local realtors or rental companies to find out occupancy rates and average lease costs in the area. Also, if you rent during your region's high season, it will limit how much time you and your family can enjoy the property.

How will you maintain it? 
Just like primary residences, vacation homes need year-round maintenance and upkeep. If you plan to do the work yourself, you'll have to devote at least some of your vacation time to tend to repairs or pay a contractor to do the work for you.

Buying a vacation home is an exciting prospect, but one you should embark on with care and consideration. As always, it's best to seek out the expertise of an experienced real estate sales representative who is knowledgeable about the local market, buying and selling trends, and available properties. 

To learn more about your options, please feel free to contact me, Deborah Clerk, to get started.


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