Thinking about Buying a Cottage or Vacation Home?

Buying a cottage or vacation home for you and your family can be one of the best decisions you make, but it could also cause you the most headaches if you don’t give it lots of thought first.

When you are considering buying a cottage, your first decision must be whether you intend to buy this only for your personal use, or if you intend to possibly use it as an investment, renting it out when you and your family are not using it. This initial decision will help you decide where you want to buy. If you intend to rent it, you will want one near popular areas, with close proximity to amenities. If you intend it for your sole use, you are free to locate exactly where you want to be, even if that if the middle of nowhere.
Also, when buying for your own use, consider your lifestyle, will you be having lots of visitors? Will you entertain frequently? Do you have certain activities you want to be close to? These are just a few of the things to consider before you jump into buying.

When you start to look at properties, don’t get carried away by all that is available. Make sure you set a budget, and stick to it. Just because you have the down payment doesn’t mean you want to pay the mortgage costs. You want to enjoy this vacation property, not worry about what it’s costing you. You might even consider a family property. Maybe you have brothers/sisters or friends who would like to pool resources and buy a vacation home. If you decide to go this route, keep in mind that the amenities you are looking for will change if you are all at the cottage at the same time.

Another consideration is where do you want to buy. Consider how far and how long you want to travel to reach your property. Consider how long you will be staying at your property, and is it worth the time to get there if it’s just for weekends.

When you have decided where you want to locate, decide if you are looking for a house or if a condo would better meet your needs. If you are looking to get away from it all and have no maintenance to worry about, a condo might be your best choice. If you are buying this property for investment purposes, be sure if you chose a condo that you are permitted to rent the unit. (you should check the rules for any other restrictions that might affect your enjoyment or that of your tenants).

Before you buy, be sure you are buying a vacation property for the right reasons. Don’t buy on impulse. Just because you are enjoying a vacation at someone else’s cottage does not mean it is the right decision for you. Think it through carefully. This could be a large investment, and the real estate market can be fickle, especially with vacation homes. The market is not the same year round, or even year to year.

When you decide a vacation home is the right purchase for you, talk to your banker, and your real estate professional. Get some good advice on what is available, and also on how to finance your purchase to your best advantage.

If you have any experiences you would like to share, please add your comments below!

Is Condo Living Right for You?

Deciding to live in a condominium is not just a decision on type of ownership, it is a lifestyle choice.

When you are ready to buy your next home (or first home for that matter) one of the many choices you will make is whether to live in a condominium or a freehold. Both of these choices offer many amenities, you just need to determine which is the best fit for your lifestyle.

A condominium offers a low maintenance choice. You pay a monthly fee to have all or some of your outside maintenance taken care of, the building maintained and the maintenance of the shared use areas, such as gardens, swimming pools, games rooms and more. Some condominiums also include utility expenses in the monthly fee. This can be the ideal choice for people who love to travel and want to feel they can just close the door and not worry while they are away. Condominiums are also great for active people who want to participate in activities, such as tennis, lawn bowling, swimming, bridge and more, as many of the newer condominiums have been built with this active owner in mind. They truly are communities of individuals with shared interests. There are condominiums built in all price ranges and styles, townhouses, apartments, detached homes and more. If you are looking for this type of lifestyle, there no doubt is a condominium that will provide all you are looking for.

Freehold living offers a different range of amenities. Freeholds can also be townhouses, semi-detached, row houses, detached and more. With a freehold, the owner is responsible for the maintenance of the home and property, upkeep and repair. As the owner, you can do what you like with the house and property (within the limits of the local bylaws), such as build fences and decks, put in a pool, build on an addition, or change the look of the exterior however you wish. Freehold living is not quite so easy to just close the door and leave. If you want to go away, you must be sure the grass is being cut or the snow being shoveled.

I have lived in both condominiums and in freehold homes. Each suited my lifestyle at the particular time in my life. There is no better choice – just the right choice at the time.

The Hamilton and area real estate market has a wide variety of condominium and freehold choices. When you are in the initial stages of buying, be sure to review all your options. The right property is out there, you just have to work with your sales rep to focus on what you want, and get everything in order so when you find it, you are ready to make the offer!