Many people dream about having their very own recreational property, especially in Ontario where the nature is irresistible. The nice scenic views, the water and the mountains appeal to buyers who enjoy having their own “hideout” in some pure natural surroundings. From chalets to cottages, Ontario offers numerous choices for all those who need a break from the busy city life from time to time.
Buying a recreational property is not the same as buying a house or condo in a well-connected neighborhood. Heating, water supply and the environment may widely differ from what you’re familiar with. You’ll have to observe things from a different perspective than when looking for a home in the suburbs or downtown area. Whether you are buying a recreational property for personal use or as a vacation rental, pay attention to the following items to avoid any subsequent complications.
Mortgage And Insurance
Mortgage rules for second homes are different. For example, second homes don’t fall under the mortgage default insurance, which means you’ll have to come up with 20% in down payment or more if you already have a main home. Insurance can also get tricky, especially if the property has not been maintained properly. Insurance companies won’t be willing to cover outdated and risky furnaces that don’t comply with their standards. The insurance also costs more if the property has no land access as it’s harder to get there in case of an emergency.
Water supply may work differently for recreational properties, especially regarding waterfront cottages. If you fell in love with a beautiful cottage on the lake, don’t buy it before you know if the water is potable and where it comes from. Is it from the municipal water supply network, a well (dug or drilled), or the lake? Is the water supply shared with the neighbors? Knowing these details will give you a clearer idea of the whole property. It’s also a good idea to ask for a warranty on pipes and the equipment to avoid paying for repairs or replacements one or two months later just because they were not maintained properly.
Recreational properties are charming because they are in the midst of wildlife; away from busy streets and city noise, but getting there can be challenging, especially if they are not connected to the public roadways. Some properties are only accessible through private roads which means you’d need a permit. Besides finding a route (whether public or private), you have to make sure that the route is safe and well-maintained. Some roadways are neglected off-season and it can hinder year round access to your second home. You don’t want to be heading for a nice weekend in the winter to your new cottage only to find out the road is blocked because there is no snow plowing service.
If you have to target a lower price range, island properties are more affordable than the well-positioned cottages close to the main road. Island properties are only accessible by waterways, which makes them ideal for hopeless romantics and boat lovers, but also buyers who are looking for a better financial deal.
Buying a recreational property comes with great benefits if you do it right. Get an experienced agent on board who is familiar with zoning laws and upkeep of recreational properties to be sure you are not taking any risks.