By Toronto Real Estate Board
If you’re like many people, chances are you appreciate the value of a summer getaway up North or East. Escaping to the beauty of cottage country is ingrained in Canadian culture, and if you’re planning to make a permanent stake among the pines there are a number of factors to consider before buying.
Keep in mind that unlike your principal residence, the capital gains tax applies to such a purchase if it’s a secondary property: when you sell a vacation property any appreciation in value is taxable. Similarly, income generated through renting it out is also subject to tax.
When choosing a property, consider whether it is serviced with water, sewer, hydro and gas, and if so, keep in mind that you will have utility fees in addition to many of the same incidental expenses that come with owning your principal residence, such as property taxes and insurance.
Garbage dump fees, septic tank cleaning and funds for annual maintenance should also be included in your budget, as decks, docks and roofing can really take a beating in winter. Given that you won’t be there every day, it’s also wise to budget for security features such as alarm monitoring and programmable lighting.
Before you purchase a property, spend time in the area in order to gauge your proximity to amenities such as grocery stores, gas stations and hospitals, and to evaluate a property’s selling features based on each season. A beautiful beach may not captivate buyers in January but great snowmobile trails will be a draw. If renting out your vacation property is in your plans, look for a place within reach of sightseeing destinations.
Consider how much time is required to get to your chosen property and how to access it. While lake access may offer greater privacy and tranquility, year-round road access will generally appeal to more buyers. Another rule of thumb: the larger the lake, the larger your return on investment.
To determine whether property values in your chosen area are poised for appreciation, keep an eye out for government investment in infrastructure and burgeoning commercial development. In fact, it is particularly important to investigate zoning when buying a vacation property, as land for future development is often plentiful.
If you’re lured by sunnier climes, buying a property south of the border could be for you. Regardless of where you choose to buy, investing in a vacation property is an investment in friends, family and future generations. It is a place removed from the hustle and bustle of daily life where you can share memorable moments with those closest to you, while it appreciates.
As a first step in buying a vacation property, talk to a Greater Toronto REALTOR® – they have the tools, information and referral network to get you on your way – and to learn more about the many ways a Toronto Real Estate Board Member Professional can guide you through the process visit www.TREBHome.com. If commercial property is what interests you, contact a TREB Commercial Professional Member REALTOR® by visiting trebcommercial.com.