When it comes to weekend getaways or even longer vacations in Canada, summer is the season to rule them all. But, this is also Canada where we experience winter for what seems like half of the year. Many people are eager for a winter getaway, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic kept them at home. Good thing there is plenty of opportunity for winter rentals in Canada as people seek the idyllic coziness of a winter retreat!
Could a winter cabin be a good choice for your next real estate investment? Let's take a look at winter cabin rentals, what makes them a great option, and how to run a successful winter cabin rental.
Naturally, some areas are going to be more appealing to vacationers than others. Unsurprisingly, the areas popular for cabins in the winter season are some of the same areas that are popular for summer cottages, as well as areas that are better known for winter activities.
The most popular area of all for winter cabin rentals is in the rocky mountains between BC and Alberta. This area is world-renowned for its winter activities such as snowboarding and skiing and provides the quintessential cabin experience. Snowy mountain peaks and cold frozen lakes surrounded by evergreen trees are the iconic views of the area that have tourists flocking from across the country and the world.
Another popular spot for Cabin rentals is the cottage country located in Ontario just north of Toronto and stretching into southern Quebec. This area offers vast areas of wilderness for outdoor recreation while still being only a few hours’ drive from some of Canada's major population hubs. It’s also a popular spot for summer cottages so you could find success for your investment properties year-round.
There are numerous other areas where you can operate a viable cabin rental. Ultimately, its success will come down to how appealing your property is, how close it is to recreation and other amenities, and its proximity to population hubs.
People love cabins for their rustic feeling away from the ever-connected modern world. However, this perception is mostly emotional, and most people do not truly want to spend the winter in a bare-bones log cabin. In order to keep guests comfortable, your property needs to offer the modern amenities of any rental. This includes plumbing and electricity (not always a given for cabins!), reliable heating so guests can stay warm, and even wifi or television for those cozy cabin nights in.
Other nice bonuses for a luxury cabin would include large windows, a sauna, a cozy wood-burning fireplace, a hot tub, or an outdoor firepit. The look of a cabinet can add to its appeal too – many people are eager for classic-looking but luxurious log cabins as opposed to just a cottage that just looks like any old house.
Beyond the building itself, the land around your cabin can be a big appeal for renters. If you are near a major attraction like Banff, this will be less of a concern, but for areas with less tourism, renters may be looking for space for outdoor recreation such as snowshoeing or cross country skiing on nearby trails, ice skating and ice fishing on the lake, or other winter sports. Being able to appeal to one or more of these winter hobbies will guarantee you more interested renters.
When it comes to winter cabin and winter cottage rentals, you will likely be dealing with more short-term rentals than long-term rentals. This means you will have to do a bit more work to regularly schedule renters and possibly conduct more regular maintenance such as cleaning.
One benefit of short-term rentals however is you have the option to use the space for your own leisure when it is not being rented, or allow friends and family to enjoy it for the odd weekend.
Cottages and cabins in Canada have experienced a lot of the same growth as other real estate segments in the last couple of years. Prices are up a lot, and cottages tend to have an even lower supply than regular homes. That doesn't mean that they can't be a sound investment, but there are pitfalls you must be careful to avoid.
Cottages are often held for many years and passed down through families. This means if you buy a recreation property with the plans of renting and occasionally use it for yourself, you will likely be able to enjoy it for many years to come as it grows in value.
However, there are also costs involved in operating such a property for rentals. Not only do you need to buy the property, but you will also need to put some work in to make it suitable and appealing for rentals, as well as be diligent with regular maintenance to keep the property in good shape. For a very busy rental, you are essentially taking on a second job of property maintenance, though much of the needed work can be outsourced.
Overall, a rental cabin can offer a return on investment both through rental income and equity, as well as offer you the option to get away and enjoy the property for yourself.
Whether just to relax, have a romantic retreat, or a winter adventure, a winter cabin can be the perfect way for people wanting to plan a trip and avoid the busy resort spots. Investing in a vacation rental can be a profitable and enjoyable choice if done right.
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