It's never too soon to buy a summer home

Our Canadian winters can be brutal, leaving many people to dream of a warm summer, drink in hand, lounging on the dock of their lakeside retreat, the type of property that makes an ideal investment.

Here are some tips to make the right choice when it comes to buying a recreational income property – after all, summer’s not that far away, right?

The first step to finding the perfect property involves getting to know your ideal summer tenants. Does that tenant enjoy golf? Then find a property in a region with a lot of quality golf courses. Maybe your ideal tenant enjoys hiking and camping; something in a mountain range would be great. Or, if your tenant prefers water sports, a lakeside cottage is your best bet.

Of course, when you’re dealing with especially specific landscapes, like waterfront properties, it’s important to know the intricacies of the area.

Ross McLean, a sales rep who specializes in waterfront properties in Ontario’s Muskoka region, says it's important to know the issues facing property owners in any region.

“Spend time in Muskoka learning the waterfront,” he says. “[Buyers] ought to know about waterfront issues – septic systems, water sources, zoning – and often they don’t.”

Many of those issues will factor your decision to purchase the property – and a lot of those issues boil down to cost. For example, if the property has a septic tank that needs to be emptied at a cost of $600 a year, will that impact your choice?

Other monetary issues to consider are mortgage rates, which can be higher for second properties, as well as insurance and maintenance.

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