Buying a Vacation Property in BC

Aug 01, 2019

This time of year when we’re typically blessed with sunny weather, it’s great if you’re able to take some time off and visit a new area, or return to one you love to frequent! These trips can lead to consideration of purchasing a secondary home or vacation property. Regardless of where you’re looking at purchasing…

This time of year when we’re typically blessed with sunny weather, it’s great if you’re able to take some time off and visit a new area, or return to one you love to frequent! These trips can lead to consideration of purchasing a secondary home or vacation property. Regardless of where you’re looking at purchasing a vacation property, there are a number of things to consider before jumping in:

LAND:

  • Are the roads accessible year round? Are they public or private?
  • Is there a site survey? If so, request a copy. Might be worth surveying it to get a sense of property boundaries relative to water etc.
  • Does the land have a proven water source? If it does, how deep does it go into the ground?
  • Is soil contamination an issue? Will it cause any problems with the use of land?
  • If you needed to put in a septic system, could you? If there one in place? If so, when was the last time it was cleaned out?
  • Do the local and provincial entities already provide services to the land? (trash and recycling pickup, Internet, mail delivery, land telephone line/cellular reception)
  • Title Review:
    • Are there any restrictive covenants in place that would affect your ability to do what you want with the land?
    • Is the title clear on the property? If not, is there a clear list of liens that are already in place?
    • Do any easements exist on the property that would allow your potential neighbours, utilities and other entities onto any part of the land?

STRUCTURE (HOUSE/CABIN):

  • Is the cabin/house winterized?
  • What does maintenance of the property/house look like and what are the annual costs associated with maintaining it?

AREA:

  • Is this an area you want to invest in?
  • What are the bugs like?
  • Who are the neighbours?
  • Boating restrictions on the lake?
  • A body of water or lake plays into the value of a property and what it has to offer. Determine fishing potential, population etc?
  • We’d also recommend asking the owners what the property looks like in all four seasons of the year.

Purchasing with Friends/Family

If you are considering investing in a vacation property with someone outside of your immediate family, one thing to consider would be the ownership structure and what that would look like. Will you be Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common with share allocated to each owner? This question really revolves around survivorship. This is important to have a conversation about in advance of purchasing a property together.

Maintenance costs

It is always a good idea to inquire about this ahead of completing on a property so you can plan accordingly and determine how expenses will be shared with other owners (if applicable). Its important to nail down who is going to pay what and really figure out what it costs on a yearly basis to run the place as well as factoring in any improvements and replacements that are immediate or required over the long term. Asking questions of the current owners and doing a home inspection might help you assess this. If there are multiple owners of the property, some people may want things sooner then others ( i.e new dock, boat, roof, addition to the house etc) and want to pay for it up front if others can’t afford it so you want to make sure expectations are aligned with added costs and how you will deal with these situations.

Financing

Recreational properties require a minimum of 20% down payment. It’s always good to, as per above, ensure interest in the property reflects initial investments, as well as any lift in the property over time.

These questions are all just some food for thought if you’ve been contemplating purchasing a vacation property.

For those of us that live in Vancouver, we know how fortunate we are to call this place home and therefore, understand why others might want to own a vacation property here! We can help you find a beautiful pied a terre or ocean front home in Vancouver if that’s what you’re after, but if you’re looking for something more remote or even just out of the city, we recommend getting in touch with a local agent.

Don’t know of an agent in the area you’re interested in? If it’s not an area we specialize in then we’ll help you get in touch with a great local realtor that can help you accurately assess value. Even if it’s not us, we want to ensure you have someone looking out for your best interests.

– The Resident Experts

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