How to Buy the Hottest Winter Vacation Rental Property

How to Buy the Hottest Winter Vacation Rental Property

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Winter is a time to bundle up, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend the season in financial hibernation. Year after year, real estate speculators pinpoint the winter months as the best time to seek out a new property. For investors in search of a new opportunity, that homebuying sweet spot is also the perfect time to consider the purchase of a winter vacation rental property.

Table of Contents - How to Buy the Hottest Winter Vacation Rental Property

A lot of buyers don’t take the opportunity to scan the real estate market during the colder months of the year. That is their loss. To begin with, the lack of interest during the winter months makes a lot of sellers anxious about their ability to sell. As a result, this slow period can turn any homeowner into a motivated seller. Certainly, buying your next investment property at a savings is never a bad idea.

The scarcity of interested buyers also makes the ensuing paperwork process that much faster and more reliable. With fewer clients to handle, financial institutions have the bandwidth to focus on your needs. That means your paperwork is more likely to come out error-free at the end of the process.

Best of all, when you’re searching for a winter vacation rental property, you’ll get the opportunity to see the home in its prime rental state. After all, it doesn’t do much good to check out a winter home when there’s no winter weather surrounding it.

Before you contact your real estate agent, however, it’s essential to ensure that you know what to look for when considering the purchase of a winter vacation rental.

View from the top

For the longest time, the mantra of real estate investors has been “location, location, location.” That’s still true to some extent in the case of winter vacation rental properties. Location is important, but for some renters, it takes a backseat to the view. Of course, you want to make sure that your rental property is somewhat close to ski and snowboarding opportunities. Still, studies suggest that vacationers are willing to drive a few extra miles if it means the payoff is a breathtaking view of the wintry landscape.

Remember that for most people, a vacation isn’t about convenience; it’s about adventure and creating new memories. Many people are willing to take a trip off the beaten path in search of both.

Think globally

Though there are several satisfying winter destinations throughout Canada, you may find with a little research that your portfolio would be best served by heading abroad. The United States, for example, has a robust winter vacation rental sector. Popular spots like Killington, Vermont, and Big Sky, Montana, offer impressive capitalization rates north of 6 percent, even on a mortgaged property.

Ultimately, you may find that a Canadian real estate investment is the right choice for you, but it never hurts to think about every possibility.

“Buy during the winter’ doesn’t mean buy this winter

As with all important investments, patience is crucial. Even as you conduct your hunt, be sure that you don’t rush into a purchase. Experts recommend that speculators begin by finding an area that stokes their interest and spending time there.

Observe the ups and downs throughout a season to determine where visitors stay, where the local hot spots are located, etc. Taking the time to educate yourself will do wonders when the time comes to put a down payment on a viable winter rental.

Get to know the locals

Nothing is more valuable for a new landlord than communing with the locals. Spending time in the area can certainly help with your research, but it’s also important to strike up conversations with the people around you. Establishing a friendly rapport with potential neighbours can serve numerous purposes.

First, they’ll help you find the area’s best and most cost-effective maintenance professionals (a must for every burgeoning real estate magnate). Second, if and when trouble arises at your rental property, a familiar neighbour is more likely to contact you or your property manager directly rather than yell at your tenants or bring in the authorities.

Try before you buy

If at all possible, it’s a good idea to spend a night in the house you intend to purchase. As any homeowner can tell you, a home (and the neighbourhood around it) is a vastly different place at night than it is during the daylight. Sticking around for a full twenty-four hours will familiarize you with the area in ways you never thought possible.

If an overnighter isn’t an option, search the surrounding area for vacation rentals you can try. Spending a night or two in the same area in which you intend to invest will help you make a smarter choice when the time comes to buy because your choice will be informed by personal experience as opposed to a purely statistics-based approach. It will also help you to be a better landlord when your short-term tenants have questions about places to visit and restaurants to try.

Plan for the off-season

The best-case scenario for any investment is consistent earnings year-round. While real estate investors understand that their market has inevitable booms and busts, the goal is still the same as it is for any other investment. As it happens, beach rentals often show dismal returns when the weather turns cold, and the beaches don’t have quite as much sun (or heat) on offer.

Winter vacation rentals, meanwhile, are somewhat impervious to the off-season, at least when compared to their seaside counterparts. Even when the snow is melted and the birds are chirping, winter hot spots are still highly sought after by nature-lovers of all types.

What’s more, if you invest in a rental property with a fabulous view, that view will likely remain gorgeous throughout the year.

Buying a winter rental property can be a daunting investment, but it can be a painless endeavour with a bit of planning and forethought. You want to make sure you do your research, first and foremost. You should also make sure that you are striving to be a member of the community, even if you’re not a year-long resident. Before you know it, you’ll have the hottest winter rental property on the market.

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Scott Dillingham

Scott Dillingham

I have been investing and lending to real estate investors for nearly 10 years now. After thousands of successful deals between flips, rent to owns, student properties and commercial assets I have developed a deep knowledge of real estate investments and have a passion of sharing this information with the world! If your looking for a lender who specializes in rental property financing you're going to want to connect with me at team@lendcity.ca.