Rosemary Papp

With over 36 Years Local Experience to Serve You

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Source: Remax

A recent survey of RE/MAX brokers and agents found that in 91 per cent of popular Canadian recreational property markets examined, retirees were the key factor driving activity. This includes established recreational regions such as Prince Edward County and Comox Valley. This is in stark contrast to last year’s findings, when retirees were a dominant driving force in only 55 per cent of markets examined.

The survey found that in British Columbia, Ontario and Atlantic Canada, more retirees and soon-to-be retirees are purchasing recreational properties outside of urban centres for use as retirement homes, increasingly blurring the line between recreational and residential properties.

  • Retirees are fueling demand: 91 per cent of regions surveyed reported that retirees drive demand for recreational properties
  • One in three survey respondents (33 per cent) say that they own or want to own a recreational property for investment purposes
  • Buyers are increasingly renting in urban centres such as Toronto and Vancouver while purchasing recreational properties
  • Other than affordable purchase price, waterfront rated as the most important feature to Canadians when considering spending time at a cottage or cabin, beating out reasonable maintenance costs

“Last year, we found that Baby Boomers and retirees were increasingly selling their homes in urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “It’s clear that many put the equity they received from those sales into the purchase of a recreational property with the intention to retire in comfort and away from the city.”

Many of these individuals are engaging in more active forms of retirement, choosing to maintain physical fitness and emotional fulfillment by pursuing passion projects and leading lifestyles that involve farming, hiking and maintaining vineyards. This is particularly the case in regions such as South Okanagan, Wasaga Beach and Rideau Lakes.

Due to the strong US dollar, retirees in the Sylvan Lake and Lake Winnipeg regions are selling their snowbird properties south of the border and purchasing recreational homes for use as retirement properties as well.

In a separate survey conducted by Leger, six in 10 Canadians (58 per cent) enjoy recreational properties as places where they can relax and spend time with friends and family. However, the majority of Canadians (84 per cent) do not actually own recreational properties.

“Many Canadians want to live out the ‘Canadian Dream’ and spend time at the cottage or cabin but today, that doesn’t necessarily mean owning a recreational property outright,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX INTEGRA Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region. “Many are choosing to rent recreational properties, often by pooling resources with friends and family, which speaks to recreational properties still being in high demand.”

In fact, one in three Canadians (33 per cent) say that they own or would want to own a recreational property for investment purposes. In Toronto specifically, the survey of RE/MAX brokers and agents found that in regions such as North Bay-Sunridge, Bancroft and the Bruce Peninsula, many owners of recreational properties actually rent their principal residences in Toronto, where they live most of the year. Using their recreational properties every so often while renting them out for the rest of the year, these individuals are renting a principal residence where they live while buying where they play.

In Leger’s survey, more than half of Canadians (54 per cent) who own a recreational property, or are considering buying one, identify savings as their source of funding. Twenty per cent would use a loan, 20 per cent would rely on home equity and only 11 per cent would rely on inheritance.

The survey also found that other than affordable purchase price, Canadians who own or would consider owning a recreational property named waterfront access (55 per cent), reasonable maintenance costs (54 per cent) and proximity to town (43 per cent) as the most important factors when purchasing. The survey of RE/MAX brokers and agents, waterfront access was considered the most in-demand amenity in most regions, overall.



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You get the call every child dreads. It’s about a sudden illness or accident. You catch a red-eye flight to get to your parent’s bedside that night.

In addition to getting through mom’s or dad’s immediate health crisis, you realize that you probably have to sell the house.

Some seasoned Seniors Real Estate Specialists® (SRES®) weighed in and offered 9 ways to make the process of preparing and selling your parents’ house efficient and less stressful.

Legal hoops. Identify the challenges you’ll need to manage to get the house sold.  Get a power of attorney so you can sign paperwork for your parents. If your parent has died and you’re selling a property, check if there are barriers like liens or back taxes to settle. Determine whether the mortgage is paid off or if there’s a reverse mortgage.

Up-to-date information. Gather all the information about a home’s systems and appliances, repairs, warranties, and so forth. Also list the changes and upgrades that have been made to the property and when the projects were completed. These could include the roof, HVAC system, and appliances, along with renovations, aesthetic improvements, and green (solar panels, energy efficient windows, and so forth) upgrades.

Pick a pro. Pick a real estate professional who really understands your parents’ market beyond just the business side of real estate. The person needs to understand local senior housing options, universal design principles, and the challenges of aging. You also benefit from someone who can connect you with local resources and services, such as home stagers, mortgage professionals, moving companies, and home healthcare providers.

Location, location, location. The old real estate saw about the importance of location can be critical to a seniors’ well-being, especially as they face the limitations (mobility challenges and an inability to keep driving, for example) that aging brings. So look carefully at transit options, access to medical facilities, offerings by community and recreation centers, and proximity to retailers, restaurants, parks, and other things that are part of your parents’ lives. When you’re vetting properties, also consider how accessible such places will be if your parents are no longer able to drive.

Daily fun. Especially if your parents are active, be certain that they can still do the things they enjoy--walking on the beach or golfing or doing daily swims, walks or bike rides.

55+ living? No thanks.  Not every senior wants to live exclusively with other seniors, so don’t assume that the local 55+ communities or assisted living facility will provide quick fixes for your housing dilemma. Often seniors are most comfortable staying in a neighbourhood where they’ve lived and want a town where there’s a mix of ages. So look at your budget and examine condo and smaller single-family home options. For example, your parents may prefer to devote the money that they’d spend on fees at a 55-plus community to paying someone to do yard maintenance, plowing, cleaning, and other household tasks. For some, the privacy of a single-family detached home frequently trumps a “worry-free” lifestyle.

Decisions. Unless your parents can’t make decisions, your role is to help them find the perfect home. Don’t rush them or force them into options that you consider ideal. For example, you may be wowed by a home’s design, aesthetic upgrades, and fancy appliances, but your parents may not care about those things. Maybe they’d prefer the house with old appliances and a dated kitchen because they love the spectacular garden. Weigh in with your opinions, but let them decide.

Right-size cautiously.  You may consider your parents’ collections and things a bunch of junk, but to them, objects may hold memories and they may consider certain things treasures.  Be gentle and respectful when you’re purging household goods and deciding what to donate, sell or toss.

Clear timeline.  Seniors often are concerned about details of the selling process, especially if they’re still living in the house when it goes on the market. Be certain that your real estate professional is sensitive and outlines the timeline for activities associated with listing and marketing the house. Those include the date the home will go on the market, when flyers and MLS® tours will be available, when a lock box will be installed, when broker tours will begin, and what to expect during showings and open houses.

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