Rosemary Papp

With over 36 Years Local Experience to Serve You


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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Selling your home is an extensive process and can be over in a weekend or drag on for several months.  Understanding the process can help you set realistic expectations and give you enough time to get everything in order.  Regardless of the current real estate market, it is important to have your home looking its best so that potential buyers can imagine themselves calling your place home.

Do the math.  Selling your home can be a financially rewarding step in the right direction, but it is important that you understand the numbers before you even begin the process.  Speak to a REALTOR® about the market value of homes in your area, and have a good understanding of how your home compares.  Features like a larger property, additional parking space, an upgraded kitchen or an extra bedroom will add value to a home in comparison with other properties.  The current market condition, as well as interest rates and the number of other properties for sale in your area will all play a role in the sale price that you get for your home.  Understand that pricing your home over market value could mean that your house will take longer to sell.  What other figures should you know about?  Ask your mortgage lender for a current statement so you are aware of how much is owing on your mortgage.  Be aware of any fees associated with breaking the mortgage, paying the REALTORS® involved in the transaction, and legal fees.

Make a to-do list of simple home improvements.  There is no need to completely overhaul your home, but you will have to tackle those small projects that you have been avoiding.  Simple tasks like replacing a broken screen, tightening a loose faucet, and repainting scuff marks on the walls will prevent your home from looking neglected.  Buyers may not notice one or two small things, but if there are many deficiencies, they may be concerned for the over-all condition of the house.  If live in an older home, it is also a good idea to order your own home inspection so that you can address any major issues prior to going on the market.

Clean up and remove clutter.  A top-to-bottom cleaning is required to make sure that your home is looking its best.  This includes all outdoor areas, the garage, and closet spaces.  Give yourself a few days depending how much work you have ahead of you, and don't be afraid to ask for help.  A clean and organized home will help potential buyers see your home's best features without being distracted by clutter.  Rent a storage container if you need some extra space to store away seasonal items, extra furniture and personal belongings.  Donate unwanted items or have a yard sale if weather permits.  Pack away personal items like family photos.  Once your home is looking its best, have someone else do a walk though and provide you with constructive feedback.

List your home and make way for potential buyers.  Have a plan in place for when you need to leave home for scheduled showings.  If you have pets, make sure to have their carriers handy so that it is easy to bring them with you on the way out the door.  Do your best to keep the house clean and presentable at a moment's notice.  Although the preparation can be stressful and time consuming, you will be grateful for all of your hard work once you have a signed offer in hand.  Showcasing your home at its best will help you to earn top dollar and move on to purchase your next home.

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Moving house isn't just about loading your furniture into a removal truck and unloading it in your new home. It also requires you to pack up your memories, and emotionally disconnect from the place where you held parties, celebrated anniversaries and raised your children. Drawing a line under a chapter of your life is tough. But if you refuse to pack your emotions along with the winter clothes, you unwittingly sabotage your chances of a successful home sale.

Selling their home can feel like cutting off an arm for some sellers. But if you still see your property as your home and not as a product to be packaged for sale, you won't be willing to make the changes necessary to achieve the quickest sale at the best price. Ultimately, you will lose money. Emotionally detaching from a home is never easy, but you can do it with these tips. 

1. Take your time

If you don't have to move quickly, don't. Your agent may be pushing you to list by the weekend, but that is her agenda, not yours. If the thought of leaving makes you tearful, slow down and only list when you and your house are ready.

2. Enlist help

You may not be able to pack away the family photographs but your sister, mother or husband might. Get support from your family and friends.

3. Be honest with your agent

Your agent acts in your best interests on the assumption that you want to sell your home.  She will not know how difficult this is for you unless you tell her. Be honest. If you don't tell your agent how you are feeling, and instead sabotage your chances of success by rejecting her advice, you are setting the relationship up to fail. This will make the situation more fraught than it needs to be, and you may lose out on a good deal.

4. Hire a home stager

Even if your home is in good condition, a home stager can remove your personal items and package your home ready for sale. As well as showing your home in its best light, staging will make the house feel less like your home and more like someone else's. It's a subtle but important step toward detaching.

5. Give buyers space

Regaling would-be buyers with your own personal take on the house will make them uneasy. You may have fond memories of little Jack crayoning on the wall in the kitchen, but buyers need to see the house as a blank canvas which they can make their own. Buyers need to be able to talk openly about the things they like or don't like about the home. Don't react angrily to their criticism, or you risk losing the sale. If you can't handle it, leave the house during viewings, and let your agent handle the business.

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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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