REAL ESTATE: Thinking about resort property ownership

Columnist Freddy Marks discusses the best options for resort real estate

By Freddy Marks

Recreational property ownership is all about having a place to unwind and relax. With so many activity options, an investment in a resort property will give growing families years of enjoyment, and the option to rent out the property when not in use to help pay for the expense.

A resort property can provide an excellent location for year-round enjoyment with access to urban amenities, as well as summer and winter outdoor activities.

B.C. has many resort communities that have grown up around ski hills, large lakes and hot springs.

Ski resorts have transformed into all-season playgrounds that bustle with spring festivals, summer markets and live music. Summer at the hill gives you outdoor adventure choices such as mountain biking, alpine hiking and golfing.

There are several regions in B.C. that offer ski hill property ownership.

Starting in the Lower Mainland, the most sought-after ski weekend get-away is in Whistler Blackcomb.

Within a four-hour drive of Vancouver is Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops: the second-largest resort in B.C. offering winter powder play, as well as an outdoor public pool and golf course.

The Okanagan region has Silver Star Mountain Resort near Vernon, and Big White Resort near Kelowna.

Situated in the East Kootenay Rockies, about four hours from Calgary, is Panorama Mountain Resort, and the Bavarian-theme resort town of Kimberly in the Purcell Mountains about 20 minutes from the Cranbrook International Airport.

(Picking a mountain region that can be reached by more than one mode of transporation adds flexibility, making travel during peak holiday times easier.)

RELATED: REAL ESTATE: What type of recreational property user are you?

There’s not much difference between a ski resort chalet and a typical vacation home except for location and the steep slope of the roof.

With a resort chalet, as with typical vacation homes, you are responsible for all upkeep, including snow removal, yard work and trash removal, all of which add to the expenses of your mortgage and property taxes.

A sometimes more attractive option is the ski resort condominium, which will be part of a strata association.

Condo property owners are charged strata fees to cover external upkeep and you don’t have to cut grass, worry about snow plowing or take trash to a refuse site. Condos, which are usually multi-floor townhouses or one-floor apartments come with shared amenities, such as a pool, games rooms, or a gym.

The downside to a condo can be the privacy factor; if you need complete privacy to relax and find zen, a detached dwelling will best suit your needs.

In contrast, purchasing a lot in a lakeside RV resort offers waterfront with all the play and less than half to pay. Your motorhome, trailer or camper becomes a hassle-free getaway, and you don’t have the expense, responsibility or maintenance of a vacation home. You leave your RV on your own lot, set up and hooked up to power, water and sewer services, while the upkeep of the rest of the property is taken care of by the resort.

This type of recreational property ownership has gained a lot of fellowship over the years and many have become micro-communities.

The Okanagan, Shuswap and Fraser Valley each have numerous resort properties to consider.

Make sure you fully understand what type of ownership is being offered in the sales contract: RV lot resorts each have their own ownership structure and rules.

Similarly, the draw to a vacation by the water has many seeking landholdings at the handful of amazing B.C. hot springs. Halcyon Hot Springs, Nakusp Hot Springs and Ainsworth Hot Springs in the Kootenay Region make up a chain of mother nature’s most sensational soaking experiences, and they are located along side hundreds of miles of lake view for both Arrow and Kootenay Lakes.

RELATED: REAL ESTATE: Finding the perfect shoreline

There are even a few exceptional waterfront landholdings that have their own water rights to the Halcyon Hot Springs.

Alternatively, the best of both worlds is located only a few hours east of Vancouver in the Fraser Valley. Revered, Harrison Hot Springs has grown to become a sizeable resort community and sits on ultra scenic Harrison Lake, known for its water sports and mountain backdrop.

If you live in the Lower Mainland, Harrison Hot Springs is the perfect resort community to own recreational property in, with Harrison Lake, access to the hot springs and outdoor recreation in the surrounding forested mountains.

B.C. has many types of resort property ownership, and as in any real estate transaction you are responsible for due diligence in knowing exactly what is being offered for sale.

I urge you to research everything you can about the resort where you are considering purchasing recreational property, and inquire with the people who are already residents. Ask them what they love and dislike about their resort community and the surrounding area.

As always use a trusted and knowledgeable realtor to help you with your search, vetting and purchase.

Freddy Marks, together with his daughter Linda Marks, runs Agassiz’s 3A Group Sutton Showcase Realty. He has been a Realtor in Canada and Germany for more than 30 years, and currently lives in Harrison Hot Springs.


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