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

Columnist Freddy Marks explains what you need to consider before purchasing a recreational property

By Freddy Marks

Relaxing in your hammock under the forested canopy beside a lakeshore may be what fuels your recreational property dreams. B.C. has some of the most unique waterfront and recreational properties for sale, located in breathtaking settings across of the province.

The ultimate location will allow you to enjoy the maximum amount of recreational time, with the minimum amount of travel time, maintenance and money. But finding the perfectly located recreational property that suits your lifestyle, budget and outdoor activity needs now and into the future can be a challenge.

The location of your future recreational property to your full-time home can be the biggest consideration. If you have to travel overnight or more than five or six hours to get to the property, you are likely to spend less weekend time there and only make a handful of planned trips a year. Realistically determining which regions of the province to look in should be the starting point to finding your recreational dream-land.

Vancouver Island has breathtaking mountain and ocean-view properties, a mild climate and year-round ferry access from the mainland. Harrison Hot Springs and the Harrison Lake area offer Lower Mainland residents an easy-to-commute-to semi-rural paradise with lake-view and lake-front homes. The Thompson-Okanagan and Similkameen regions are famous for their lakes, beaches and summer sunshine, as well as some of the best winter ski and snowboarding resorts. If your soul craves a more remote natural setting, the vast Cariboo-Chilcotin region of the province is within a day’s drive from Vancouver and boasts many hideaway cabins and acreages set amongst countless lakes. The Cariboo has long been sought after as an outdoor man’s paradise where you can explore, fish, ATV and hunt in rugged remote beauty.

Once you have selected your region of choice the next step is to identify what you see yourself doing. You must consider that you and your family’s needs will grow and change over the years, and so will the activities and hobbies you will want to partake in.

The first step is to make a list of the things you want to do when you are at your property and this will determine if you are seeking a seasonal property for spring, summer and fall, or if you require a property with winterized accommodation and year-round access. Making sure your property is adjacent to or very close to your main activities will allow you to spend more time doing whatever it is you love to do.

Now that you have identified what types of outdoor recreation you will be partaking in and where in the province you are going to start looking, the next step is to contact your bank or mortgage provider to find out exactly what you can afford to spend on a recreational land. Many recreational property dreams are quickly dashed when buyers learn that the lending rules for secondary and bare-land holdings are extremely strict, as secondary and recreational property mortgages are gauged by a different set of rules than your existing home mortgage. Buying bare land without any current services or dwellings on it is an even stricter process, as banks and mortgage lenders deem these purchases as “high risk” and qualifying under these strict guidelines means that you will have to put down anywhere from a 20 to 50 per cent down payment to secure the rest of the financing.

Once you have determined the mortgageable amount you can borrow, you can narrow your search and determine what properties in what areas you would like to book viewings at. This is just the beginning of scrutinizing each of these properties to ensure they are actually worth pursuing.

Before your initial visit to the area, it is important to research nearby towns, amenities and even check out your potential neighbours while you’re there. The pristine environment surrounding the property may be slated for a new 20-lot subdivision, or planned logging activities will be removing most of the surrounding forest in the near future. The property could offer you that hammock in the trees by the lakeshore, but if the waterfront is crowded and noisy or the access road has constant traffic, your relaxation level just tanked and it may be a sign to keep looking.

Extensive due diligence in rural land ownership is now your next step in vetting which properties suit all your needs and will remain a great investment for now and into the future.

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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