My stepfather and mom own a cottage in a very touristy part of Ontario. My wife and I really enjoy sitting beside the lake, having some drinks and trying to get the perfect amount of sun without waking up in burning pain the next morning.
This week, my mom took it upon herself to locate a vacation property she thought would be perfect. It was a nice small cottage with a perfect outdoor shower with really nice wood panelling and a crazy rainbow carpet, all on a lot which wouldn’t be legal in most municipalities. The whole glorious thing cost $170,000 – which was on the low end in the area (even with the amazing carpet).
I’m not sure what situation my wife and I could really justify buying a vacation property. In the past few years, we’ve averaged a total of 3 weekends to ourselves over the summer. We spend our weekends driving all over, visiting friends and family. During the cold Canadian winter, we tend to hibernate on our living room couch with Netflix and try to get all of our driving in while the weather is nice and we can sit outside.
We don’t have $170,000 in cash sitting around, so would have to finance a good portion of this property. We would also have to pay taxes, maintenance and utilities on a second property. I don’t even want to pay these monthly expenses on one property, the second one would make me really grumpy every time I was paying bills and not enjoying my vacation property (which is probably 46 to 50 weeks of the year).
While I appreciate people who own cottages, they just seem like they cost a lot of money, something that is tied up for now paying off my mortgage. My wife and I decided that much like our condominium, we would rather have other people look after our vacation property. If we are ever able to find a free weekend over the summer that we aren’t visiting someone or sleeping off the weekend before, renting a vacation place is probably a better idea.
For around $1,000, we can rent a place for a week to relax, read, get some sun and eat a bunch of barbecued food every night. We also wouldn’t have to worry about maintaining a house that we only stay at for only a couple of weekends per year.
Do you have a vacation property? How did you decide whether to buy it or not? How often do you use it?
I’m really interested in this particular crowd’s information as it is a fairly large financial decision that lots of people seem to make.