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The costs and trade-offs of vacation property ownership

Owning a vacation property can be appealing, but it can also come at a cost

Owning a vacation property allows you to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, to reconnect with friends and family, and to enjoy an often much needed change of scenery.

Before you take the plunge and purchase a second property, you need to think both conceptually and practically about the cost of making this lifestyle commitment. This article will explore some of the costs and trade-offs of owning vacation property.

There and back again: The commute

You want to be sure you are up to the travel back and forth. A weekend migration to your property can be time-consuming and costly.

If you can work remotely, maybe you can ease your woes by heading up a weekday earlier or staying on while others join the Sunday stream of headlights heading back to the city. That can be a sanity-saver, but it can also impose its own costs, especially if you need rural high speed internet access.

Furthermore, if you are breaking the family into two vehicles to coordinate commuting, that convenience will inevitably cost you.

Year-round or seasonal? Measuring your maintenance

Is this your getaway home or a duplicate home? Either way, you need furniture, appliances and the periodic maintenance of the building and its surroundings.

For bills and utilities, some will vary by usage or may be available seasonally, while others like property tax will apply annually. For year-round access, you may need a local snowplow contractor, or at very least, you may need to own a dependable snow blower.

Careful not to be trapped by the trappings

Just being at a vacation property is good enough for some, but what you do while you are there is what many people look forward to.

That could mean being out on the water, or at least at its edge, or it could mean being on the ski-hill, or at least in the proximity of a mountain. Either way, there are costs to consider, like the equipment and admission tickets required to pursue activities in your venue of choice. Operating and storing a boat can be expensive and so too can the annual passes for the local mountain.

Keeping it clean and tidy, and sharing your good fortune

With a second property comes the responsibility of looking after two spaces from a housekeeping perspective. While chores can be shared amongst family members, hosting additional family or friends can turn your intention of being a gracious host into the overwhelming feeling of being an innkeeper.

Renting to ease the finances

If you are stretched to carry the place, whether from the outset or once you are established, you could consider renting it out to recover some of your costs.

This is a lifestyle concession as much as a financial boost, as you may have to concede prime times when you would otherwise like to be there yourself. But with prices being at historic highs, this may be the route for you if you are intent on making a vacation property your reality.

Seeking professional guidance

For more information about the hidden costs of vacation property ownership, please consult your financial advisor.


Mutual funds and other securities are offered through Aviso Wealth, a division of Aviso Financial Inc.

Aviso Wealth Inc. ('Aviso') is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aviso Wealth LP, which in turn is owned 50% by Desjardins Financial Holding Inc. and 50% by a limited partnership owned by the five Provincial Credit Union Centrals and The CUMIS Group Limited. The following entities are subsidiaries of Aviso: Aviso Financial Inc. (including divisions Aviso Wealth, Qtrade Direct Investing, Qtrade Guided Portfolios, Aviso Correspondent Partners), Aviso Insurance Inc., Credential Insurance Services Inc. and Northwest & Ethical Investments L.P.

The information contained in this article was obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, we cannot guarantee that it is accurate or complete. This material is for informational and educational purposes, and it is not intended to provide specific advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, tax or similar matters. 

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