6 Things To Remember When Buying Your First Vacation Rental in Ontario

a person in a plaid shirt and cap sitting on a wooden porch in front of his vacation rental.

Ontario has some of the most stunning cottages nestled along pristine lakes and homes set against lush, green forests. If you’re just as mesmerized by their beauty as me, you can transform this opportunity into a source of semi-passive income. GTA residents are always looking for a quick yet peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. And when your vacation property is not rented out, you can enjoy a night or two unwinding with minimal planning. 

Finding and buying a vacation property is a research-intensive process that must not be rushed. In this blog, I’ll cover things to consider when buying your first vacation rental. 

6 Things To Consider Before Buying Your First Vacation Rental Property

1. Decide between a cottage or home 

Do you want a cottage overlooking a serene lake or do you want a house that is accessible all year round and closer to your primary residence? While cottages can be rented out for a higher amount, houses can bring in more money since they can be rented all year round. If you’re struggling to pick one, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do I have a particular natural landscape in mind? 
  • How big of a house do I want?
  • What does your dream vacation property look like? 
  • What amenities do I need within a few minutes of driving or walking distance? 
  • How far are you willing to travel for a quick getaway or managing the vacation home? 
  • What is your goal for buying a vacation rental? 

2. Buy in a city or town with a future

Sudbury, Timmins, Elliot Lake, and Kenora were once hotspots for vacation rentals as they had a bright future. But with changing technologies and shutting down of core businesses in these cities, they no longer are the preferred choice. On the other hand, Barrie, Muskoka, Hamilton, and Kingston are cities with bright futures. They have many fun options for all members of the family from outdoor activities, dining options, nature trails and parks, and leisure activities. 

3. Invest smartly 

Do you really want to cheap out on a fixer upper and then have to travel hours just to check progress by the contractors? Or do you want to just change the paint, add some new furniture, and start making money? 

Look for properties in a growing market by analyzing trends, occupancy rates, and rental income potential. Go for a smaller property with more earning potential than a huge property that’s not easily accessible. 

a woman with travel suitcase standing on the deck of a vacation rental home

4. Decide whether you want a seasonal or year-round rental 

This is a completely personal choice. Consider whether you want to attract guests year-round or prefer to target peak seasons, such as summer for cottages or winter for ski chalets. 

5. Think of it as a long-term investment 

Buyer’s remorse is real but don’t let it affect your long-term growth plans. Even if you think you bought the vacation rental at a higher price, look at how much it’ll appreciate in 15 to 30 years, especially if you invest in a growing city or town. 

6. Choose between self-management or property management companies 

Depending on the volume of rentals you receive, you might have to outsource management. If you live only an hour away, you can take care of the property yourself, particularly if you find cleaning therapeutic. Most property management companies charge a flat $100 to $300 for cleaning smaller properties and 20 to 30% of the rental fee for larger properties. 


Looking for your dream vacation property? Let’s discuss your goals and expectations. Book a free consultation with Realtor Catherine Nacar today.

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