Tag Archives for " Homes for Sale Muskoka "

Choosing a Property Manager for a Muskoka Real Estate Vacation Rental Home

By Andrew John Cocks | Buying

So you are the proud owner of a Muskoka real estate vacation home – congratulations. But just as with your own home, a Muskoka vacation home needs a lot of tender loving care. Who is going to look after it when you are away? And, perhaps, how is it going to pay its own way? Thoughts like these tend to push vacation home owners into thinking about appointing a property management company. So what should you be looking for in a property manager, and how do you go about finding one with the qualities you want?

First and foremost, you have to decide if you just want the property taken care of, or if you also want it rented out. This will determine what kind of property management firm you want, and whether you need to check their credentials for marketing your firm, or just for looking after it. Assuming that you would like your home to generate some income for you, you need to look for several key capabilities

• A firm which will ensure the highest standards of care and attention to the fabric and contents of your property. Lots of rental income will not make up for the damage caused by careless renters. Make sure that your chosen firm will keep on top of every
• Personal check-in and check-out of every rental. Many firms take advantage of the availability of keyless coded locks to allow renters to check themselves in and out. This means that they never know who is in your property, and whether your four-bedroom home which is supposed to have a maximum of 8 guests actually has 16 grad party celebrants all over the floors
• The highest standards of cleaning. Cleaning a property thoroughly is time-consuming and expensive. Many property management firms cut corners here, and if they do, you will eventually pay the price in worn-out carpets and other forms of dilapidation.
• Superior marketing capabilities. Marketing vacation rental properties has become a sophisticated business these days. Make sure that the primary website on which your property will appear is ranked highly against the most popular keywords for your location. A local firm without much experience in search engine optimization may be able to take good care of your property but they won’t generate a lot of income since no-one will know that they exist.
• Great service for guests. Look for a manager who knows how to offer excellent service to guests: arrival baskets of food and drink, pre-booking of activities, restaurant reservations etc. If guests feel they are well looked-after, they will be more inclined to come again, but also feel more of an obligation to take good care of the property they are in.
• Great service to you. You should expect VIP treatment when you are using your own property, but also VIP service when you call up your property manager to enquire about availability, discuss renovation and maintenance issues, query your income statements or any other matter. Make sure you will always get to speak to someone senior who knows you and your property.

Make sure you talk to them in detail and go over the management contract with a fine tooth comb before you sign on the dotted line. You should expect to pay 30-50% of gross rental income to the management company; if they charge less you might want to be suspicious of what they are offering; if more, they’re probably too expensive. This may sound a lot, but remember that they are looking after your property for no fixed outlay to you, and they only make money when you do as well.

Good luck with your search.

Buying a Rural Property – First Steps

By Andrew John Cocks | Buying

Perhaps for years you’ve dreamt of owning a place in the country – maybe a private lakefront lot in the Muskoka’s, a chalet next to the ski hill or maybe your own rural retreat just outside Huntsville. Today’s real estate prices combined with great interest rates are making it possible for more people to realize this dream. Before you get out your checkbook, here are some things to consider before taking the plunge.

1. Determine what things are important to you. If you are an avid skier and find yourself spending the equivalent of a mortgage down payment in condo rentals every year, maybe purchasing a property closer to the slopes is just what you need. Keep in mind, however, you won’t have the freedom to move around, so choose a location you’ll want to return to year after year. If you’re only thinking about taking up a new sport or hobby, consider renting for a few seasons to ensure your dream still holds the same appeal once it becomes a reality.

2. What sorts of ties do you have to your current home? Do the kids come to visit on holidays? How will your having a second home affect your family routines?

3. Begin to zero in on the perfect location for your rural home by making a list of all areas that fit. List your favorite sports and past times, desirable weather, geography (do you want rural living or waterfront), available employment opportunities, ethnic or social conditions, taxes and utilities, and price range.

Next, do some research and determine which areas are most compatible with your needs. Try to get your list down to about three favorites.

4. Contact the chamber of commerce and local government agencies for as much information as they will send you and begin compiling a portfolio on each region.

5. If this is not an area you’ve previously visited, try renting a place for at least a few weeks to get a feel for the place. Another option is to visit some home sitting sites to check for house sitting opportunities in the area. It’s one of the best ways to immerse yourself in an area and feel like part of the community.

6. Once you’ve planned your visit, contact area realtors and make appointments to tour some houses. Send them a list of the properties you want to view as well as your list of criteria and maximum price range. The agent will undoubtedly include other houses on the tour; and you may find it helpful to take notes and pictures of your favorites as they will all start to blend together after awhile.

7. Revisit your favorite homes, inspecting inside and out, looking for obvious deficiencies such as water stains, leaks, odd smells, leaky faucets, or poor water pressure. Find out the age of the roof, furnace, well and septic (if applicable) and request maintenance records.

8. Once you’re ready to submit an offer, make it contingent on a successful home inspection by a professional. Add up any of the big ticket items you may need to repair or update and deduct the costs from the asking price. Note that the seller typically will be responsible for the cost of the survey, and any other pertinent inspections such as water, soil, structure, etc. You should reserve the right to cancel the deal if any of these inspections produce what you consider an unsatisfactory result.

Buying: Knowing The Area

By Andrew John Cocks | Buying

One of the most important aspects of any home that you move into is, without a doubt; the area. Homes may look fantastic online, but there is always the possibility that the area this fantastic home is in may be less than desirable. Before you move to any new town, subdivision or city, its a good idea to do a little research and find out as much as possible about the place that you are considering calling home. The logical place to start asking questions is to your realtor. Whether you are moving from a distance away, out of state or even out of country you may want to try to find a realtor that specializes in the area that you are interested in. Realtors are a great source of information and usually they know more about a given area than just about anyone.

In finding out about a new area there are some definite things that you will want to find out about. Start by finding out about the area itself. Is is an industrial town? Tourism Based? What kind of atmosphere can you expect when moving there? The next things that you should consider are the employment market and the education system. It’s always comforting to know what kind of job environment is in the area you are moving to. Is there room for your career to flourish? Additionally, even if you do not have children, knowing the education system is just a good idea. It is one of the things that people usually consider important in a new town, and if you have to move again; a home in a good education district will fetch a higher price.

Try to find out what the future hold for the area too. This can usually be accomplished by talking to your realtor, but also seeking info from the city itself. Find out if there are any development or expansion plans for the area. Things like proposed developments, both residential and commercial can drastically effect your property values. You will always be well served to stay cognizant of the future of any area that you move to. Keep in mind that potential developments and future plans can make or break an area, so the more info you have at the beginning the better.