By Brad Lindeburgh, Realtor ® Century 21 Westcountry Realty Ltd. in Sundre.
This blog is about recreational properties that are established in dedicated multi-lot developments, rather than acreages that are used only for recreational purposes. They usually look more like permanent campgrounds or cottage communities.
The past few years have been great for buyers of recreational properties. Prices have been competitive and the number of properties on the market provides a good selection.
Most recreational properties in the Sundre area are lots with seasonal water and sewer services, with either a trailer or small cabin and sheds. You can find something set up already for you to move into, or a “blank” lot to develop the way you like.
Consider how you will use the property both now and in the future. Your needs might differ if you want a place of solitude vs. a place to entertain and party.
Often weekend getaways turn into seasonal residences after retirement. Perhaps winter access will be important if you want to use it as a base for recreational activities. Remember that amenities that appeal to you now based on young children or grandchildren may not be so significant in just a couple of years!
Will you find it desirable to be able to walk (or take a short drive) to get a coffee or pick up a few groceries, or do you mind being a bit more remote from the comforts of “civilization?” Some developments are within Sundre while others are a longer drive out.
If you’re an avid golfer, is proximity to a course important? Need to get out into nature for a hike with your dog every day along the river?
Most lenders will not provide a mortgage or financing for many kinds of recreational properties. Often people use a line of credit based on the equity in their homes or other sources of financing (or cash) to accommodate their purchases. Check with your bank before you start your search to understand your financial position.
Most recreational properties in this part of the world are “bare land condos” or something similar. Bare land condominium unit boundaries are defined by boundaries marked on the land; any buildings on the land are contained in the condominium unit and owned by the individual resident. Bare land condominiums operate in the same way as conventional condominiums.
Source: Alberta Real Estate Association Webpage
Other ownership models include long-lease and apportioned share ownership in the entire development.
What you can and cannot do on your lot will depend on a combination of rules and regulations. Make sure you understand local land use policies (county or town) as well as the specific rules of the development. Rules can apply both to what you can put on your lot and to on-going usage.
Many developments are run through an elected board of volunteer owners. The day-to-day operations may be handled through on-site managers/caretakers, a management company, or just owner-volunteers. Check to see what the management structure is and make sure you know who to contact for what.
Most ownership models have annual fees that include basic maintenance. Make sure you check what else is (or isn’t) included in those fees with regard to utilities and services. If it is a bare land condo, there will be a reserve fund that addresses future repair and replacement of commonly owned property and utilities.
Other on-going costs may include property taxes and property insurance.
If you have any questions about recreational properties in the Sundre area, give me a call to discuss your options! There are many.