I've just returned from a recreational property inspection on one of the nearby islands off the coast of metro Vancouver. I've had enough of BC Ferries for one long day. During the inspection it was right around 1C, lightly snowing, some breeze and a battleship gray sky. A typical February day on the coast.
As I sit here back this evening in my home office, with a mug of fortified coffee steaming in front of me, I'm asking myself a most important question. Not "Why am I here and what is the purpose of life?"; but, almost as significant, "What is the single most important item you should know when buying recreational property?".
Drum roll please. And the question to ask... "Is it a year-round or seasonal residence?"
Here on the wet west coast a year-round residence means that it can be lived in through December, January and February with all the plumbing working. It means that there is adequate insulation in the floors and walls to retain the heat from a wood stove to keep you toasty. It means you have electricity in the place either from the grid, solar cells or generator. It means that that you have a 4 season property rather than a more limited 8 month usage period. It means that you have a second home rather than just a cabin.
I cannot stress enough that every recreational property buyer should be very clear on what is being purchased. Sure a seasonal residence can be upgraded to a full-time residence, but it will be costly if there was never any provision or intent to use it as such.