With incredible summer weather, the stunning Okanagan Valley landscape, and a beautiful lake that's perfect for boating and swimming, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Kelowna is the fastest growing city in BC. It's also an extremely popular spot for vacation homes, with hundreds of stunning properties along the waterfront or up in the hills near vineyards. If you've fallen in love with the Kelowna area, but have a permanent residence elsewhere, buying a vacation home is definitely a great option. However, there are certainly some things you need to consider before doing so, which is why we've come up with a few tips for buying a vacation home in Kelowna.
If you're serious about buying a vacation home in the Kelowna area or if you read this guide and have more questions, don't be afraid to contact CENTURY 21 Assurance Realty. We're a trusted name in the Kelowna real estate market and have dozens of experienced agents who will be more than happy to help you.
Choose Your Location Carefully
While you love the scenery and recreational opportunities that Kelowna offers, you might not know the finer details about the various neighbourhoods. This is why you need to do decide what you value most in your vacation home and choose your location accordingly.
If you want a larger property in a quiet area with a panoramic view of the valley, consider Southeast Kelowna or the Black Mountain area. Homes here sit high above the city and offer breathtaking views. These communities are close to several fantastic golf courses and wineries, and they're only 10 to 20 minutes away from Okanagan Lake by car.
If you want to be close to the best restaurants and the most vibrant lakefront parks, but don't care quite as much about the size of your vacation home, Downtown Kelowna would be your best bet. You can take a stroll along Bernard Avenue and enjoy a drink or bite to eat on one of the many great patios, or you can relax at the beach and take a dip in the water at either City Park or Waterfront Park. There are many beautiful condos in this part of the city that are great if you're looking for a low maintenance vacation home that is easy to rent out when you're not using it.
Of course, the prime real estate for those seeking an upscale vacation property is on the waterfront. These stunning houses are in very high demand for obvious reasons. The architectural beauty of many luxury homes is a sight to behold and the proximity to the lake is second to none. If you can't find a waterfront home that fits your needs or budget within Kelowna, there are many equally gorgeous waterfront properties in nearby West Kelowna and Lake Country.
If skiing or snowboarding is your top priority, then you'll naturally want to explore the homes for sale at Big White. However, if you can't find a home you like right beside the mountain, then your next best option would be the Joe Rich area, which is only a 30-minute drive from the resort. Visit our Communities page for more info about the top neighbourhoods in Kelowna.
Proximity to Your Full-Time Home
Before you buy a vacation home, consider how easy it is to travel to and from your full-time home. Many experts recommend buying a vacation home that won't take longer than 5 hours to reach, whether you're travelling by car, boat, or plane. This is in case you need to return home for an emergency during your holidays or if you're renting out the vacation property and want to check in and clean up every so often. Fortunately, Kelowna is only a 4-hour drive from Vancouver and it barely takes more than an hour to fly here from both Edmonton and Calgary, with several affordable flights departing daily.
Maintenance and Durability
When you're crunching the numbers on how much your vacation home will cost you and whether or not you can afford it, think about the age of the home and the amount of repairs you might have to do in the future. If it's a newer home, you probably won't have to worry about insulation during the colder months quite as much—and Kelowna has plenty of modern homes that make for ideal vacation residences—but if you opt for an older home that you plan on using in the winter, your energy bill might cost a bit more. Even if you won't be using the home in the winter, you'll still have to consider the work involved in winterizing it, as Kelowna can get quite cold during the winter months. If your vacation home has a garden, that's something you'll also have to winterize.
Furthermore, you should think about how often you'll have to paint the home or do other types of repairs. As mentioned, Kelowna has plenty of modern homes that will likely reduce the amount of time spent on these types of projects, but if you're still worried about spending your hard-earned vacation hours doing more work, it might be worth buying a condo or townhome and being part of a strata that takes cares of a lot of the maintenance for you. Both Kelowna and West Kelowna have plenty of upscale condo and townhouse developments and the team at CENTURY 21 Assurance Realty can assist you with your home search.
Research the Kelowna Rental Market
Are you thinking of earning some money by renting out your vacation home when you're not using it? If so, you should look into how much a home similar to yours is rented for. There are plenty of websites that will give you an idea of the typical Kelowna rental prices and our agents at CENTURY 21 Assurance can also give you advice about this subject.
The good thing about Kelowna is the rental market is generally quite hot and during the spring and summer months you shouldn't have any problems finding a renter that's willing to pay a fair amount to rent your home. There's slightly less demand in the winter, but Kelowna's close proximity to world-class skiing at Big White and other great winter adventures means there will still be some interest from seasonal renters.
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