1. Why hire an Agent?
Most vacation home owners, especially absentee ones, don't have the time or inclination to: deal with the public; be available to answer the telephone; screen and eliminate dozens of potential renters; answer all the same questions; follow up payments due; return deposits; provide essential rental information and many other tasks involved in renting.
Informed owners prefer to turn the job over to a professional Real Estate rental company. We handle a myriad of details involved in a successful rental, such as rental contracts, collection of rent and security deposits, keys and advertsing.
2. Why hire Vacation Time Real Estate as my Agent?
Over the last few years, there have been many new rental agencies that have appeared (and some that have disappeared). As an owner, you may be having a hard time trying to decide who to list with. Here's what we think sets us apart from the rest...
Our specialized Muskoka knowledge. We live in Muskoka, we work in Muskoka and we know Muskoka. With our specialized local knowledge we can advise potential renters on the area and assist them with questions during their stay. We know where things are: the boat launches, garbage dumps, public drinking water supply etc. We know the back roads and the lakes. You don't have to answer the questions, we will!
Our main-street Gravenhurst office. Our main-street, storefront office allows us to personally meet just about all of the people who rent through us. We meet them when they when they pick up and return your cottage keys to us at the start/end of a rental. We feel that key control is very important.
Problem Management. Over the years, we've developed good relationships with local Muskoka tradespeople and can often obtain service from plumbers, cleaners etc. on a preferred basis. Although the ultimate responsibility for any mechanical problem resolution at your property is still yours, we can and do, act as a liaison between you, your tradesperson and the renter in your cottage.
Advertising: We have received extremely favourable comments on this website and we hope you like it too! Its overall design and sophisticated query capabilities were developed based on our many years of experience listening and responding to people's questions. We think we have met your cottage needs admirably by allowing fast, easy and accurate access to the cottages we represent. Your vacation property will obtain maximum market exposure, thus allowing you to achieve your rental objective, whether it is just two weeks, or, an entire season's rental. We also have our cottages and information listed on other websites including CanadaStays, Flip Key/Trip Adivsor, and OnLine Cottage Rentals - we have the private web sites covered too! Of course we have 25 years worth of referrals and happy customers.
3. How many vacation properties do you represent?
Over the last decade, we have listed over 1000 Muskoka and area properties, however, each season we usually reach between 100 - 150 active cottage vacation listings. We have owners who have been since the beginning and also many more who, when they have a period of time when they won't be using the cottage, will call us to quickly reactivate their listing for whatever period they have available.
4. What are minimum property requirements?
Our minimum property requirements are:
5. How long have you been in business?
Vacation Time Realty was originally incorporated in January 1991 and is now operating as Vacation Time Real Estate Inc. and representing buyers and sellers in addition to the rental portion of our business.
6. How much do you charge?
You pay only for performance. There are no sign-up fees or hidden charges. Our commission is a percentage of the rent (plus HST). The percentage varies depending on the length of the rental, and the rental rate. Fees are tax-deductible against rental income. For current percentage rates, please contact the Gravenhurst office.
7. What is the rental probability?
The July and August period is high-season in Muskoka and you can expect to have the most bookings during this time if your vacation property is of good-quality, well-maintained, and road-accessible with good water frontage.
Private cottage rentals that are less desirable, such as river front properties, or, those that are not modern or well-maintained, can expect some vacancies even during high-season. Demand is almost non-existent for properties with weedy and/or muddy waterfronts. Rental rates on cottages must be competitive. Renters know the rental market, there are numerous cottages available and those that are overpriced may not rent.
8. What about winter and off-season rentals?
There is some rental activity in the spring and fall periods, however, the likelihood of a rental is much lower in winter than during high season. In our experience, demand for winter rentals in Muskoka is very low (almost non-existent) with the exception of a few days at Christmas and New Year's.
9. How much rent can I expect?
Just as in sales, the supply and demand economic paradigm applies to the rental market as well. High-demand vacation properties in short supply bring more and average properties bring less. High-demand properties are usually larger properties with privacy, a good location, modern amenities and at least three/four bedrooms and two bathrooms. In Muskoka, the most-requested rental locations are Lakes Rosseau and Joseph, followed by Lake Muskoka and Lake of Bays. Other areas and smaller lakes have less demand but are still a good market in high-season.
We have properties listed between $600 to $15,000 per high-season week. Most "average" properties on the "big three" lakes (Rosseau, Joseph & Muskoka) usually bring between $2000 to $3,500 per high-season week. Larger, "upper-end" cottages bring more.
With our rental market knowledge, we can help you decide on a competitive listing rate that will bring results. We will need to visit your cottage property before we can provide an opinion as to its rental value, however, you can get a fairly good idea by browsing the other cottage listings on this site and comparing them to your own. It is always best to list your cottage by January 1st, (sooner if possible) as that is when most serious renters begin to look for a cottage for the summer.
10. What am I expected to provide?
We provide you with a detailed list of items in our brochure 'Preparing to Rent Your Vacation Home'. This brochure is included in our free, on-request, owner's information package. Renters bring their own sheets and towels as well as their own drinking water.
11. What do I need to consider prior to renting my cottage?
Some points to consider before deciding to rent your vacation home:
Rental Income: Rental income may affect your personal tax situation. Professional accounting advice should be obtained to determine the effect, if any. Our fees are tax-deductible against rental income.
Repairs: The property's chattels, electrical, plumbing and heating/cooling systems must be in working order and good repair. Items prone to failure should be replaced or removed. If an item does break down during a rental either you, or your representative, must be available to quickly perform repairs. In some cases, a refund of rent may apply.
Between Rental Inspections: Either you, or your representative, must be available to check the cottage property between rentals. In some cases, we can arrange to have this done for you, however, it is preferable for the owner to inspect the property. If no inspection is performed between rentals, this may limit any claims an owner has against a renter. Owners must notify our office within 24 hours with any damage claims.
12. How much risk is there?
We provide numerous safeguards for you, such as signed rental applications and agreements, security deposits and screening of prospective renters to match your rental conditions. Also, as many of our rental customers are repeats we can advise you of their past rental behaviour at other vacation properties.
We understand that many owners considering renting their cottage property for the first time are nervous. Some owners find the thought of "strangers" in their home rather disconcerting. Others have had a "friend" relate a rental "horror story". The reality is that most owners quickly become at ease with the process, even finding that sharing their property with other families can be very gratifying knowing that someone else is enjoying the property as much as they do. For security reasons it also a benefit to have someone in the cottage as much as possible.
Over the last decade we have arranged thousands of rentals. We have never encountered a single case of any kind of malicious damage to any property. Yes, there have been claims against security deposits for cleaning and accidental breakages, but, the percentage is very low.
13. Who makes the decision on who rents my cottage?
You do! When we obtain a booking for your vacation property, we will call you and present all the facts to you: the size of the party, the "mix" (i.e. number of adults/children), whether they meet your rental conditions and whether we have dealt with them before. The final decision to go ahead is always up to you.
14. When do I get paid?
We are allowed to disburse money from our Real Estate Trust account only on completion of a 'trade' i.e. the day the renter receives occupancy. Therefore, we pay you on the start date of the rental. As a result, any refund of rent must come directly from the Owner.
15. How do I sign up to rent my cottage?
Please contact our Gravenhurst office, or, email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know where your vacation property is. We can then arrange to visit the property and give you our assessment of its rental potential. Once we have agreed on a rental rate and you have decided to go ahead we will need you to sign a listing agreement with us before we can work on your property. We will look after the photos, cottage description and videos.
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There are hundreds of lakes in Muskoka. As we're often asked, "how big is the lake?" we have compiled the information to try and answer this question. Generally, in Muskoka, Ontario there are four "large" or "big lake" systems...More