JASON HEATH | Special to the Financial Post  | Published May 5, 2012

May marks a time of change for those who own or who wish to own a vacation property. The snowbirds are returning from the sunny south and the Victoria Day holiday has historically been “opening weekend” for many cottagers. It is also a time of year that sees a lot of turnover of vacation properties — whether north or south — which might make you wonder how you can achieve your dream of owning a vacation property.

Most people opt for cottages over homes or condos in the southern states simply because of proximity. The Royal LePage Recreational Property Report says standard waterfront recreational properties can range from the mid-$150s on the East Coast to approaching $1-million in Cranbrook or Vernon, B.C., the Muskoka region of Ontario or the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

For argument’s sake, assume the purchase of a $200,000 cottage. Not everybody has a couple of hundred thousand dollars waiting to find a home (pun intended), so most cottage purchases will be financed. It’s important to know ahead of time that mortgages for recreational properties may be subject to different lending requirements and higher interest rates than your home. Banks tend to look more favourably upon cottages that have year-round access and are winterized when determining acceptable loan-to-value ratios and discounts off of posted mortgage interest rates, so don’t count on standard mortgage terms for an uninsulated log home on an island.  read full article