Invest in a second home

Are you thinking of buying a second home to enjoy nature in the region, or to make it profitable by renting it out? However, sharp prices across the province and rental restrictions can make you hesitate. Two experts enlighten us.

Published at 12:00

Emmanuel Mozayan-Vershayev

Emmanuel Mozayan-Vershayev
special cooperation

The pandemic forced some to move to the regions, while others left their homes in the city but bought chalets. Then prices soared almost everywhere in Quebec, and one wonders whether it is worth investing in such conditions.

“I think it’s always a good time to invest, but you have to be able to sniff out opportunities and always keep an eye out for them,” said Michael Lacroix, a residential and commercial real estate broker-based Barpe International-based Groupe Sutton-Immobilier Estrie.


Mikael Lacroix, residential and commercial real estate broker – Groupe Sutton-Immobilier Estrie

He recommends starting with a clear definition of your needs (holiday home, retirement project, rental investment, etc.), setting a budget and doing business with a real estate broker in the region, as he knows the locations well. “It is important that there is a relationship of trust between the person and the broker,” he said. You can ask him to send you notifications that match your search, and he should be able to objectively advise you on the objects that interest you. He should also let you know if he sees an opportunity that may suit you. »

Provide funds

It is best to get a pre-qualified mortgage to speed up the buying process and be able to make an offer quickly. The mortgage institution will require at least 20% down payment to finance secondary residence in addition to checking the debt-to-current debt ratio.

“Even if your goal is to rent a property, and you show that it is already leased, most financial institutions will not take anything for granted when it comes to short-term rent. [moins de 30 jours, c’est-à-dire les week-ends ou à la semaine], because it is too uneven, emphasizes Michael Lacroix. In the case of a long-term lease, if there is already someone with a renter in the home, the bank may take into account the rental income. »

When renting, it is important to allocate a budget for contingencies and know that annual insurance is more expensive for short-term rent than when renting for the whole year with rent.

Mikael Lacroix, residential and commercial real estate broker – Groupe Sutton-Immobilier Estrie

In addition to basic needs and budget (mortgage, taxes, insurance), other factors should be considered before making a choice.

Check rental rights

One of the most important factors is the location of the property. Mikael Lacroix offers to conduct market research and then choose between long-term or short-term leases. In the first case, there are no municipal restrictions, and in the second – not in all areas.


This is required starting with 1is In May 2020, register with the Quebec Tourism Industry Corporation to rent a chalet on a short-term basis.

Therefore, before buying, it is important to ask the city about the possibility of short-term rent, because even if the property you are looking for is located in a tourist area, on the coast, near a national park or ski mountain, there is no guarantee that rent will be allowed. If so, you must register with the Quebec Tourism Industry Corporation (CITQ), which will assign a classification (number of stars) based on various criteria, including location, number of rooms, size of beds and indoor and outdoor equipment, dishwasher, number of pillows. , fireplace, kayak, spa, etc.). This classification will allow you to set the rental price and show the property, for example, on Chalets au Québec.

In addition, you should know that this is mandatory because 1is May 2020 for registration in CITQ for short-term lease. This registration is equivalent to an acquired right. However, in the event of a neighborhood complaint, the municipality may prohibit your activities.

Manage yourself or not?

Obviously, the second house has additional service restrictions, which increase tenfold if you rent it. “Grammar baths in the open air are in great demand, but you will need to clean it between each resident. This requires more management, and you need to set the effort you are willing to make while remaining realistic. For example, if the chalet is located 1 hour 30 minutes drive from your home, it can be difficult to go there often for cleaning between each client, “- says Michael Lacroix.

Some companies that specialize in rent management offer concierge and housekeeping services, usually for 10-15% of income. This is the case of Hôtel à la Maison, which was created after a bad experience. “We were not happy with the service we used for our facilities because we found it incomplete, so we decided to launch our own service for short-term rentals,” said Michael Carrier, general manager of the hotel at home.


Michael Carrier, general manager of the à la Maison hotel

The company currently manages 160 short-term leases and more than ten facilities on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. “Our clients provide us with full or partial management. It should be noted that to manage a house for short-term rent requires an average of nine hours a week, he said. We also offer a service to help investors choose the geolocation, type of house. »

The real estate market is overheated, so before buying it is important to get advice from people who have experience in this field.

Michael Carrier, general manager of the à la Maison hotel

Mr. Carrier recommends taking professional-quality photos before advertising on various platforms, such as Airbnb or Booking. “Rent is a great business. It is conducted as a business, on a more or less large scale, depending on the income received, as they differ significantly depending on the services, location and level of occupancy. All in all, the clientele is fine, and I’ve rarely experienced the horror stories we sometimes hear. You just need to avoid renting to large groups by limiting the number of people allowed, ”he advises.