Invest in a second home

Are you considering buying a second home to enjoy nature in the area or make it profitable by renting it out? However, rising prices across the province and restrictions related to rentals may make you hesitate. Two experts enlighten us.

Posted at 12:00 p.m

Emmanuelle Mozayan-Verschaeve

Emmanuelle Mozayan-Verschaeve
special cooperation

The pandemic has convinced some to move to the regions, while others have kept their accommodation in the city but have bought a chalet. Prices then rose almost everywhere in Quebec and one wonders whether the investment is worthwhile under the circumstances.

“In my opinion, it’s always a good time to invest, but you have to be able to sniff out opportunities and always keep your eyes open,” says Mikael Lacroix, real estate agent for residential and commercial real estate – Groupe Sutton-Immobilier Estrie, affiliated with Barnes International.


Mikael Lacroix, Residential & Commercial Real Estate Agent — Groupe Sutton-Immobilier Estrie

He recommends first clearly identifying your needs (holiday home, retirement savings, rental investment, etc.), setting your budget and doing business with a real estate agent in the area in question, as he has good local knowledge. “It is important that there is a relationship of trust between the person and the broker, he thinks. You can ask them to send you alerts about your searches and they need to be able to give you objective advice on the properties that interest you. He must also let you know if he sees an opportunity that might be right for you. »

Prepare the funds

It’s best to get a prequalified mortgage to speed up the buying process and be able to make an offer quickly. The mortgage company requires a minimum 20% down payment to finance a second home, in addition to verifying your debt ratios based on your current debt and salary.

“Even if your goal is to rent the property and you can show that it is already rented, most financial institutions do not take anything for granted when it comes to short-term rentals. [moins de 30 jours, c’est-à-dire les week-ends ou à la semaine], because it is too unequal, emphasizes Mikael Lacroix. If someone is already in the apartment in the case of a long-term rental, the bank can take the rental income into account. »

When renting, it’s important to budget for contingencies and know that annual insurance is more expensive for short-term rentals than for a year-round lease.

Mikael Lacroix, Residential & Commercial Real Estate Agent — Groupe Sutton-Immobilier Estrie

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

Check tenancy law

One of the most important factors concerns the location of the property. Mikael Lacroix suggests doing a market study and then deciding between a long-term or short-term lease. In the first case there is no municipal restriction, in the second case it is not allowed in all sectors.


It is mandatory since 01.01ah May 2020 to register with the Corporation de l’industrie touristique du Québec for a short-term rental of a chalet.

It is therefore important to check with the city about the possibility of short-term rentals before buying, because even if the property you are looking for is in a tourist area, on the waterfront, near national parks or ski mountains, there is no guarantee that the rental is permitted. If this is the case, you must register with the Corporation de l’industrie touristique du Québec (CITQ), which assigns a rating (number of stars) based on various criteria, including the location of the property, the number of rooms, the size of the Bedding and indoor and outdoor amenities (dishwasher, number of pillows, fireplace, kayak, spa, etc.). This classification makes it possible to determine a rental price and display the property on Chalets au Québec, for example.

You should also know that it is mandatory since 01.01ah May 2020 to register with the CITQ for short-term rental. This entry is equivalent to an acquired right. In the event of a complaint from the neighborhood, however, the municipality can prohibit your activity.

Manage yourself or not?

Obviously, a second home comes with additional maintenance constraints that multiply tenfold when you rent it. “An outdoor hot tub is in high demand, but you have to clean it between each resident. It requires more management and you need to determine the effort you are willing to invest while remaining realistic. For example, if the chalet is a 1 hour and 30 minute drive from your home, it can become difficult to go there frequently to clean between clients,” notes Mikael Lacroix.

Some rental management companies offer concierge services and housekeeping for typically 10% to 15% of the revenue generated. This is the case of the Hôtel à la Maison company, created after a bad experience. “We weren’t satisfied with the service we provided for our properties because we felt it was incomplete, so we decided to start our own short-term rental service,” says Michael Carrier, general manager of Hotel at home.


Michael Carrier, General Manager of Hotel à la Maison

The company currently manages 160 short term rentals and more than ten owned units on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. “Our customers entrust us with all or part of the administration. You should know that it takes an average of nine hours of work a week to manage a short-term rental home, he specifies. We also offer investors a support service in choosing geolocation and house type. »

The real estate market is overheating, so it is important to seek advice from experienced people before buying.

Michael Carrier, General Manager of Hotel à la Maison

Mr. Carrier recommends taking professional quality photos before marketing on different platforms like Airbnb or Booking. “Renting is quite a business. It is run like a business, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the turnover achieved, since this varies greatly depending on the offer, location and occupancy. In general, things are going well with the clientele, and I’ve very rarely experienced the horror stories we sometimes hear about. You just have to avoid renting to large groups by limiting the number of people allowed,” he advises.

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