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Resort Investment - Panorama or Fernie

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
For the past week or two, I haven't been able to shake the idea of buying a nice condo at a ski resort. The two closest I can think of would be either Panorama or Fernie.

Two dark horses in the race could be Kicking Horse and Kimberley, although Kimberley is really a long shot. Kicking Horse is too new. Could be the perfect time to get in, but would be a dud if it didn't live up to its promise.

Anyway, back to the original thought....

Two questions if I may.

First, what would be your thoughts as to the better location, Fernie vs Panorama? Fernie is likley the better ski area, and has the wider reputation. This would be a bonus for ski season, both for my use, and for renting it out. On the other hand, Panorama has a new, very nice golf course, and is beside a valley full of very nice golf courses. This would presumably increase summer rentals. I like Panorama to ski, and am not much of a golfer. It's marginally closer than Fernie.

What else should I build into the equation, when choosing a place??

Also, I'd be brand new to this condo ownership thing. Any old hands out there, that could give me some things to think about? My plan would be to rent it out as much as possible, saving the odd prime time for myself. This balance could shift over time, presumably as the thing was paid off, to the point where I would spend more time there, and rent it out less.

I assume my preliminary questions should revolve around occupancy rates currently being experienced, history and reputation of the management company, monthly fees and housekeeping charges, allocation of rental enquiries and so on.

Any helpful hints or guidance would be most welcome. Thanks.
post #2 of 9
If you choose Fernie I have a few Oz mates & matesses that will rent it from you for the season.

How many rooms will you have and what is the hotwater capacity??

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Oz - You're way ahead of me - it's just an idea floating around right now. I will certainly let you know when it comes to fruition.

By the way, for those who aren't aware, Panorama is owned by Intrawest, and supposedly plan another 2,000 acres of terrain in the next 5 to 10 years. Anyone with experience buying at any other intrawest resorts??
post #4 of 9

I don't have any specific advice regarding the two locations you are considering, but you also asked for general advice about what else you should consider in purchasing a condo at a ski resort.

No matter which place you buy at keep in mind that some day you will sell it. So location, location, location. If I was looking at 2 identical condos at 2 resorts, the one closer to the mountain would be the answer no matter what. Since you want to rent it out, think about 2 bedrooms, 1 bath minimum, 2 bedrooms 2 baths ideal. Renting it out is going to be harder than you may imagine. That is why there are so many compaines that exist solely for that purpose that take a big chunk of your rent. Keep in mind that there are a lot of people who get into the condo rental game with exactly your plans and get a quick, rude, and very expensive awakening. It isn't impossible to do, but be extremely conservative when figuring that rental income into making your payments. The ideal situation would be to buy a condo without needing any rental income to afford it. Any extra money you bring in is gravy, and would help pay it off quiker. Also make sure you let the complex know ahead of time that you are going to rent it out, some complexes have a limit on how many investment units they allow per building. Think about what the resort is doing over the next 10-30 years. Is your condo going to be a more or less desireable rental in 10 years, 20 years? Is the resort planning expansions later that will make your property more or less desireable later?

From what I know Kicking horse would be a riskier investment, but based on what they have done so far regarding real estate sales a condo there, if everything eventually goes right would be an explosive investment opportunity. The problem is you would have to be financially prepared to wait through these beginning leaner years to the big pay off that will arrive.

The one thing I would recommend before buying anything, is to call up a half dozen rentals in the area that you are going to buy in, go see them and see what you get for the rent they are asking. Find some owners and pick their brains. An investment condo is really risky in a seasonal market. It is feast and famine every year.

Good luck
post #5 of 9
I've toyed with the very same question. Very different market situation at the two hills in that old stuff at Panorama is dirt cheap probably below replacement value. Whereas in Fernie everything has moved up in price. New stuff at both is approximately equal with a premium for Fernie.

I'd choose Panorama if I was a golfer ( very good) who wanted a better golf course than ski hill ( very good course tres $$$) and wanted to use it all year round ie very little rental income but low cost as far a carrying costs. So for me no as don't golf. Also question for me is gone as we now have horses of lots of weekends away from Calgary are not in the cards.
post #6 of 9
Buy one in Fernie, and I'll rent it from you for 20th-27th February!
post #7 of 9
Age-old investment rule: Buy low and sell high!!!

No indications that there has been a major retraction in real estate prices at mountain resort areas, so it better be a 'Christmas Gift Purchase' or you stand a good chance of being disappointed! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #8 of 9
Have you thought about timeshare? Then you can be flexible and bank it and trade with other resorts if you want a change of scenery. Timeshares are not suitable if you want weekend trips, but are ideal for week long trips. Timeshares get a bit of a bad name cause of the hard sell marketing, but you can pick up reasonable priced weeks second hand.

I am planning to buy a week at a timeshare in NZ, probably cost me $5000 for a good resort (about $2000 US). Some years I will bank and trade for a week at an overseas ski resort. This is only way I'll ever be able to afford accomodation at US resorts. Have to plan a lot ahead but worth it. There is your annual maintenance fee (about $350 NZ here), and it costs you about $150 NZ to bank/trade.

On our first holiday to Canada we stayed at a resort that cost us $300NZ night for 10 nights = $3000. Was a nice apartment by Gondolas with sauna, spa bath etc - very nice. Turns out it was a timeshare and we could have almost bought a week in NZ second hand for our 10 days accom.

Need to watch the star rating and number of beds in your unit cause you cannot 'trade up'.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
twoKiwis - Have not considered timeshare.

In 15 years or so, I want to live there, through most of the winter, anyway. I suppose we could just buy a big swack of time, and then have it to trade all over the place.

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