Monday, February 28, 2011

Share your story

Would you like to submit your own story or ideas about fractional ownership, or travel, or...?? I'd love to hear from you. Drop a comment on this blog.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Is that cottage you always wanted really an impossible dream?

I've lived in Toronto for most of my life and have known a lot of people. In my opinion, it has been an unspoken dream for most of us to either own a cottage, or know someone who does. I can't describe the excitement we city people feel when a friend says "come up to the cottage this weekend" or "let's get a bunch of friends and rent a cottage for a week this summer" - we get as excited as kids on their birthday! We are even willing to put up with that Friday night traffic nightmare to get to that cottage up north. Some people I know spend 3-4 hours in a hot car in bumper-to-bumper traffic, just to get to the cottage - then do the same on Sunday afternoon to get home. This is accepted like it's nothing - all for the sake of getting to that escape up north.

Most non-city people probably wouldn't understand this at all, but when you live in the good old concrete jungle, the thought of being somewhere without a lot of buildings, where you can't see what colour your neighbour's underwear is or hear their conversations, and you can go outside and not hear sirens and don't smell car exhaust, where you can spend time with friends around a  bon fire, eat food that you normally wouldn't get to eat at home, and even jump in a lake that isn't polluted like Lake Ontario, it's just plain heaven.

Unfortunately, the cost of a cottage these days has gone through the roof - if you want something in what we mistakenly think is cottage paradise - Muskoka, well just forget it. Thanks to the hollywood types who discovered the area, you're looking at well over $350,000 for a shack that isn't even winterized and probably not on a lake. If you go outside Muskoka, you are looking at a cost of at least $200,000 - and that probably isn't even a nice place either. Cottage prices are nearing what it costs for a decent house in Toronto...unbelieveable!

What do you get for your money? You get a cottage that is probably full of furniture from 1960, probably a little chewed from that mouse that lived in there over the winter too - let's hope they didn't get into your pillows or had babies in the walls, or even chewed the wiring in the walls. You have to deal with taxes, utilities, the fear that the one splurge you made - that $200 TV was stolen since you were last at the cottage. You have to open it in the Spring - meaning you have to get that pump working from the lake or you won't have water to flush the toilet or wash dishes. Did I mention you probably have to bring your own drinking water from the city? You have to check for and clear out any 'friends' that moved in over the winter. Next, you'll have to get your boat out of storage, along with all the summer 'stuff' you and the kids will use - water toys, patio furniture, etc. If you're lucky, the road to your cottage is cleared of snow in the winter - which is great because you're going to have to get there at least once a month in the winter to climb up on the roof to clear off the snow - hopefully you won't fall off and break a leg! In the summer, you finally get to relax...right? ...Nope! You have to mow the lawn, trim trees, get rid of that bees nest that is annoying you ever time you go outside, and find a better way to 'lock down' the garbage because that damn racoon keeps getting into it.'s finally Fall and there's no more mowing to do, you can relax right? Nope! You have to start closing it down for winter - blowing out the water lines and pulling the pump out of the lake, putting away all the stuff again, and if the weather cooperates, you can spend some time there around Thanksgiving without freezing your buns off. Isn't it great having a cottage?...I'm exhausted just writing this!! People are spending half of their time away at the cottage doing maintenace work. It doesn't sound so relaxing and enjoyable to own a cottage, does it?

So here's Frontenac Shores. You might still have some traffic to deal with if you're coming from Toronto, but nothing close to the traffic you will deal with going north up the 400. You are looking at about a 3 hour drive - and it's clear sailing after Oshawa.

What do you get?
  • Affordable cost. You get a luxury cottage for a fraction of what you'd pay for the same cottage if you purchased it outright.
  • 5 weeks every year for life to enjoy the cottage, rent it out, or exchange weeks for 5-star resorts world-wide
  • Since you own your share of the cottage (and the land it sits on), you can sell it, rent it, or loan it to friends and family.
  • Absolutely no maintenance - the property management company looks after it all for you.
  • No housekeeping or laundry. The property management company completely cleans the unit before you arrive. They wash everything - towels, sheets, dishcloths, dishes, utensils, etc.
  • A complete cottage experience plus luxury - In the summer, you can have a bon fire, cook up some steaks on the gas BBQ, lay in the sun, go for a hike, go out on a boat, or just watch TV. In winter, go skating on the lake, go cross-country skiing, go snowmobiling, make a snowman, curl up in front of the fire and watch TV, or even go for a skate on the lake. 
  • Location - Your cottage is a few steps (literally!) to a beautiful, clean, spring-fed lake. The fishing is good, and there is a nice beach for the kids...young and old, to swim or float on a hot summer day. You also have your own boat dock - bring your own boat if you like, or use a kayak, canoe, or paddle boat that is included with your purchase.
  • Community - The Owners at Frontenac are passionate about the resort - they are like a large family!
Frontenac Shores makes that cottage dream a reality.
You can own that cottage you always dreamed of!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Compare the costs

The average 5-star resort vacation runs around $2,000 per person (plus airfare), for a 7-10 day stay. For two people, you're looking at nearly $5,000. Make that a cruise on a good cruise line, like Princess or Norwegian - for a suite, the cost would go up by at least $500. So let's say the average cost of a high-end vacation is around $6,000 per couple, per week. That may not even include airfare!

Some examples: I recently took a 12-day trip on a Meditteranean cruise in a balcony room (not a suite) on Princess. Once we added in airfare and excursions, the trip was nearly $9,000 for two people. We got a deal on the trip since we are repeat 'cruisers', and airfare was low at the time. This past summer, we took a 12-day tour vacation in the UK. This cost about the same and it was not a high-end vacation. We've spent nearly $20,000 on vacations in a little over two years!

If you do the math, assuming the average couple would want to go away for at least 1 week per year, the cost would be at least $6,000-8,000 per year. Multiply that by 10 years, and you have quite a substantial cost for that yearly 1-week trip!

At Frontenac Shores, you spend $79,900 to $99,900 per share (valid at the time I'm writing this). That gives you 5 weeks at the cottage of your dreams, which you could exchange for stays at 5-star resorts world-wide. If you compare that cost to the average cost of a vacation for two for 5 weeks, your cottage at Frontenac would have paid for itself in about 2-3 years.

So, let's say you stay at Frontenac for 4 weeks per year, and exchange 1 week for a stay at a high-end resort in the Caribbean. The cost of renting a cottage in Ontario is at least $1,500 per week in Ontario (I'm talking a nice one), and if the cost of the Caribbean vacation is $5,000 per couple plus airfare, your annual vacation expenses are about $6,500 for 1 week at a cottage, plus 1 week away. What do you have to show for that? Well, you have a lot of pictures to bore your friends with :-)), and some nice memories (hopefully!). If you invested that money into a share at Frontenac, you'd own part of a cottage forever, and have the freedom to use your 5 weeks there or somewhere else in the world.

With the cost of borrowing so low these days, it's a no-brainer - Fractional Ownership is the way to go!

PS - Frontenac has a pre-construction purchase incentive going on now! - don't miss the opportunity to save on the cost of a share.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Comments or Questions?

If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment, click the "comments" link below this post. You can enter a comment anonymously by choosing "anonymous" as the profile. If it's a question I can't answer, I will have the owners of Frontenac Shores' property management company submit a response.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Retirement - What will it look like for you?

What do you want to do when you retire? I'd be willing to bet that right now you're thinking that you'd like to enjoy life, travel, spend time with friends and family, and just relax knowing you don't have to report to anyone anymore, well except maybe your spouse :-) If you're lucky, you'll have your home paid off, hopefully have no car payment, and if all goes well, you'll have enough of a pension to live well.

What if you end up with only enough pension income to maintain life as-is with little possibility of saving for a vacation? Unfortunately, this is reality for most of us. The Government will pay you CPP of less than $1,000 per month, and when you reach 65, you'll get another pittance in the form of OAS and you might reach a total income of $1,500 per month. Even if you have managed to pay off your mortgage, you'll still have to pay utilities and of course taxes that the local Government will be only too happy to take from you. You'll have a good life of course, and it is great that we can enjoy a pension or two, but your income will be no where near it was when you were working. Being able to save some money to enjoy a vacation or get away to a cottage will be a difficult prospect, to say the least.

Think of this...if you are under 55 now, you could easily afford to purchase a share in Frontenac Shores and have it paid off by the time you retire. You could be living on a fixed income, but able to go to Frontenac Shores for 5 weeks per year! No work, no worries, just relax.