With the arrival of warmer spring weather and more hours of sunshine, there is a change in the air. Vaccines are rolling out, there are more opportunities to get outside, and more parts of life in Canada and the U.S. are planning to reopen.
But with governments on both sides of the border still discouraging non-essential cross-border travel, many snowbirds are wondering what to do about their U.S. property now and how to make the most of the Canadian spring.
Here are answers to some of the top questions snowbirds are asking.
1. Can I rent out my U.S. home while I’m not using it?
With the unpredictability of the past year, many Canadians with U.S. property have been in a bit of a holding pattern. You may have been hoping to get to your southern escape — but until there is a change in policy, you may be thinking it could be some time yet before you can make it back.
Travel across the U.S. has varied from state to state — some states have re-opened almost completely, while others continue to encourage their residents to stay distanced and limit travel. That said, there are many Americans willing and able to travel who are looking for a change of scenery within their own borders. These folks may be potential renters for your U.S. property.
If you are thinking about renting your U.S. home, be sure to look into local bylaws and any rules dictated by your homeowner’s association. What to Know Before You Rent Out Your U.S. Home can help you weigh the pros and cons of renting your property, determine an appropriate rental rate, and guide you through the tax and insurance considerations.
2. Should I hire a property management company for my U.S. home?
Since your homeowner’s insurance policy likely requires that your property is checked regularly, having a professional monitor your property and manage regular upkeep can help ensure your policy stays valid.
And, if you are interested in renting out your home and haven’t had luck finding tenants on your own, a property management firm can help you find and screen tenants, manage showings and take care of paperwork and rent collection.
While property management firms come with a cost, it’s worth weighing the expenses against the risks of holding a vacant property.
3. Where can I RV in Canada this spring?
If you’re used to RV-ing down in the U.S., you may be missing life on the road and the feeling of freedom that comes with it.
As the weather starts to get warmer across Canada, you may be able to find RV parks within a day’s drive if you’re looking for a shorter getaway. But the pace of thaw is different across Canada, and if you live in a part of the country that’s still too chilly for you, you have options for warmer weather adventure.
For instance, the climate through much of British Columbia lends itself to all-season camping and RV-ing. The southern coastal communities and islands are home to some of the warmest weather in the country, and the Okanagan region — including areas around Kelowna, Osoyoos and Merritt — offers lots of outdoor activity that can be enjoyed year-round.
4. How can I make the most of the Canadian spring?
Canadians of all ages found it difficult to stay active through this winter with fitness facilities, community centres and swimming pools closed due to the pandemic. While many braved the cold and walked, skied, snowshoed or biked through various conditions, it’s safe to say that an uptick in temperature and sunshine is more than welcome.
So as the bite leaves the air, consider how you can enjoy the spring conditions.
- Golf: If you’re a golfer and missed out on hitting the links down south this winter, Golf Canada has a listing of when courses across the country are permitted to re-open this year. Check Golf Canada to see where and when you can play your first round!
- Hiking: Whether you want to hit the trails near you or looking for a change of scenery, AllTrails has nearly 13,000 trails in Canada, complete with maps, directions, weather reports, and trail conditions. They list the top hikes in Canada, but you can easily search for a trail in another area you’re looking to explore.
- Cycling: Cycling is a great way to stay active through the spring and the roads, paths and trails near you can be a great starting point to getting the legs moving again. If you’re looking for an adventure, Cycle Canada has announced their 2021 cycling tours, which range from two-day leisure tours to two-week expeditions. All ages and abilities are welcome.
- Spring Photography: With a change in seasons comes remarkable changes in the landscape. From the ice break up along the Atlantic coast to cherry blossoms in Toronto and Vancouver and the emergence of wildlife across the country, there is much to discover through the lens of your camera. Head out for a walk near you or take on a new hike to search for magic in the transition of the seasons.
If you’re used to coming back to Canada around this time of year refreshed and energized from a getaway in the south, you’re entering spring with a different mindset compared to years past. But Canadian snowbirds are resilient and up for adventure! Once you have some peace of mind about your U.S. property, try to make the most of spring in Canada. And hopefully, seasonal migration patterns will return next year.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.