Looking for a blissful winter wonderland vacation home in a location that most people have never heard of? Up until a few days ago, I have never heard of it either but now I’ve got the urge to go.
For those of you not familiar with Tremblant, it is located about one and a half hours northwest of Montreal, Canada. It’s a large year round resort and Mont Tremblant is best known as a ski destination, but also features a lake suitable for swimming, and a golf course in the summer months. The name of the mountain, Mont Tremblant, means “trembling mountain” in French.
For Mont Tremblant Real Estate to be an attractive place to invest, the prices need to be in an affordable range. After doing some searches online I found a nice site which lists all types of Mont Tremblant Properties. Some of them are rather high which are out of most people’s price range ($1 million +) but this site also lists Mont Tremblant Condos in the $175k + range. These are called condo/hotels which is a fairly new concept.
Condo hotels are usually large, high-rise, luxury hotels operated by big names including Fairmont, Westin, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, and more. Condo hotels have condos that are sold to individual investors who may use their unit as a vacation home whenever they like. When they’re not using their unit, owners have the option of placing it into an organized rental program. Rental revenue, which is shared with the operator, helps defray the owner’s expenses.
This is a wonderful way to own real estate and that’s why I started looking for vacation-type locations that offer condo hotels. The best way to better understand how it works is to actually visit one. That’s exactly what I did in Lake Tahoe and toured the Marriott Grand Residence condo hotel. It was a wonderful property in a great south shore location and I almost ended up buying a one fourth share. I’ve also been tempted to explore by the Italy real estate market but the distance alone (I live in CA) might be too much of a barrier for me.
What stopped me you ask? Well, at the end of the day when I ran the numbers, it just wasn’t coming out cash-flow positive. In most cases it probably wouldn’t anyhow but I didn’t want to lose $500+ a month especially when I thought the prices were a bit high at the time (2007). I’m glad I didn’t buy b/c the prices have dropped so I might reconsider again. What really gets you is the fee the Marriott takes out each month. Of course they rent it out for you but at a steep cost.
UPDATE 10/14/09: It’s been one year since I went and looked at the Marriott Grand Residence and I’m very glad I didn’t end up buying back then. I was up there two weekends ago and the prices have fallen roughly 40%! I would’ve taken a huge hit if I purchased one last year and I was thinking about buying now but decided against it. I spoke with a time-share agency up there and they said it’s tough to rent them out. Also Marriott takes 40-50% of your rental income if they market and rent it out. Most weeks it would be vacant with no rental income and I wouldn’t use it that often myself. It’s a great idea for someone who works non-traditional shifts like on the weekends who could use it during the week, and then rent it out on the weekends.
So if you’re interested in this condo hotel concept of real estate investing, I recommend checking out a location near you. I really love the pictures of Tremblant and will hopefully get a chance to buy a place out there soon!