Rare Rental Opportunity Puts Power in Cottage Purchasers’ Hands


Muskoka’s cottages are renowned for their impressive layouts, lavish interiors, and swoon-worthy views. Those in the market for a home away from home look to this region for their perfect place, and it often doesn’t take long for them to find it.

But even when it’s known there are gems to be discovered, it’s justified that buyers want to secure the utmost confidence in a cottage before they sign on the dotted line — luxury price points considered. A car is taken for a spin pre-purchase, after all… shouldn’t properties get similar treatment?

Now, via Halloran & Associates‘ and Muskoka District RentalsTest Drive Your Dream Home program, they do.

Through a tight-knit, collaborative relationship, the Halloran & Associates Team at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada work closely with independent full-service rental agency Muskoka District Rentals to serve up an unmatched offering: the chance for a buyer to rent the property they’re interested in purchasing — to really try it on for size — and, if acquired, to redeem a portion of rental fee paid and allocate it towards the deposit on their new property.

“What [Test Drive] does is takes a listed or unlisted property for sale, and makes it available for a short-term rental . . . so that qualified buyers can rent the property before they make an offer to purchase,” explains Ross Halloran, Founder of Halloran & Associates team and Broker, Senior Vice President, Sales at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. “The way it works is quite unique. Let’s say a person is interested in selling the property, and they do it as one of our NON-MLS proprietary ICON exclusive listings, their property can still be rented out when they’re not using it, [helping] them generate rental income while exposing the property to an exclusive roster of qualified buyers.”

Already, we’re looking at a bonus for the seller, with the potential for funds to stream in before any sale has been made. But in this situation, the buyer has the opportunity to bask in benefits, too.

“What happens is, we bring in a buyer, and rather than [asking them to] make a $4M decision within an hour[-long] showing, they can choose to rent the property and spend a week or so enjoying an immersive trial experience at the property, before they decide to submit an offer that’s acceptable to the owner. [If that offer is accepted,] a portion of the rental fee that they paid for that week gets credited as part of the deposit on the purchase. It’s completely integrated.”

Halloran explains that through Test Drive, buyers may credit as much as 50% of their rental fee towards the deposit on their new cottage. 

“[The offering] ties it together, and allows someone to wake up in the morning, have a coffee on the dock; they won’t feel rushed into making a decision — as they often are after a one-hour showing in the highly-competitive, multi-offer world we live in now… it’s really great.”

Test Drive Your Dream Home blends seamlessly with another Halloran and Associates program: Unlock EquityList It And Lease It. This program pinpoints buyers who are interested in renting out their property post-purchase.

Maryrose [Coleman, Sales Representative & Senior Vice President, Sales, Halloran & Associates] and I founded Muskoka District Rentals, which is one of the leading, independent full service rental agencies. So we’re in a unique position to be able to pair up potential buyers with cottages, both as top agents for Sotheby’s, but also having this knowledge of the rental market and [knowing] what something might fetch in the rental market,” says Halloran.

READ: For Cottage Owners Wanting to Unlock Equity, Now is the Time

Through Halloran & Associates’ unique position of viewing properties from both a resale and rental perspective, the team informs buyers about realistic rental income potential, and can facilitate a connection between the buyer and seller that allows those sellers to rent out the cottage post-sale to the former owner, in some cases.

This means a seller needn’t bid their waterfront property a permanent goodbye if they don’t want to, and they still get to enjoy the benefits of having unlocked equity from their property’s sale. Alternatively, sellers looking to explore new rentals will have what Halloran describes as a “war chest” for purchasing, or renting another cottage in the future, at their disposal — a true win-win for all parties.

From taking a place for a spin through to staking a claim on the lot, Halloran & Associates and Muskoka District Rentals’ unique rent-to-own Test Drive your Dream Home approach puts waterfront cottage buyers in the driver’s seat.

Cover Image: 1044 Russells Lane, Gravenhurst (Halloran & Associates)

This article was produced in partnership with STOREYS Custom Studio.

Never Miss the Next Big Story

Stay in the loop with STOREYS' weekly newsletter.

You may also like