Buying Real Estate in Whistler
Whistler, A Good Investment
"Infused with an International flare, Whistler is diverse, exciting and perfect for a vacation getaway. However it is once you have stood on your own piece of Whistler, that you truly understand what it is all about."
There are many advantages to owning Recreation Property: lifestyle, quality of life, equity appreciation, revenue from periodic and seasonal rentals. Whistler has it all! Set in one of the world's most pristine valleys and anchored by the number #1 ski resort in North America, Whistler has fast become and attractive option for Resort Homebuyers both locally and around the globe.
If you are interested in learning more about Whistler Real Estate or have a particular style of property you are interested in, please contact us today. We have access to all Whistler Listings and would be pleased to assist you in your search for your Perfect Whistler Home.
The Buying Process
Working with buyers both locally and internationally we understand the buying process can be somewhat overwhelming, particularly for first home buyers and non-residents buyers. Our team will guide you through the process, explaining each step so you can be comfortable and confident in your decisions. Below is a brief explanation of the buying process and commonly used terms and expressions in Whistler Real Estate transactions.
- Browse All Whistler Listings - we have access to all listings in the Whistler valley and will work with you to match properties to your criteria and create your short list
- Preview properties - we will tour you around our beautiful valley and show the properties of interest. If you are from out of town, we can use high resolution imagery, virtual tours and individual property websites to assist.
- Offer - once you have found the property for you, we will prepare an offer to be presented to the Sellers Agent. This will either be accepted or 'countered' by the sellers with a counter-offer.
- Counter Offer - This is when the sellers return the contract with their terms and conditions. For example, a different price or dates for completion. At this point the buyer has the choice to either accept these terms or re-counter with their new terms eg a different price. This negotiation process will continue back and forth until both parties can agree.
- Accepted - This is once both the buyer and seller agree to all the terms and conditions in the contract. Once a contract is accepted, the buyer will begin doing their due diligence on the property eg reading strata council meeting minutes, arranging suitable financing, completing a building inspection on the property etc.
- Subject Condition - these are specific terms to which the offer is conditional on. For Example - subject to financing, reading of strata council meeting minutes, building inspections etc. Each of these 'subjects' will have a date by which the buyer has to complete them. This basically allows the buyer time to conduct further inspection of the property and arrange their financing etc before continuing with the contract. Once the due date for the subjects arrives, if the buyer is satisfied all items and questions have been answered they proceed with the purchase by 'removing subjects conditions'. This is when the contract becomes a Firm & Binding Contract and you as a buyer put down a significant deposit on the property.
- Deposit - is held in trust by the buyers Real Estate Company and forms part of the purchase price upon completion.
- Firm - Once 'subjects' have been removed, you now have a firm & binding contract. We will assist with arranging a lawyer and put you in contact with the appropriate contacts you need for your new home e.g. accountants, phone companies, hydro/electricity etc
- Closed - Title has be transferred and you are now the proud owner of your new Whistler home. Congratulations!
Buying a Condo/Hotel
A concept developed in Whistler, purchasers have the opportunity to buy a condominium which is managed by hotel operators such as the Four Seasons. These properties will generally have a Phase II Covenant and operate on the system of a Rental Pool. This is an excellent style of investment If you are only coming to whistler a couple of weeks a year or a looking for an investment property with rental revenue.
- These properties are generally at the base of Whistler Blackcomb, close to skiing, shops and restaurants
- Hotel handles rental management and disbursement of monies
- Hotel remits GST to revenue Canada on your behalf
- Hotel manages all maintenance on the property
- Use of hotel facilities such as pools, heath spas, concierge, ski storage, business centres
- Save on accommodation expenses
- Phase II covenant limits usage
- Property Taxes, Strata Fees and Tourism Whistler Fees are the responsibility of the owner.
- All owners must register a GST number prior to closing on the unit so that they can defer the GST on the purchase.
- Owners will be charged a cleaning fee upon departure, fee depends on size of suite.
Zoning and Covenants Explained
The following is designed to be a guide to some of the more commonly used terms when looking at Whistler Real Estate. Buyers are advised to confirm the zoning and permitted use of the Real Estate they are looking to buy.
Phase II Covenant
Properties with a Phase II covenant are generally found in the larger Condo/Hotels properties such as the Four Seasons and Pan Pacific Hotels. The covenant restricts the level of Owner Use to 56 days per year - 28 days in the winter and 28 days in the summer. The remaining days the property is available for rental through the in-house rental agency (e.g. Four Seasons). All owners are in a Rental Pool where they are receiving a percentage of the Gross Rental Revenue for all the suites in the hotel for each night of occupancy. These styles of properties are best suited to those coming to Whistler a couple of weeks a year or investors interested in revenue producing properties with an in-house management company.
Rental Pool Management Agreement: each Residential Lot owner is entitled to payment each month of a proportionate share of the net revenues earned from the Rental Pool operation in respect of those days during the month the Residential Lot was available for rental to the public, after deduction of certain expenses, including the Manager's remuneration and a reserve fund contribution, a franchise fee and corporate charges of the Manager or its affiliates.
Owner's Use: If any Unit Owner wishes to use the Strata Lot in any Season, the Registered Owner must first reserve the use of the Strata Lot by completing and returning the Owner use calendar provided by the Manager at least 90 days prior to the commencement of such Season. In addition the Registered Owner may, at any time upon seven days prior written notice to the Manager, request the use of the Strata Lot of any Day or Days.
Phase I Covenant
This is generally considered unrestricted allowing the owner the most flexibility and control over their property. With a Phase I covenant, the owner has unlimited personal use of their property. In addition, the property may be made available for nightly, short term or long term rental. This type of property is typically found in condominiums and townhomes in Whistler Village, Whistler Village North and the Benchlands and works best for owners wanting to choose their own rental management company and/or use the property personally. For investors these properties are mostly found within walking distance or short bus ride to the Whistler and Blackcomb Gondolas and as such tend to provide a good return on investment through rental revenue.
This zoning is predominantly found in the residential neighbourhoods surrounding Whistler's centre such as Alpine Meadows, Whistler Cay Estates, Bayshores etc. Properties zoned Residential maybe be used as your Primary residence, long-term/seasonal rentals or for personal and recreational use. They may not be used for commercial activities such as nightly or short-term rental is not permitted.
Additional Fees & Taxes
These are charged by the Resort Municipality of Whistler on a yearly basis. Payments are made in July for the full calender year.
Also referred to as Condominium and Townhouse Maintenance Fees. These are paid to the strata corporation on a monthly basis to cover maintenance of complex. A levy may be applied at times by The Strata Corporation to cover special assessments for extraordinary expenses that may not be sufficiently covered by the contingency reserve fund.
Tourism Whistler Fees
Tourism Whistler is responsible for the promotion of Whistler as an International destination. Any property located on "Resort" lands is required to pay an annual fee based on the number of bed units present in the accommodation - for example a 1 bedroom suite equals two bed units. The amount of the fee is also dependent on the use of the property - residential vs. commercial.