Buying in Whistler
Infused with an international flare, Whistler’s diverse and vibrant village culture makes Whistler stand-out as one of the world’s premier year-round resort destinations. Boasting reliable visitation figures of over 3 million annually, Whistler offers not only an incredible resort experience and attractive revenues, but a genuine mountain community of over 12,000 permanent residents.
Whistler has become increasingly popular with both national and international buyers helped in part by historically low interest rates and favourable exchange rates. Our extensive experience working with both national and international buyers and sellers means we are well versed in guiding clients through the buying process.
WHY USE AN AGENT?
Working with a trusted advisor with a deep understanding of not only the local market, but with an analytical mind is paramount to buying property in Whistler. With over 50 years of combined local real estate experience, we can expertly guide you through the buying process, engaging established professionals and connecting you with trusted companies and contractors to ensure your purchase runs smoothly from start to end.
As a member of the Whistler Real Estate Company, we have access to all listings currently available on the market. Further to this, through our marketing efforts and long-standing networks we can also engage owners of properties currently not on the market too.
Property short list – we work closely with you to establish a search criteria, while also seeking to understand your objectives from purchasing property in Whistler. Our intimate knowledge of Whistler allows us to recommend the right choice for our clients; from friendly neighbourhoods for a family-orientated buyer to condos presenting the maximum ROI for a client with investment in mind.
Property preview – we will schedule a shortlist of potential properties for buyers to preview. For clients out of town, our use of high resolution imagery and videography can provide a valuable insight into each property.
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 – A seller may counter your offer with different terms and conditions including (but not limited to) different pricing or dates of completion. At this point the buyer has the choice to either accept these terms or re-counter with their new terms e.g. 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, we will begin our due diligence including reviewing strata documents, completing a building inspection etc. At this time, additional subjects such as ‘securing financing’ may be included in the contract.
Subject Removal – If subjects were included in the accepted offer, this is the time when they would be removed and the contract becomes firm and binding. Examples of subjects include securing financing or conducting a building inspection. We can connect you with the appropriate professionals to assist in completing your home purchase.
Deposit – Depending on the contract a deposit is paid either on upon acceptance or subject removal to be held in trust by the buyers’ Real Estate Company, as a sign of good faith of the buyers’ intent to complete.
Closed – Title has be transferred and you are now the proud owner of your new Whistler home. Congratulations!
ZONING & COVENANTS
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
Property Transfer Tax (PTT)
Property Transfer Tax is charged when there is a change to a property’s land title, usually initiated through the sale of the property. The amount charged is based upon the sales price at a rate of:
- 1% on the first $200,000,
- 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000, and
- 3% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $3,000,000, and
- 5% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $3,000,000.
The additional 20% Property Transfer Tax charged to foreign nationals or foreign corporations is not applicable to our market and is limited to the Greater Vancouver Regional District area only. The recently approved ‘1% Empty Home Tax’ introduced in Vancouver where properties or residential land that sit empty for six or more full months in a year are penalised with an additional 1% tax on the property’s assessed value is not applicable in the Whistler market.
These are charged by the Resort Municipality of Whistler on a yearly basis. Payments are made in July for the full calendar 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.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
GST (Goods and Services Tax) is a 5% federal tax that is charged to the purchase of new constructions and on the resale of properties used for short-term or nightly rentals where this tax has previously been deferred. In order to defer this payment on rental properties, the new purchaser must intend to rent the property on a short-term or nightly basis for at least 90% of the time, and become a GST registrant.