As a Realtor I have access to the Whistler Listing System. This means that quite often I know about listings long before the general public. I can search our database for listings that match your needs and together we can screen and view potential properties.
I am committed to your satisfaction, after all, my business and personal reputation depends on it. I am prepared to answer all you real estate questions and help you every step of the way.
So when you're looking for property in Whistler or Pemberton, be it a full time residence, weekend home, lakefront home, a ski in/ski out condo or townhome, or a bare lot to build your dream home, I will factor in price, preferred location and amenities. Then through a selection of current listings I will arrange a tour for us to view the properties so you can then decide which ones best suit you. Once we've found your ideal property, we will begin the process of making an offer, and walk you through the entire process until the keys end up in your hands.
I've helped clients close within 15 days from the date the contract is written accepted and any subject conditions where removed, but there are many factors and details that need to be reviewed on any property, I find the average completion to be a 30 to 40 day process. With the electronic world we live in now, this can be done from pretty much anywhere in the world!
Below is a list of many "Terms & Definitions" that will help you through the process, don't forget to see my "Check List".
- Finding the right property - Whistler, BC, Canada
A fundamental part of my business as a top real estate professional in Whistler is to make a priority of being aware of all the homes, condominiums and recreational investment property currently available as well the ones that will be coming onto the market.
To help you find the property that fits your needs or the home of your dreams in Whistler, the first step is finding out what features are important to you and what budget you have for the purchase. Once I have this information I can conduct a search and prepare a list of potential properties. I will then arrange a time to view the properties and help you with the selection process by explaining what is positive and what are any challenges with each property.
Once you select a property and we have determined what price you want to pay, I will prepare an offer to purchase and present it to the Sellers agent There are several considerations when writing an offer to purchase. First, if financing is required, we will make that a "condition" of the sale to make sure you will have the funds available to complete the purchase. In addition we will ask the Seller for several items to make sure the property is acceptable to you and address any concerns you may have (this will insure there are no surprises when you take possession of your new Whistler property).. Typically we will negotiate the contract until all terms and conditions are agreed to by both the Sellers and you. I will assist and guide you through the entire process and will follow up after the sale to make sure you are completely satisfied.
- International Buyers - Real Estate in Whistler, BC
If you are interested in buying real estate in the Whistler area you’ll be happy to know Canada has no restrictions to foreign property ownership. In fact, Whistler is a great multi-cultural town with a diverse mix of international owners. I have clients from all over the world and my expertise in assisting buyers through a trouble-free purchasing process has been one of the focal points of the award winning service I provide to these clients. I welcome your interest and will be happy to assist you in becoming a non-resident Canadian owner in Whistler!
To help all purchasers through the unknowns and uncertainties of property purchase transactions I work closely with an outstanding team of specialists to provide a smooth and easy purchasing process.
Accounting and Tax Services
Theresa Walterhouse at BDO Dunwoody Chartered Accountants provides my clients with information and services relating to the tax implications of non-resident Canadian property ownership. She and her staff provide outstanding service and advice in an easy to understand format.
Many international property purchasers have good working relationships with their banks at home; however, foreign banks cannot register a mortgage on property in Canada. If you need to arrange financing for your purchase or want detailed information on how the mortgage process works in Canada, Doug Mildenberger at Garibaldi Mortgage can help you with your mortgage needs, providing fast, efficient service. One fact to keep in mind is non-resident Canadian investors are required to have an equity position of 25% - 30% depending on the type of property you are purchasing.
For all property purchase transactions in British Columbia a buyer is required to retain the services of a lawyer or notary public to perform the purchase conveyance and recording of title transfer.
Chuck Piercey and Susan Pearson at Ratcliff & Co. provide outstanding service and advice to my clients and transact business all around the world everyday.
In Whistler we have our own exclusive listing system and I have the information on every property offered for sale, by every agency. My extensive experience helping International Purchasers understand our Whistler real estate market and purchase property here will be a valuable asset in assisting you.View Whistler Real Estate Listings
- Property Types
Single Family Home / Chalet
On our Whistler Listing System (WLS) Homes are called Chalets and are located throughout the Whistler and Pemberton Valley. They range form the old style A-frame or Gothic arch style/type to incredible luxurious multi million dollar homes with an Infinity Pool and Guest House. Most neighborhoods are mainly zoned for residential use, and some have, or can be required to have legal suites which can be used for mortgage assistance.
Duplex & Triplex
Duplex and Triplex are located in Whistler and Pemberton. One wall is basically shared to be a duplex, where triplex will have two end units with one unit in the middle. The biggest advantage is there are some shared costs involved with your neighbor, and yet you own the land.
Condos & Townhomes
Most Condos would be considered as hotel style apartments, but there are many townhome style condos with your own door (no hallways) as well. A town home is typically based on 2 or 3 levels and can have its own single or double car garage. You'll find them to be either Phase 1 or Phase 2 or Residential zoning.
Quarter ownership is mostly found in Whistler on a monthly basis, and you’ll have use of your place for a week per month. This is for buyers that want to be in Whistler but simply can't be in Whistler as much as he or she would prefer. If you can't manage to use your particular week you can also make it available for rent.
Lots are still available in Whistler although few and far between. Most often now if you can't find bare land to build your dream home, buyers have purchase tear downs. The advantage of purchasing a tear down typically I've seen the banks will finance up to 75% where if its bare land the banks will require 50% or more as a down payment.
Residential zoning these will be single family homes and multifamily complexes outside of the Village of Whistler.
Tourist Accommodation – Phase 1 or 2
There are two main types of Tourist Accommodation in Whistler, none in Pemberton.
Phase 1 – these properties are know as 'unrestricted'.
If the property is subject to a Phase One covenant; the owners can live in them full time or rent them long term or nightly. When not in use by the owner, the owner can chose to have the unit available for rent through a rental agency. These are the most common condos in Whistler and can be renovated and decorated to suit your style, and have a greater capital appreciation.
Phase 2 - definitely 'restricted'
If the property is subject to a Phase Two covenant, personal use of the property is restricted to 28 days in the summer and 28 days in the winter. The covenant defines how these periods of personal use may be booked and states whether additional days may be booked by booking 15-30 days in advance, subject to availability. When not in personal use, the property must be available for rental through the property manager. The revenue is "pooled" so no matter the use of your unit, the revenues to you are based on your "Unit Factor".
- Costs for Buyers
The transfer of property ownership from the seller to the buyer must be recorded in the Land Title Office in order to protect the new owner’s interests. You will probably want to engage a lawyer or notary public to act on your behalf during the completion of your purchase. The lawyer or notary public will charge a fee for this service, plus disbursements, including the Land Title Registration fee. If you are financing your purchase with a new mortgage loan, there will be a further fee and disbursements to prepare and register the mortgage documents.
B.C. Property Transfer Tax (PTT)
Yes PTT is applicable on all real estate purchases and the calculation is 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the balance. First time homebuyers can get an exemption if the purchase price is under $375,000.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) the rate is 5%
GST is applicable on new construction and properties that have been rented out nightly. GST can be deferred if the new owner plans to continue to rent out the property nightly and becomes a GST registrant at completion. Your lawyer or accountant will assist you with GST advice.
Adjustments for property taxes, maintenance fees etc. already paid by the seller at time of completion.
This is a monthly maintenance fee that is applicable for all strata-titled buildings. There is no standard fee, it’s dependant on each complex.
Tourism Whistler fees
These fees use to be called a 'pillow tax' and if applicable they are calculated based on the number of people that can be accommodated in the property. For more detailed information about bed units contact Tourism Whistler at (604) 932-3928.
The bank or lender may require an appraisal of the property before approving your loan; it will most likely be your responsibility to pay the appraiser’s fee.
The bank or lender may also require that a survey certificate be presented to them. The purpose of survey is to formally establish the boundaries of the property and to ensure that all buildings are within those boundaries. If the current owner cannot provide a recent survey certificate, this will then be your responsibility to pay the surveyor’s fee.
Yearly taxes are due on the first of July. If the current owners have already paid the full year’s property taxes to the municipality of Whistler or Pemberton depending on where you purchase, you will have to reimburse them for your share of the year’s taxes. Your lawyer will deal with this at the time of disbursement.
Tax on Rental Income
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) requires non-residents to pay 25% of the gross rental income from the property to CCRA. The 25% amount may be reduced by filing a Form NR6 return, which sets out the projected rental income and the expenses associated with the property. A property manager may be able to help you fill out this return.
Upon filing an NR6 return, the property holder will be required to file an annual tax return with respect to the property. CCRA will only allow expenses to offset the rental income if the returns are filed. Expenses incurred more than two years before the filing of a return will be disallowed. Therefore it is important to keep filings current.
- Buyers Origins
I'm often asked where our buyers come from. The most common misconception is that we have a large number of international (non-Canadian) buyers driving our market. International buyers are an important part of our marketplace; particularly for our higher priced properties, but it is clear from this graph that year after year Whistler's most common customers live in the Greater Vancouver area. Please see my "Stats" section for more detailed information on sales.
Life & Disability Mortgage Insurance
Not something I like to discuss, but I recommend you purchase insurance which will ensure that your outstanding mortgage balance is paid if you die or become disabled.
Fire & Liability Insurance
It is without a doubt the mortgage lender will insist that you purchase an insurance policy which guarantees that in the event of fire, the lender will receive the balance owing on the mortgage loan before you receive any insurance proceeds.
As a Non- Resident most banks/lenders will require about 35% down payment against the purchase of most property and upwards of 50% if the property is Phase 2 or bare land. For more information on this please consult Karen Garrett at Garibaldi Mortgage.
Withholding Tax on Rental Income: You may obtain an exemption from the 25% non-residents are required to pay to Revenue Canada by filling out a simple form called an NR6, explaining that the projected rental income is less than the anticipated expenses associated with the property. After filling out this form, you must also file a tax return with Revenue Canada. Please consult you accountant for further details and actual filling.
If you intend to furnish your property with items from a home outside Canada it is important to contact Canada Customs in order to find out what their requirements are with respect to avoiding duties on these items.
Generally, you are permitted one shipment of used personal effects to a recreational residence without being required to pay duty. You will be required to show a “Form A” Transfer form to prove that the items are being brought in to furnish your property. A copy of the form can be obtained from your lawyer.
Annual Tax Returns
CCRA requires a property holder to file a tax return with respect to all income produced from the property.
CCRA will only allow expenses from the past two years to offset income from property, so it is important to keep filings current.
Receipts for Furnishings
If you are purchasing furnishings for your property and intend for those furnishings to be sold with the property, it is important to retain receipts for the furnishings and show evidence that the furnishings are staying with the property.
This evidence should include documentation from Canada Customs if the furnishings were brought across the border, or invoices showing delivery of the items to the Whistler address if they were purchased somewhere other than Whistler.
If receipts and other evidence are not retained, CCRA will disallow the deduction of the cost of the furnishings from the sale of the property, increasing the tax payable on a transfer of the property.
The exchange rate of the transaction should be settled prior to the actual completion date. I have had many clients utilize the services of Custom House Currency Exchange www.customhouse.com1-800-350-6001. They provide prompt wiring service from your U.S. account as well as competitive exchange rates.
The balance of the property purchase price must be paid in Canadian Funds by certified check or bank draft only.
Exchange rates fluctuate, and lending institutions in the U.S. and Canada may offer different exchange rates or offer different exchange rates for buying and selling Canadian dollars, or offer different rates depending on the dollar amount involved. The exchange rate of the transaction should be settled prior to the actual completion date.
Many clients utilize the services of Custom House Currency Exchange www.customhouse.com 1-800-350-6001. They provide prompt wiring service from your U.S. account as well as competitive exchange rates. It is possible to wire funds directly to your solicitor's trust account, but you should allow sufficient time for the funds to actually appear in the trust account and thus be available for the closing. Let me know if this is what you’d like to do so this an be arranged.
I recommended that you open a bank account in Canada in order to facilitate payment in Canadian funds, this can then look after the on going expenses and so you’re able to receive revenue from rental of the property.
Completing the purchase transaction on the designated completion date is critical in British Columbia. If the transaction is not completed on the designated date, the vendor of the property has the option to cancel the contract of Purchase and Sale and is entitled to retain the deposit paid by the purchaser.
It is not uncommon for vendors who wish to continue with the transaction to demand interest or additional charges for extensions for late completion.
- Check List
These are things to think about or organize when purchasing a property here in Whistler or Pemberton. It’s general but you may see something you haven’t thought of.
- Apply to BC Hydro to have hydro bill issued in your name, even if the bill will be handled by the property manager. Call 1-800-224-9376 for BC Hydro.
- Strata Corporation Maintenance Fees need to be arranged for payment of monthly fees with property manager or for automatic debit from bank account.
- Tourism Whistler Fees, contact Tourism Whistler for fee rate and arranged for payment either with property manager or automatic debit from bank account
- Property Taxes, need to determine whether vendor has already paid yearly amount or whether an amount will be owing on July 2nd and obtained grant form if applicable
- Mortgage payments; have set up automatic debit of payments with lender.
- Open Canadian bank account if you don’t have one, and arranged automatic withdrawal of required payments.
- Discuss responsibility for unit and bills with property manager.
- Non-Resident Withholding Tax, you should contact the property manager or accountant for completion of Form NR6 to reduce withholding tax.
- Tax returns, must be arranged for filing of annual Canadian tax returns with respect to the property- returns for the year ending December 31 are due April 30 of the next year.
- GST returns, please confirm with property manager that GST is being collected and remitted. Confirm tax advice and filing to reduce GST remittances and expenses.
- Booking Personal Use- reviewed terms of rental agreements to determine notice requirements for booking and booked desired dates.
- Canada Customs, have you contacted Canada Customs with regard to bringing furnishings into Canada and determined what documentation is necessary?
- Telephone, please contact TELUS to set up phone and/or internet connection at 1-888-811-2323.
- Cable Television- contact Whistler Cable at (604) 932-1111.
- Insurance, you need to confirm what insurance coverage exists and what is necessary. If the property is under strata title liability and contents insurance will be necessary and property insurance will generally be obtained by the Strata Corporation.