WLS Frequently Asked Questions

What are the typical closing costs when I purchase a property in Whistler?

Upon completion of the transaction there are a number of additional costs which will be due and payable in addition to the agreed purchase price. These include:

  1. Adjustments, – prepaid or payable annual expenses will adjusted on a prorated basis for the year and either credited or debited to the funds you will need. These generally include property taxes, condo/home ownership fees, resort fees, rental income, etc.
  2. Property Purchase Tax – the province of BC charges 1% on the first $200,000 of the agreed price and 2% of the balance on all real estate transactions. In the event that you are a first time home purchaser and the price is under $375,000 for a primary residence this tax will be waived.
  3. HST-if you are buying a new residential property or a property owned by a company, or that has been used for commercial properties, the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) of 12% of the purchase price may be payable. Often the responsibility for the payment of this tax is part of the negotiation. How you plan on using your property may also allow you to defer any payment owing. HST is a complex topic and applies differently from transaction to transaction, you should ask for accounting advice from a professional on how to proceed with these costs.
  4. Legal Fees – Vary depending on the lawyer and the complexity of the transaction. $1500-2000 is not unusual. Ask your legal representative what their fee structure is. Your realtor can provide you with a list of lawyers familiar with transactions in Whistler.
I am a first time buyer-do I have to pay Property Purchase Tax?

If the property you are buying is to be used as your primary residence and is less than $375,000 the BC Property purchase tax is waived.  You also must not own a property anywhere else in the world, have lived in Canada and BC full time for the last 12 months, and move in within 90 days and live full time for a minimum of a year. This exemption does not apply to rental or commercial properties.   Your realtor can help with whether you qualify and with the paperwork on this item.

How much Down Payment do I need?

If this is a second home purchase you will need a minimum down payment of 25% of the purchase price. (30-35% if you are a non-resident of Canada). Down payments will vary depending on what type of property you are considering and at what price range (land requires a higher percentage down payment). A number of High Ratio solutions may be available as well. Please consult with your realtor or a mortgage specialist for specific details on a particular property.

I am not from Canada, do I need to use a Canadian Bank for Financing or I can use my bank back home.

Although you are not required to use a Canadian bank for financing, it is unlikely that conventional financing will be made available from a financial institution from outside the country. However, individual situations will vary and you are encouraged to investigate all potential sources of potential financing prior to making a purchase decision.

I am from overseas, are there any restrictions on buying in Canada?

There are no restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate in Canada. However, there are financing and taxation considerations that will determine the ideal form of ownership for an overseas owner that should be reviewed. Your realtor will be familiar with these issues or can direct you to an expert to assist you.

How do I arrange Financing?

Financing for your purchase is available for from a variety of sources in Canada. Your realtor will direct you to a selection of choices or will introduce you to an expert in arranging financing on your behalf (a mortgage broker). It is likely that you will need to provide a net worth statement and proof of income as part of this process.

What is a phase 1 covenant and what is a phase 2 covenant?

Many condominiums in Whistler (particularly those that offer rental management) have a covenant (restriction) on title that outlines the permitted amount of personal use available with ownership. A Phase 1 property allows the owner unlimited use of the property, however, when not being used personally, the condominium must or can be made available for rental through a recognized rental management company (the requirement to rent varies from property to property, check with your realtor for the exact situation). A Phase 2 property limits the amount of personal usage to 56 days a year (28 days winter and 28 days summer). The balance of the time the property must be rented through the building's rental manager. Booking procedures are standardized through a sophisticated management agreement. Although this may seem restrictive, typically personal usage of a condominium in Whistler is less than 21 days a year.

What is the difference between Residential and Tourist Accommodation zoning?

Tourist Accommodation zoning permits short-term (less than 28 days) rental. These properties are generally found in and around the base of the mountains or close to major recreational amenities like the Green Lakes golf course.

Residential Zoning does not permit a property to be used for short-term rental purposes, although long term rental (over 28 days) is permitted.

Your realtor will be fully informed about all the zoning classifications that affect property in the Whistler area.