Owning your own resort home in North America’s #1 ski destination can be easier than you think

The national and international draw to Whistler translates to a very sought after real estate market. Buying in this market requires a strategic realtor that knows how to position your offer for a successful close. That 80% of Marika’s business comes from referrals and repeat clients is a sure indicator that she is just that person.

Marika’s clients cite her professionalism, market awareness, responsive service and negotiating skills as just some of the reasons for their loyalty and for their referrals of family, friends and colleagues.

As well as the personal satisfaction of a job well done, Marika is consistently rewarded with industry recognition.  She is ranked amongst the Top 10 Realtors in Whistler and is the recipient of the Medallion Club Award* and the President’s Diamond Award of Excellence.

*The Medallion Club distinction is awarded to the top 10% of Realtors in the Greater Vancouver Regional District.

Marika’s team

Marika’s support team includes a full time Sales Assistant, Jamie Dowilng, so there is always someone available to assist you. Real estate is a 7 day a week business and Marika wants to make sure you don’t miss “the one” when it hits the market.

As a Whistler resident since 1992, Marika is well connected. She has long standing relationships within the community with mortgage brokers, accountants and lawyers. Marika can refer you to reputable professionals should you require any of these services.

As well, Marika has firsthand construction knowledge from building and renovating her own homes and knows many of the local tradespeople. Should you decide to build a home or makes some changes, she can help with referrals to reliable people to do the work.

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The company we keep

Marika works with the largest and most established real estate company in Whistler. The Whistler Real Estate Company handles half of all listings and sales in Whistler/Pemberton. Marika’s clients are amongst the first to know what is newly listed and sold – in a hot market this is key. The client-focused culture at The Whistler Real Estate Company mirrors the values of Marika and her team – dynamic and leading-edge with a commitment to the highest standards of integrity and service. The Whistler Real Estate Company received national recognition with designation of ‘Best Real Estate Agency Marketing Canada’ awarded by the Canadian Property Awards.

 

 

Development in Whistler & the bed unit cap

Whistler does have some unique differences that will continue to create upward pressure on pricing.  The most notable is what is known as the “bed unit cap”.

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    The bed unit cap is a way to measure the size of a property by sleeping capacity or “pillows”.   At some point during Whistler’s development it was decided that there had to be a cap on the number of people the resort could comfortably handle for infrastructure purposes. Currently this “cap” also serves to protect our environmental sustainability in the resort.  This means that once the maximum count of 62,500 bed units is reached, there can be no new market housing created. Presently the count is at 53,098 bed units that have been developed.

    In normal market conditions, as a municipality grows, rezoning takes place that changes land use from single family to multifamily, such as to apartments or duplexes, increasing the number of properties available. Based on Whistler’s cap this cannot happen.  The main village of Whistler is almost built out.  There are still some small developments in the resort which we will see in the next few years but overall Whistler’s size will not change.

Zoning

There are over twenty-five different types of residential zones in the Whistler area. Some of these zones allow the use of the property for the purposes of short term (nightly) rentals and some prohibit it.

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    Individual properties that permit usage as tourist accommodation may also have covenants registered against the title which determine the amount and type of personal and commercial (nightly rental) usage of a property.  These are generally referred to as Phase One and Phase Two properties and are found for the most part in Whistler Village, Upper Village (Blackcomb Benchlands),Whistler Creekside and as well there are few select areas in the various neighborhoods.

    Phase One
    These properties are also known as “unrestricted” and are mostly townhomes and condominiums found in the Village areas. There are however also chalets in tourist specific areas which are zoned for nightly rentals i.e.) Nicklaus North, Horstman Estates.  There are no restrictions on owner usage and there is the ability to rent the property through a rental manager who handles all the details for marketing, renting and cleaning the property for times when the owner is not using their property.  Owners also have the option to manage the rentals themselves in most cases. Phase One properties are the most flexible option for ownership and usage.  The décor in each unit may be modified by the individual owner to suit their taste, whereas with Phase 2 – hotel properties (see below), the décor is standardized to the hotel operation and may not be altered.

    Phase Two
    These properties are also known as “restricted” and are apartment style condominiums incorporated into an ongoing hotel operation. Ie) Westin, Pan Pacific, Four Seasons, etc.  The number of days that the owner is allowed to reserve for personal use of the condo is restricted to 28 days in the winter and 28 days in the summer.  Owner reservations are pre booked on a 6 month calendar with some flexibility for short notice bookings in off seasons.  The benefit to this style of property is that it is completely hands off with all furnishing, maintenance and rentals handled by the hotel manager.  Other benefits include full service concierge, in house restaurants and hotel amenities (spa, pool, fitness facilities). Phase Two properties are best for the occasional visitor to Whistler or for the investor interested in rental income.

    Residential
    These are properties such as single family homes, townhomes, duplexes and condominiums that are zoned for full time or part time residential use. These properties may only be rented for periods longer than 28 days at a time i.e.) month to month rental or yearly rental. Nightly (short term) rentals are prohibited in residential properties.

    Quarter Share
    This type of ownership makes purchasing a property more affordable.  Under this form of strata title ownership, the owner has registered title to a fraction of the interest in the property.  These units have up to four owners and each owner is allotted one week per month on a yearly rotational calendar.  If an owner chooses not to use their allotted week, they can rent the property through the management company and earn income on the rental.

    Employee Restricted
    While anyone may purchase an employee restricted property, these properties must be occupied by a full time resident in Whistler, employed or retired. i.e.) an owner from outside of Whistler may rent the property out to a local resident.  This type of property may not be used as a weekend home.  Aside from who occupies the property, there are no other defining restrictions and no re-sale restrictions.

    Employee Restricted properties are not to be confused with “subsidized housing” which is administered by The Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) and is not sold on the open market.  WHA properties have price cap restrictions and are only available for purchase by full time residents who meet the WHA guidelines.

Purchase costs

In addition to the actual purchase price there are a number of other costs to consider.

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    Down Payment
    The largest one-time cost is the down payment.  It usually represents between 25-50% of the total price of the property.  An exception may be made for first time purchasers that are Canadian residents which allows for a lower down payment for primary residences.  This program is available through the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC).

    Mortgage
    This is the financing for the balance of the purchase price. Various banks charge different rates of interest, so we recommend that you consult a mortgage broker to get the best financing option for you.  Additional costs related to arranging the mortgage may be an appraisal fee, which is typically ranges from $300 – $500.

    Property Transfer Tax
    This is a Provincial Government Tax that applies to all transfers of real estate and is payable on the completion date. The rate of tax is calculated on the purchased price at the following rates:

    1% on the first $200,000
    2% between $200,000 up to $2Million
    3% on the balance above $2Million

    Goods and Services Tax (GST)
    This is a 5% tax that applies to the purchase of new construction and on the resale of accommodations that have been rented out on a nightly / weekly basis.  This tax can be deferred if the new purchaser intends to use the accommodation for short term or nightly rentals at least 90% of the time and she/he becomes a GST registrant.

    Provincial Sales Tax (PST) on Furnishings
    For furnished properties, buyers are required to pay provincial sales tax (7%) on the value of the furnishings, even if the furniture is used.  In most cases the PST is not paid on typical nightly rental properties, however in larger scale transactions where there are expensive items such as artwork, extensive furnishings, buyers should be aware that PST may be charged on these items.

    Foreign Buyers Tax
    There is no foreign buyer tax in Whistler.  (In British Columbia, only the Greater Vancouver area has a 15% tax on purchases made by non-residents)

    Legal Information
    For any property purchases in British Columbia, a purchaser is required to retain the services of a Canadian lawyer or notary to draw up the land title transfer documents, mortgage documents and handle the transfer of funds.  The seller is also required to have a lawyer or notary represent them as well.   We recommend that purchasers use a lawyer that is familiar with Whistler property to handle their transaction. We can assist with recommendations for reputable lawyers.   Average cost is approximately $1200-1500.

    Property Tax
    This annual tax is collected by the municipal government (Resort Municipality of Whistler aka RMOW) to pay for municipal expenses such as public road maintenance, water and sewer infrastructure, etc.  Property taxes are paid annually on July 1st which encompasses the preceding and the upcoming six months.  When you purchase a property you will be required to pay the portion of the annual tax amount based on the number of days you own the property in the year of acquisition.  The lawyers will calculate the proportionate adjustment at the time of completion.  Thereafter, you must pay your taxes by  July1st on an annual basis.

    Monthly Costs
    Typical monthly costs incurred with ownership are mortgage payments, maintenance costs, insurance, property taxes, strata fees, Tourism Whistler fees and utilities.

Non-resident purchasers

Many property owners in the Whistler area are from outside of Canada. There are however a few things to be aware of as a non-resident owner.

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    Cooperating Agents

    In Canada, we are cooperating agents, which means all licensed real estate agents can sell any current listings on the market including listings held by other agents and companies.  Purchasers deal with one agent who works on their behalf and provides updates on new listings, arranges showings, and negotiates transactions. There is no cost or fee to purchasers when retaining the services of a real estate agent.

    Taxation for Non-Residents:

    The Canadian government has certain regulations that must be adhered to with regard to our taxation law. In order to simplify things, we recommend that you speak to a local accountant to handle your tax reporting. We can provide you with a list of recommended accountants and lawyers.

    Many non-resident purchasers choose to rent out their property when they are not personally using it. The following information outlines how taxation on rental property works:

    Tax on rental income

    Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) require non-residents to pay 25% of the gross rental income from the property to CRA. This amount may be reduced by filing the appropriate paperwork in advance. Your rental manager can assist you with this.

    Annual tax returns

    CRA requires a property holder to file a tax return for all income generated from the property and will only allow expenses from the past two years to offset income from property.

    Clearance Certificate

    When you go to sell your property, you will require a Clearance Certificate from Revenue Canada prior to the completion date of your transaction. The clearance certificate confirms that all taxes have been paid up to date and that all of the proceeds from the sale of the property may be released. In the event that you do not have the Clearance Certificate in time for completion, the buyer’s lawyer will hold back a portion of the sale proceeds until the clearance certificate has been provided.

    Canada Customs

    If you intend to furnish your property with items from a house outside of Canada it is important to contact Canada Customs to determine their requirements to avoid paying import duty on these items and the regulations relating to the purchase of new furnishings.

 

Find out more about the purchasing process