Buying Information And Resources

Zoning in Whistler

There are many different types of residential zoning in the Whistler area. Some of these zonings allow the use of the property for the purposes of short term rental also referred to as “nightly rental” or tourist accommodation (1 – 28 consecutive nights) and some prohibit it, allowing only “ long term rental” ( no less that 28 consecutive nights) .

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 public usage of the property. These are generally referred to as Phase One and Phase Two properties and are found, for the most part, in the Whistler Village and the Blackcomb Benchlands. 

Phase One Units

These units are also known as "unrestricted" and are mostly one to two and three bedroom condominiums and townhome style properties. There are no restrictions on owner usage of these properties. Phase one covenant is the most versatile, as you can rent them short term, long term or live in them full time. There are many rental management companies that will take care of rentals for you, or you can orchestrate the rentals your self.

Phase Two Units 

These units are also known as "restricted" and are studio, one and two bedroom apartment condominiums incorporated in an ongoing hotel operation. The number of days that the owner is allowed to use the unit is restricted to 56 nights per year( 28 nights in the summer months and 28 nights through the winter months). . The benefits to these units include revenue, potential tax shelter and the various hotel services and facilities. These investments are best for the occasional.

What are the Associated Costs/fees for Buyers? 

There are fees associated with buying any home anywhere in world - here is a brief summary of the fees associated with buying a home both for residents and non-residents in Whistler:

  • Costs of Mortgage including:

a. Appraisal (if applicable)

b. Land Title Registration fees

  • Fire Insurance Premium
  • Lawyer or Notary Fees & Expenses

a. Searching title

b. Investigating title

c. Drafting documents

d. Land Title Registration fees

  • Taxes

a. Goods & Services Tax (if applicable)

b. Property Tax Adjustment

c. Property Purchase Tax (see below)

d. Sales Tax (if applicable)

  • Strata maintenance fees (if property is part of a strata corporation)
  • Survey Certificate (if required)

Resident Fees

  • 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 the tax is 1% on the first $200,000 of the purchase price and 2% on the balance.
  • Goods and Services Tax: The GST is a 5% tax that applies to the purchase of new construction and on the resale of accommodations that have been rented out for short term or nightly rental. The payment of the GST can be deferred if the new purchaser intends to use the accommodation for short term or nightly rental at least 90% of the time and they become a GST registrant. Independent legal / accounting advise should always be obtained.
  • Tourism Whistler Assessment Fees: These are quarterly fees payable to Tourism Whistler and are calculated based on the number of bed units (one bedroom equals two bed units) in the accommodation. If you are using the accommodation for personal use only and it is not available for rental more than 14 days a year, you may apply to pay a lower rate of this fee. Further information can be obtained on the Tourism Whistler Website at www.tourismwhistler.com
  • Insurance: Buyers are required to arrange insurance on single family residential accommodations, and liability and contents insurance on strata-titled properties.
  • Condominiums: Of special concern to condominium purchasers, there will be monthly maintenance charges, and the Strata Corporation is also entitled to levy special assessments for extraordinary expenses if necessary.

Non-Resident Fees

The above fees also apply to non-residents of Canada, however here are a few details that should also be understood:
  • 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.
  • Execution of Mortgage Documents: Once the borrower has signed a commitment letter with the lender, the lender will instruct a lawyer or notary to draw the mortgage security. These documents must be couriered to the borrower for their execution in the presence of a notary public. What this means to the buyer is simply that sufficient time be allowed to courier the documents as faxes or other methods of transmission are not possible in this case.

Payment And Mortgage Info

  • It is recommended that the purchaser open a bank account in Whistler for the transfer of funds. The balance of the purchase price must be paid by certified cheque or bank draft in Canadian funds. Since exchange rates fluctuate from institution to institution, from day to day, and depending on the amount to be exchanged, it is important to research this before the completion date. Visit http://privateclient.customhouse.com for information on transferring funds internationally.
  • Completing the Transaction: It is critical to complete transactions on the designated completion date in British Columbia. The vendor has the option of cancelling the contract of Purchase and Sale should the funds not be paid on the stipulated completion date, and is entitled to retain the deposit. It is not uncommon for vendors who wish to continue with the transaction to demand interest or additional charges for extensions for late completion.
  • It is important to note that some rules are different in Canada and you should be aware of them.
  • I recommend you obtain independant professional advise regarding mortgages. Please contact Eileen Craig or Karen Garret at Garibaldi Mortgage 604-905-3800 or visit www.garibaldimortgage.com