Considering a Whistler property purchase?

Simply stated, Whistler is not Vancouver….. or Toronto, London, New York or Hong Kong. No matter how seasoned you are as a property investor, you cannot rely on the knowledge you might have from purchasing a property in your home city or at another vacation destination. Whistler has a unique set of rules and, if you don’t ask the right questions, you could get a nasty surprise after you complete the purchase.

The local regulations surrounding a Whistler property purchase have evolved over many years, with various by-laws, covenants and regulations put in place as the resort has matured. These constraints might be specific to a whole neighbourhood and / or to a specific building located perhaps in Whistler Village, on Blackcomb Mountain or in Whistler Creekside. Buyers need to be aware both of what they are buying and where they are buying. Different neighbourhoods, different regulations.

Before writing an offer on a Whistler property, consider these notes.

  • Be aware of all owner-use restrictions that might apply to the property.
  • So you want to occupy the property full time…. ask me if you can.
  • Some properties are primarily for rental purposes only. Sorry, you can’t live there for more than 56 days!
  • Hotel apartments may have a pooled rental programme…. but not always. Is this property really what you’re looking for?
  • What is a Phase Two designated property? Is that appropriate for my needs…. maybe I should buy a Phase One.
  • There are monthly fees to be paid on apartments and townhouses.
  • How much are the monthly fees? What are the monthly fees for?
  • Yes, Whistler properties can be financed. But how much usually depends on your individual circumstances.
  • That said, not all Whistler properties can be financed!
  • What is a contingency reserve fund and why does it matter?
  • How well maintained is the apartment building?
  • Why is this property so cheap? Oh, it’s shared-ownership!
  • Is shared-ownership the same as time-share?
  • Where’s the Property Disclosure Statement?
  • What’s a Form “B” and why is it important?
  • What are the strata rules and bylaws?
  • What’s a strata?
  • Can I rent my ski chalet located in Alpine Meadows on a nightly basis?
  • Why can’t I rent my ski chalet located in Alpine Meadows on a nightly basis?
  • Surely I can build a 7,000 square foot home on this lot…. or maybe not?
  • There are no restrictions on non-Canadians buying a Whistler property.
  • Do I have to use a designated rental management company?
  • Really? I can buy an apartment in the Four Seasons Resort & Spa?
  • I want to rent the apartment myself using AirBnB or VRBO – can I?
  • Why do I have to pay Tourism Whistler fees?
  • How much commission do I have to pay, if any?
  • Can you recommend a local real estate lawyer or notary to close the deal? (You will need one.)
  • There are closing costs to consider.
  • The Property Purchase Tax is the most significant closing cost you need to keep in mind. It’s a substantial amount.
  • I probably need a seasoned Realtor to help me…. can you suggest someone?