There are costs associated with buying any home, and buying a home in Whistler is no exception. Here is a brief summary of the costs associated with buying a home both for residents and non-residents.
- Depending on the amount of your down payment, you may be required to insure part your mortgage with the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation(CMHC). The remainder of the funds may be obtained through a bank, private lender or other financial institution. Some other fees attached to the mortgage may include the mortgage companies lawyer or notary fees, appraisal fee (if applicable) and land title registration 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 (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 for short term or nightly rental. The payment of the HST 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 she/he becomes a GST registrant.
- 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.
- Buyers are required to arrange insurance on single family residential accommodations, and liability and contents insurance on strata-titled properties.
- These fees apply to condominium and townhouse purchases in the form of monthly maintenance charges which includes many common expenses applicable to the operation and care of the property. The Strata Corporation is also entitled to levy special assessments for extraordinary expenses if necessary.
- Building Inspection
- It is recommended that a purchaser enlist the services of a licensed independent building inspector to determine the condition of the property before you purchase. This is often a condition of a purchase which may be satisfied prior to final acceptance of a contract. Visit the linkssection of this site for local buiding inspector contact information.
Additional information for Non-Residents
- 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.
- Methods of Payment:
- 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. Funds may be transfered through your bank or a currency exchange company such as Customs House. 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.
- Completing the Transaction:
- "Time is of the Essence". It is critical to complete transactions on the designated completion date in British Columbia. The vendor has the option of canceling the contract of Purchase and Sale should the funds not be paid on the stipulated completion date, and may be 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 frequently deal with foreign ownership and have prepared a non-resident's buyer information package which I would be happy to discuss with you.