Buying Process for Whistler Real Estate
The buying process for Whistler real estate is explained in detail so that you have an understanding of what will be expected of you. This document has taken the guesswork out of the buying process so that you know what the next step is going to be.
- Process for Whistler Real Estate
- First conversation
- Non-residents of Canada
- Property Search
- Found a property
- Write the contract
- Accepted offer
- Due diligence period
- Subject removal
- Deposit due
- File conveyed
- Prior to closing
- Completion or closing day
- Possession day
- Closing Costs
- Building inspection
- Lawyer or Notary expenses
- Accountant fees
- Goods and Services Tax (GST)
- Survey certificate
- Mortgage costs
- Property Sales Tax (PST) on furniture
- Property Transfer Tax (PTT)
- Accountants, lawyers, building inspectors, and mortgage brokers
- Sutton Group-West Coast Realty Deposit Instructions
- Wire transfer instructions
- Bank draft or certified cheque
- Legal Process for Completion
- Before completion
- On closing day
- On possession day
Buying Process for Whistler Real Estate
1) First conversation
- Review Agency Representation
- Discuss the market conditions and what type of property you need and want.
- Review this Buyer’s Guide, so you understand the buying process.
2) Non-residents of Canada
- Plan to open a bank account in B.C. and start using it for small transactions. HSBC is a good choice however, TD Canada Trust, RBC and CIBC all have branches in Whistler Village. ScotiaBank has a branch at Whistler Creekside. You won’t be sending money into the bank as part of the buying process so you don’t really need an account. However, the lawyers always suggest that potential buyers open an account so that you have the bank account status.
- When you are in Whistler, arrange to meet with a Whistler or B.C. lawyer and they will take a photocopy of your passport. The Federal Government requires you do this prior to sending money into Canada, which may cause a delay in the funds being transferred. Which could cause a breach in the contract which you definitely want to avoid.
- Meet with legal and accounting professionals to answer any questions you may have.
- Connect with your bank or a mortgage broker. Work with one broker, there is no advantage to picking more than one broker to let them duke it out. This could complicate your application, especially if it ends up on the same lender’s desk, but with different information on the application.
- Complete the required mortgage application forms – remember to inquire about financing on renovations.
- Financing does not cover the purchase of furniture in the property.
4) Property Search
- Marion will call you when a property is listed which fits your criteria, and also with news of relevant sales.
- Auto-email option to view all new listings and sales is offered.
- WhistlerListings.com (WLS) is the site where all the Whistler agents market their listings.
5) Found a Property
Before writing the offer review the following where applicable. You may be asked to sign off on these when signing the initial offer:
- Strata documents including financials.
- Property Disclosure Statement (PDS) completed by the Seller. This will form part of the contract.
- Tenancy agreements.
- Forecasted rental bookings in place. You may have to honour these.
- Revenue generated from unauthorized accommodation.
- Unauthorized accommodation, or non-conforming space may be reported to the Fire Department. You will be asked to return the space to the original state as per the building plans on file at the RMOW. You will be required to acknowledge this unauthorized space in the contract.
- Acknowledge that you have waived the right to a building inspection, if applicable.
- Title will require your initials, look for any warning signs which could result in the lack of funds to close the sale.
- Assign the contract to a family trust or an immediate family member to give you options before closing.
- Hold-back clause for property owned by a non-resident, does the seller have the funds to close?
- Furniture. What if it is not all there when you take possession? Value of furniture, PST is applicable. Mortgage doesn’t cover furniture.
- Completion date is the date the title is transferred from Seller to Buyer. This is the date the funds are transferred from the Buyer’s lawyer to the Seller’s lawyer.
- Possession date is the date you, the buyer is allowed to legally access your property. If the property is a residential home, you may need to give the seller 2-3 days from closing to possession.
- Adjustment date is the date the lawyers use to calculate the change over of property taxes, Tourism Whistler fees, strata fees, electricity, propane bills etc.
6) Write the contract
My advice to my clients is this, if it is not written in the contract then it cannot be considered or included later without opening up the contract. You don’t want to re-open the contract, giving the the seller the opportunity to pull out.
- Include all relevant terms and conditions.
- Assignment option.
- Furniture inclusion or exclusion list.
- Involve any professionals needed.
7) Acceptance of the offer
- With an “accepted offer” the listing realtor can now accept a back-up offer if they choose.
- No-one can bump you at this stage, and the vendor cannot legally withdraw from the contractual obligations.
8) Due diligence as per the terms of the contract
With some of real estate agents, this is the time they pass you over to their assistant, whom you have probably never met, or knew existed. For Marion, this is the most important stage of the contract. This is where Marion will dedicate herself to ensuring that everything is in order. To ensure this, Marion will:
- Coordinate due diligence with all the terms and conditions of the contract. Marion will advise you of your duties.
- Refer you to 3 building inspectors, and set you up to work with the one you have chosen. The relationship is between you and the building inspector, the cost is usually around $500-$1,000 and more for a large house.
- Contact you when the strata documents are received, Marion will read these, and you must too. These documents may include a Depreciation Report on the strata development.
- Time to update your mortgage broker to let them know you have an accepted offer.
- Decide if you need a GST# and schedule a time to obtain one before closing.
- Talk with the appropriate professionals about the title, GST and Tax implications
9) Subject Removal
After the due diligence process has been completed, the Buyer will sign a document stating that the terms of the contract have been completed. In other words, the Buyer removes the subject conditions on the offer. These conditions were outlined in the contract and a date specified. This is an important deadline to adhere.
FINTRAC stands for Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre which is where the Government of Canada monitors financial transactions, including Real Estate to fight terrorism and money laundering. The Federal Government provides several forms which must be completed by the realtor. Photo identification is mandatory proof, and upon receipt, this photo identification and the completed forms will be forwarded to the Sutton Broker.
11) Deposit due
Do not send deposit prior to subject removal. Deposit must be in the Sutton trust account by the date on the contract. Once the deposit has been received it is a “firm” transaction, and noted as “sold” on WLS. If the deposit is late, the Seller can refuse to give you an extension resulting in the contract collapsing,
- Important to send Marion proof that the funds were transferred.
- Sutton requires the Buyer’s deposit to be wired into the Sutton trust account.
- Upon receipt, Marion forwards the proof of deposit to the listing realtor.
12) File conveyed by Sutton
- Sutton sends the documents to your lawyer – See Legal Process for Closing, below.
- Time for you to organize services, utilities and insurance.
13) Prior to closing
- Walk-through on property prior to closing may be requested in the contract. If it has not been requested, you may not be allowed a walk-though.
- Marion and listing agent coordinate keys and passes.
14) Completion day ( also known as closing day)
- Transfer balance of funds to your lawyer, as per lawyer’s instructions.
- Lawyer receives notification from Land Title Office and forwards on notification of the sale to the buyer.
- Please read the Legal Process for Completion section below for a full overview.
15) Possession day
This is the date and time on the contract when you are legally permitted to enter your property. Some listing agents will not allow access on the day until the actual time on the contract. The reason for this is should something go wrong, who will be responsible?
16) Testimonial for Marion
Marion may ask you for a review on Linkedin or Google. Thank you in advance.
Closing Costs on Buying Process for Whistler Real Estate
1) Building inspection
This ranges from $600 up to $1,500 for a larger 3 bedroom townhouse. The price is based on the size of the property. The building inspection confirms a relationship between the Buyer and the Building Inspector. This relationship protects the Buyer but it also protects the Inspector. The building inspection is typically done once there is an accepted contract.
2) Lawyer or Notary Fees and Expenses:
Further to the Contract of Purchase and Sale, the following are the customary costs. In particular circumstances there may be additional costs, but the following costs are applicable in most circumstances. The closing costs for the Buyer can range from $1,200 to $3,000 but depends on whether the property is strata, has a mortgage component, location of the buyer, etc. It is always prudent to ask for a quote from your lawyer, so you know what to expect. A lawyer is recommended over a notary because should anything go sideways then the lawyer is on-hand to offer a solution. The notary will not be able to jump in should anything go sideways, they will recommend you find a lawyer. However, this is the Buyer’s personal choice and it depends on the transaction. In general, the lawyer will
- search and investigate title.
- draft adjustment documents.
- prepare all documents for the completion process
- communicate with your financial institution to incorporate the mortgage into the documents in preparation for signing and completion.
- Land Title registration fee.
3) Accountant Fees and Expenses:
- GST and Tax advice. If you are buying a rental property you will need your accountant to file an annual Canadian Tax Return. Best to choose your BC accountant at this stage and stick with them.
4) Goods and Services Tax (GST) 5%
This is a complex topic. In essence, if the property has been used as a residence then it is GST exempt. The seller is obligated to inform the buyer of the GST position on the property. The buyer cannot determine the GST position.
5) Survey Certificate
Never fails to amaze me how many people buy or sell a house without a land survey. This will cost you around $1,500 for the survey and another $1,500 for the surveyor mark the land with pins and tags. The price depends on the size and scope of the property.
6) Costs of Mortgage
- Mortgage company’s Lawyer/Notary fees.
- Appraisal by bank (if applicable).
- Land Title Registration Fees.
Further to the contract, insurance must be in place by 12.01 am on the completion date. If you buy a strata property, you will be required to obtain insurance against water damage. The strata documents will also indicate the insurance you are expected to purchase. Content insurance which is approximately $700/year, is usually worthwhile.
8) Property Sales Tax 7% (PST) on furniture.
If you are getting financing the mortgage company does not fund furniture. The contract will document the agreed value of the furniture. For example, the house is being sold for $4m and the value of the furniture is separately valued at $500,000. The seller and the buyer agree on this value of the furniture when negotiating the contract. Calculate the $500,000 at 7%.
When financing is not required and there is furniture of value included in the sale, your lawyer will tell you that PST at 7% is due. However, the lawyers are not required to submit a report to the Government. So, in essence it is up to you whether your conscience will let you skip paying the PST. The worst that can happen is you get audited, receive a letter demanding payment for the PST and then you pay up.
9) Property Transfer Tax (PTT)
This tax is due at the time of title transfer. See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for details and how to calculate.
10) Professionals needed for the Transaction
Please use your own judgement. The following are professionals who are familiar with Whistler real estate.
- Gordon Wiber, Gordon Wiber & Assoc., email@example.com Whistler, 604 935 1114.
- Theresa Walterhouse, BDO Whistler, (604) 932-3799
- Sholto Shaw, Race & Co, Whistler, S.Shaw@raceandco.com (604)932 3211
- Ralph Yetman, Ralph Yetman Law, Vancouver, firstname.lastname@example.org 604 682 1311
- Chuck Piercy, Ratcliff and Associates, North Vancouver, email@example.com 604 988 5201
- Don Barr, Barr Building Projects, firstname.lastname@example.org 604 905 8378.
- John Maxon, Wolf Pack Technical Services, email@example.com 604 932 9897.
- Sylvain “Slinky” Girard, firstname.lastname@example.org 604 938 2115.
- Karen Garrett, Dominion Lending Sea to Sky Mortgages, Karen@seatoskymortgages.com 604 938 3638
Sutton Group-West Coast Realty Deposit Instructions
Marion typically writes the contract so that the deposit is not due until two business days, three business days if the buyer is a non-resident. This time excludes Saturday, Sunday and statutory holidays. The contract has a standard clause which says that the deposit is due within 24 hours of acceptance. That clause is overridden because should you not remove the subjects then there could be a delay in getting your deposit refunded. By issuing a deposit after the subjects have been removed, ensures that you are confident about your property purchase.
It is important to get the deposit organized in advance. Do not deposit it into the Sutton Group Realty Services Ltd. account until after the subject removal date. Marion will alert you when to make the deposit. The deposit is typically not less than 5% of the initial offer, and in a strong seller’s market the deposit can be 10%. The deposit is held “in trust” by Sutton Group Realty Services Ltd., until it is forwarded to the Buyer’s lawyer minus the listing (and buyer’s agent’s) commission.
The deposit funds must be received by the Sutton Group Realty Services Ltd. account by the deadline noted on the Contract of Purchase and Sale. Failure for this money to arrive on time, could result in the Seller voiding the contract. By wiring the funds the deposit is instantly received by Sutton Group Realty Services Ltd., account.
Wire Transfer Instructions
ScotiaBank which is Sutton Group’s bank, will charge you around $20 to receive a wire transfer. Please ask your sending bank to add the correct fee to the amount you are sending. Failing to add this to your wire will result in your deposit being less than what is stated on your Contract of Purchase and Sale. It is not a matter of Marion giving you $20, it is vital to get the amount correct. Send more if you are unsure. For non-residents, arranging the deposit transfer into a Vancouver or Whistler bank during the period of subject removal will ensure you can sleep for the two nights between subject removal and the date the deposit is due in the Sutton trust account.
Bank Draft or Certified Cheque
Should you prefer to drop off a bank draft or a certified cheque to the Sutton Group – West Coast Realty office in North Vancouver, this can be arranged.
Upon receipt of contractual documents from Brokerage representing the Buyer. The Buyer’s lawyer will:
- Search the title for any encumbrances.
- Contacts all applicable organizations as detailed in the contract, including ordering the strata for a Form F, which is a current financial snapshot of the unit and the strata; Tourism Whistler for fee status; the financial institution for mortgage details; RMOW for property tax status; review Residential Tenancy Agreements of any tenants for transfer of security deposits and rents; prepares a Statement of Adjustment – to calculate and show the calculations that determine the exact amount the Buyer will have to pay to the Seller on closing.
- Sends the Statement of Adjustment to the Seller’s lawyer who will forward it to the Seller for their signature.
- Retrieve the deposit funds from the Sutton Group trust account, receive the mortgage funds (if applicable) from the financial lending institution, and/or funds, or balance of funds directly from the Buyer. These funds are now all held in trust with the Buyer’s Lawyer.
- Collects the Statement of Adjustment signed by the Buyer and the Seller, together with the funds, and prepares the Land Title Transfer document.
On Closing Day
- The Buyer’s lawyer sends the Land Title Transfer documents to the Land Title office.
- Upon receipt of the Land Title Registration, the Buyer’s lawyer will fax a copy of the Registration to the Buyer’s Real Estate Brokerage and to the Seller’s Lawyer.
- The Buyer’s lawyer writes a cheque for the monies due to the Seller and sends the cheque to the Seller’s lawyer.
- Upon receipt of the cheque for monies due to the vendor, the Seller’s lawyer forwards the amount to the Seller.
- If the Seller is a non-resident, 25% of the sale price will be held back by the buyer’s lawyer until the Clearance Certificate has been received, which can take up to 18 weeks.
- Notifies the government authorities to withdraw the Property Transfer Tax and GST (if applicable) from the Trust Account of the Buyer’s lawyer.
On Possession Day
- Marion will have collected the keys from the listing agent and will arrange to get them to you.
Now it is time to celebrate!
If you are not working with a real estate agent, and would like me to interpret this information for you, please contact me. I am here to help my clients before, during and after the transaction.
It’s a Good Life in Whistler!
Marion Anderson *PREC email@example.com (604)938-3885