Costs associated with buying Whistler real estate
In addition to the actual purchase price of your property, there are some additional costs you will need to budget for.
They are summarized as follows:
- Property Transfer Tax (PTT) - PTT is an unavoidable provincial tax on the transfer of all real estate British Columbia. The tax is calculated as follows: 1% of the first $200,000, and 2% of the remainder of the purchase price. This tax is payable at completion and is usually included on the Buyer's statement of adjustments by the Buyer's lawyer or notary. First time buyers may be eligible for a PTT exemption on the purchase of Whistler property, upon the satisfaction of various criteria contact me to learn more.
- Legal fees - lawyer or notary fees will vary depending on the complexity of the transaction and are usually $1,000-$1,500 plus disbursements plus HST. Your legal representative will review your contracts, search the title, draft mortgage documents and facilitate the transfer and registration of title. Costs will vary depending on your requirements. We have a shortlist of lawyers we are able to recommend.
- Home inspection - if you choose to have an inspection, and in most cases we recommend it, costs are typically $250-$1,000, depending on the size of the property and complexity of the inspection. We will be pleased to advise you on the value of having a home inspection performed on your chosen property and can recommend reputable local home inspectors.
- Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) - HST is 12% on new construction and substantially renovated properties, and also on Phase 1 property that has previously been used for commercial purposes (i.e. for short term rentals where the seller is an HST-registrant). A buyer of an HST applicable Phase 1 property can, like the previous owner, defer the payment of HST by becoming an HST registrant and continuing to make the property available for short term rental. However, a change of use of a Phase 1 property to fulltime residential by a new owner may trigger the requirement to pay HST on the purchase price. The picture is further complicated by the rejection of HST by BC voters in a 2011 referendum – this means that in 2013 the Province will be reverting to the old GST/PST system. Therefore, in the case of real estate, there is a strong likelihood that 12% HST will be replaced with 5% GST. If you are interested in Phase 1 property we recommend that you seek independent advice from your accountant regarding HST and how it might affect you.
- Realtor's commissions - you won't pay realtor's commissions on your purchase. Commissions are paid by the Seller.
- Appraisal - your lender may require a property appraisal at your expense. Costs vary but are typically $200-$500.
- Site survey - your lender may require an up-to-date survey. If the Seller does not have one, you may have to absorb the costs to have one done, or alternatively you may be able to pay for title insurance.
- Insurance - you are, of course, advised to insure your property, and if you have mortgage financing it is mandatory. This insurance should run from 12.01 a.m. on the day of completion. In the case of townhouses and condos, the building itself will be insured by the strata but you must purchase insurance for your contents and liability.
- Property tax - property tax is levied annually and paid to the Municipality of Whistler. It is determined by applying the value of the property as assessed by the provincial assessment authority to the current tax rates as stated by the local tax authority. The amount can differ each year but generally Property Tax falls between 0.5-1.0% of the home's market value.
- Strata fees - these are monthly fees that typically cover the costs of building insurance, building maintenance, snow removal, garbage removal, recreation facilities. Fees vary depending on the level of services provided by the strata and are usually available on the listing data sheet.
- Tourism Whistler fees - this is a quarterly fee levied on Phase 1 and Phase 2 property, based on the number of beds in a property. The sum payable is significantly reduced if the property is not rented commercially. The funds raised from this levy go towards the marketing of Whistler both nationally and internationally, to the benefit of all Whistler income property owners.