Buying a Property in Whistler as a Foreign Buyer

August 29, 2019
Anderson Lake Home

As a destination, Whistler has an international reach! It attracts people from all over the world who come to enjoy the spectacular scenery and world-class skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking. Just one of the many reasons decide they’d like to buy here.

If you are a non-resident or foreign buyer looking to purchase a property in Whistler, we want to give you some advice. Of course, you’ll want to do your research and be as prepared as possible going into the process. We asked our Realtors for some of their top tips on buying a property in Whistler as a foreign buyer:

When Buying a Property in Whistler – Be sure it’s possible!

While Whistler specifically doesn’t have any rules impeding foreign buyers or extra fees for non-residents, there are some rules regarding real estate transactions that are different in Canada.

The 15% foreign buyer tax implemented by the BC government does not currently affect the Whistler area. However, be sure to do your research at the time of purchase to assess the current state of local real estate laws. While you may not be affected when purchasing a property, sometimes there are rules regarding transactions, tax and property usage.

Know What You Want to Buy

Knowing what you’re looking for in advance is massively important (even when it comes to buying locally!) Are you looking to relocate completely or do you want a holiday home that you can rent out while you’re not there? Different properties in Whistler may have different zoning laws that affect what you can and cannot do, so ensure that the property you’re interested in meets all of your requirements.

If you’re looking to relocate, consider the specific location and the impact it will have on your life. Consider things such as whether you want to be closer to the Village or in a quieter area – this will allow you to focus your search.

Spend Time in the Area

We know that one trip to Whistler is enough to fall in love with the area, but it’s not enough to know whether buying a property here is right for you. As with all big decisions, don’t rush in! Take your time and visit again, spending longer in the area you’re considering purchasing in to get a feel for it.

We always recommend visiting during different times of the year as well and discovering how life changes from season to season. Whistler is a year-round destination with incredible things to do in both summer and winter, but it’s also good to see the area in the shoulder seasons, especially if you’re planning on moving here permanently.

Understand the Market

Whistler’s market can be considered a micro-market and doesn’t necessarily conform to the patterns of the areas surrounding it. Be sure to carry out your own research and speak to locals and experts who can provide you with the information you need to know. Our real estate agents are a great place to start!

Hire Professionals to Help You

Speaking of experts, when buying a property abroad it is essential to hire a team of professionals to help you in all aspects of the process. Even if you’re fluent in the language, understanding various laws and local market quirks can be difficult from far away.

A local real estate agent is essential and will guide you through the entire process. Depending on your situation, you may also want to consider an accredited translator to legally translate any documents, as well as a real estate lawyer.

Consider a Currency Broker

If everything goes well and you are ready to complete the transaction, this is one final thing to consider. You can save or lose a lot of money depending on the conversion rate of currency and using a traditional bank is not always the best approach, as they can have higher fees or restrictions.

A currency broker can find the best rates for you and will do all the work, making the process much easier.


The key to buying a property in Whistler as a foreign buyer is to research and to be well prepared. Avoid rushing into the decision and speak to an expert, they’re here to help!

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