Non-Residents Frequently Asked Questions in regards to Vancouver Real Estate

Q: What do you mean by Non-Resident?
A: A Non-resident is a person who either might be an out of province Real Estate Buyer or a Non-resident of Canada.
Q: Do you work with a lot of Non-Residence Buyers?
A: Yes! I dealt with numerous out of province and out of country Vancouver real estate purchasers. I provide full service viewing through skype, 3D floor planning, and complete information package from start to finish. With our thorough information, it is as you're already inside the house and viewing it.
Q: Do Non-residents pay more taxes when buying Real Estate in Vancouver BC?
A: Since August 2016 any non-residents who have no status in Canada pay an additional 20% Non-resident Tax in BC (except of some remote excluded area of province). This blog will be updated if such ruling changes. I do work with sophisticated team of tax experts and lawyers that can answer every of your question base on personal situation. Please don't hesitate to ask for their information. 
Q: Is there a sales Tax due when buying a Real Estate property, house or condo in Vancouver BC?

The property transfer tax rate is:

  • 1% on the first $200,000,
  • 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000,
  • 3% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $2,000,000, and
  • If the property is residential, a further 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $3,000,000 (effective February 21, 2018).

If the property is classified as residential and farm, or is residential mixed class (such as residential and commercial), you pay the further 2% tax on only the residential portion of the property.

Unless the Buyer qualifies for an exemption. This Exemption depends on the many factors like if you are a first time buyer, senior or veteran.In addition to Provincial Property Tax Transfer fee if applicable, the real estate buyer is responsible for any balance owed on Annual Real Estate Property Taxes due at the closing time. I will add an informative blog on real estate costs for buyers and sellers in Vancouver.
Q: If I am only in my Vancouver BC home seasonally, say 4 to 6 months out of the year, who takes care of my home or condo while I’m away?
A: It is all depend of what you wish to do with your house or condo, while not in Vancouver. If you wish to rent it or lease it while away, there are reputable Real Estate Property Management companies which I can refer. depending on the service you require from them, they charge an average of 10-20% of the rental fees per month. It is important to keep in mind that if purchasing a condo, Townhouse, or strata duplex, to review all the Provincial Bylaws associated with your property for any rental, age, and pet restrictions. Some Strata properties have no rental restriction at all and operate even as a transient zone for short term rentals. Some only allow rental for a minimum of 30-60 days and many require minimum of 6 months. I review all your strata documents, minutes, AGM and depreciation report and have a lawyer to review everything on your behalf for additional protection of your interest. I take pride of researching everything involved in your purchase.
If you're not planning to rent or lease your property, it is important to have someone maintain your property while it is vacant. This services include, yard maintenance, security, mail pick up, cleaning and such which in British Columbia Real Estate licensing falls under Real Estate Property Management. I'd be more than happy to refer you to most reputable companies in Vancouver.  It is also important to consult with a tax expert accountant if an additional Vacant tax fees apply. I will update the blog if such tax reform takes effect in Vancouver. 
(Update): As of January 2018, City of Vancouver applied 1% vacant tax based on the Vancouver property assessment value for properties that are vacant for over 6 month and it is imposed under vacancy tax by-law NO.11674. However all homeowners are obligated to declare the status of their property through form. To get more information you can contact city of Vancouver and listen to the detailed voice prompt. This is very important for all out of province or non-residence purchasers that use their home for vacation periods.
Also as of January 2018, our provincial government, introduced "Speculation Tax" where if the owner of the property is not using the property as their main residence, and or if the property is not rented and or if the owner is not paying any BC income taxes, they may occure specualtion tax of 2% on the fair market value annually. To read more on this new tax, please refer to BC Government Site
Q: Should I get a condo versus a single family home because condos are low-maintenance?
A: In BC, these properties are called Strata Titled Properties. Purchasing a Strata versus a Single Family Detached Homes are a common frequently asked questions. It is important to understand the title of a property as even though it seems detached house, it might have a strata title. Yes! meaning that it might have by-laws and restrictions. There are also Townhouses and duplex properties that also have strata title. Question is, is having a strata title a bad thing?
No. It all depends on what the usage of the property is. Lets assume you also have an RV or a boat and are interested in a strata property. We need to fully discover every regulation and by-law's restriction which might not allow you to park these vehicles at your property. So to answer your question, in our first meeting (in person or on the phone) , we would go through all your needs and wants. Based on that, together we decide which property type in Vancouver suits your best interest. Just a short not, it is also important to review the title by a lawyer to make sure there no covenants existing. A property also can have a freehold (no strata) title but have covenants registered on its title. This is a common practice in closed neighborhood which place regulation on the border of the neighborhood. This regulation are similar to bylaws which require further discovery and research to make sure if any of them go against your requirements. 
Q: Who pays for your real estate services?
A: In most cases it is the Real Estate Seller, who takes care of my Brokers commission and fees. In a very rare cases, where the Seller deals with discounted Brokers, or selling privately, the commission that is assigned for my services on behalf of the Seller (Vendor) does not cover my assigned services fees. Therefore after negotiating, if the seller does not agree to cover my full commission, it is the responsibility of the Buyer client to cover my fees. I always disclose in writing every cost, expense, earning and such according to Canadian Real Estate Council requirement. So as a buyer you'd make a detailed educated decision in every step. 
Q: Can a Non-Resident of Canada Buyers Get a Loan to Purchase in Vancouver BC Property?
A: Yes! Canadian banks and mortgages are very accommodating and in general the process of approval is much faster than United State. Regardless of your residency, Canadian financial institutions, review the application and qualification quite fast and provide you with pre-approval letter, which can help determining your maximum spending budget and down payment. Next step is to make sure to have conditional offer subject to Financing approval in the contract of purchase and sale (your Offer) and send it to the mortgage specialist/broker. The process of this subject usually is assigned for 7-10 business day. generally based on my experience, for foreign buyers, non-Canadian buyers, there is 30-35% down payment requirement with a proof of income of the last 2 years.To read what are other common practiced subjects (conditions) exist when making an offer go to my other blog.(What Are the Commonly Used Real Estate Buyer's Subjects)
Q: Why Is it Beneficial if You Search Properties For Me?
A: If you are not familiar with the neighborhoods, I save you a lot of time and frustration. My expertise and experience on neighborhoods, pending assessments, construction details, association fees, and most of value of the locations is what we put to work for you. Instead of searching and searching endlessly only to find out that what appears on the surface to be a great house is not…. Let me do the leg work for you. I take pride of detail research and protecting your interest. My motto is Real Estate from A to Z. 
Q: I see the terms “sold AS-IS” in many of the listings. Are these distressed properties that I should stay away from?
A: Most "Sold AS/IS, Where Is" properties are bank foreclosures, court orders. There are many factors and challenges involved in buying such properties and it usually takes longer time for approval. It also can be a risky move, since even after you receive an accepted offer from the bank, you still have to face the court and judge approval, and worst, if in court any other interested buyer attends, it turns into a competing multiple offer with sealed offer envelope. These properties also require full research, inspection, repair budgeting, in advance which I's be happy to provide this services on your behalf. 
Purchasing such properties depends on personal motivation. Keep in mind if flipping and investment are in mind, not every of this properties priced lower than a regular sale and not worth the process. Also i do recommend to consult a tax and a lawyer if planning to flip for income tax purposes. In addition, some sellers declare their property sold as/is, because of the state and the condition of their property. This usually means they have priced it based on existing issues in mind. In this scenarios, the sellers wont do secondary negotiation after home inspection.
Q: Is home property insurance difficult to get?
A: It is easy to obtain a property insurance in Vancouver BC. There is a questionnaire that requires thorough respond for the insurance agent to determine the safety of your real estate purchase as a homeowner. These questions vary from oil tank, heating source, pluming material, electrical (knob and tube), asbestos and other hazardous material existing, fire-places, exterior construction material, security system, roof age, and some other related questions which mostly the responses are in your inspection report. Some inspectors, don't check on the level of molds, asbestos or the underground oil tank, but based on the home age, recommend a further inspection by those professionals. There is also an additional optional coverage for earthquake, or other natural disasters. It is important to clearly state all correct information for your insurance broker.
Q: Why Choosing your services over other REALTORS®?
A: There are many good REALTORS® in Vancouver BC. what I offer is a thorough and transparent process, which does not stop after closing date. I also am holding a Broker license, which i studied hard and kept myself well-educated in real estate field with added experience for your benefit. When choosing a real estate agent in Vancouver BC, it is as you create a serious relationship. I like to compare it to marriage while in this relationship. There are expectation from both sides, which I make clear on our first consultation. I have to add, my Real Estate market knowledge, negotiation skills, and relationship in the industry are the key of my success in this field and I'd happy to work on your behalf for this most important investment. 
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