The Whistler property market can be a complicated arena. While some of the properties offered for sale may, at first glance, sound like extraordinarily good value and “underpriced” – that might be because you are looking at a "Phase Two hotel unit", or an “employee restricted property”. Most importantly, many properties are located in neighbourhoods or buildings that prevent owners from renting the property to visitors on a nightly basis.
Following is a guide to some of the terms used in the Whistler real estate market.
Properties with this designation offer owners the most flexibility on how they can use it. Owners have unlimited personal use and they are under no obligation to make the property available for nightly or long-term rental. The option to rent is entirely the owner’s and any rental management company or rent-by-owner rental method (AirBnB as an example) can be utilized.
Phase One properties are primarily located in Whistler Village and on the lower slopes of Blackcomb Mountain.
Properties with this designation are often referred to as “hotel condominiums”. Examples would be the Four Seasons, Westin and Pan Pacific hotels. Owners are restricted to using their hotel condominium to a maximum of 56 days a year – 28 days in the winter and 28 days in the summer. Any days that the owner is not occupying are available to the hotel to be rented to guests. Owners share with the hotel the revenues generated by the hotel.
In short, this is a “hassle free” way to enjoy some time each year in Whistler in your own fully owned condominium, while having confidence that the property will be maintained and managed to a very high standard when you are not in Whistler. In tandem, there is an opportunity to generate share some strong rental revenues.
Properties with this designation are primarily single family homes. As the name suggests, if your property is designated “residential”, it cannot be used for commercial activities, which includes nightly or short-term rentals. However, renting on a long-term basis, such as monthly or annually, is permitted.
These Residential properties are of course predominantly within the various Whistler neighbourhoods, such as Brio, Alpine Meadows, Whistler Cay, Bayshores and Emerald Estates.
Throughout Whistler you will find properties designated as “employee restricted”. This generally means there may be restrictions around who can own the property, who can rent the property, the rental amount that can be charged and the price the property can actually be sold for.
If you are considering a Whistler real estate purchase it is important that you are aware of the specific regulations that govern your relationship with a Realtor, if you choose to work with one. In short, a potential buyer should carefully consider whether he / she wants to be officially represented by another licensed Realtor, as a Buyer's Agent. If a buyer elects to be "Unrepresented" with no "Agency Relationship", and work without his / her own appointed Realtor, there are important issues that need to be considered.
In the BC real estate arena, the most common scenario applicable to the consideration of a legally binding Agency Relationship is related to whether or not a potential buyer chooses to liaise directly with a licensed "Listing Agent", who would already have an Agency Relationship with the seller, and thereby specific obligations to the seller.
When communicating with an unlicensed individual about a potential real estate transaction, usually as a potential buyer, a licensed BC Realtor is legally obliged to determine whether that unlicensed individual wishes to have an Agency Relationship with him / her, or with another licensed Realtor, or to have no agency representation.
The unlicensed individual, when determining whether or not he / she wishes to enter into an Agency Relationship should generally consider whether all the following concepts, which form the foundation of an Agency Relationship, are important to him / her:
- Loyalty – An agent must always put their client’s interests first and before their own interests.
- Always avoid a conflict of interest – An agent must avoid any situation that might affect their duty to act in the best interests of their client.
- Full disclosure of relevant information – An agent must give their client all pertinent facts which have a direct affect on their client's decisions.
- Confidentiality – An agent must not reveal a client's private information without express permission. In a real estate transaction this would include a client's reasons for purchasing or selling a property, as well as the price the client might be willing to pay or at which to sell.
Whichever route a potential buyer chooses to take, represented or unrepresented, they would be made aware of the above via a mandatory document, "Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services" (DORT). The DORT explains the duties and obligations a licensed Realtor may or may not owe a person who is not licensed, depending on whether the unlicensed person wishes to enter into a formal Agency Relationship.
It's important to recognize that the DORTS does not unequivocally bind an unlicensed individual to a Realtor. It is simply a formal disclosure from the Realtor to the unlicensed individual about the duties the Realtor would be able to provide, based on the Agency Relationship preferred by the unlicensed individual.
A copy of the DORT can be provided to you simply by connecting with Steve Cartner. And of course Steve is also able to answer any questions you might have about the establishment of an Agency Relationship.