How Do I Acquire My First Vacation Rental Property?
Research and find a reputable realtor who understands the Whistler market, specifically the vacation rental business. We highly recommend Nick Swinburne from Engel & Völkers. He is one of Whistler’s top realtors and regularly helps people purchase Airbnb rentals. He has an in depth knowledge of the zoning bylaws and whether a Phase 1 or Phase 2 building will suit your needs.
Phase 1 Zoning: Phase 1 provides unlimited owner usage and allows the property to be self-managed or professionally managed with a property management company. Phase 1 is the most relaxed zoning in Whistler. This zoning therefore goes for a premium in the real estate market which is justified because of the higher earning potential and flexibility.
Phase 2 Zoning: Phase 2 has restricted usage of up to 28 days in the Summer and 28 days in the winter. Properties in this category must be property managed by a hotel manager and entered into the rental pool. Properties in this zoning are more restrictive, harder to finance, and often have higher monthly fees. Phase 2 is best avoided on an investment basis.
Each neighborhood and apartment building has unique ownership restrictions that potential homeowners should become similar with. Ownership styles include freehold, leasehold, strata, and cooperative. Beyond the ownership style and zoning there are buildings with strata bylaws that may impact the potential for short term rental such as buildings for resident use only. Contact a realtor or reach out to Lifty Life to get some insight into the housing market in Whistler.
Once you’ve bought property in Whistler and you know the zoning allows for nightly rentals, apply for your business license so you can legally operate in Whistler. Short term rental business licenses are only provided to homes zoned for such use. The process is pretty straightforward and should cost around $165 per year to maintain the license. If you choose to hire a property management company then this fee may be waived since you will act under their license.