How does the buying process in Canada for ski homes work?

Canada offers some of the world’s best skiing in stunning environments, from world-famous names like Banff through to regional favourites like Mont Tremblant. If you’re looking for a place to call your own in one of these resorts, this is for you. We’re looking at the property market and buying process in Canada for ski homes, especially if you’re purchasing from overseas.

What is the ski market like in Canada?

Canada’s ski industry is booming and, with growing interest from new markets, too, such as from China. However, property can be relatively affordable compared to the Alpes – in Mont Tremblant, four-bedroom condos go for around CAD 419,000.

How does the buying process work?

The buying process is not dissimilar to most other English-speaking countries, albeit with a bit of different terminology. Here are the main steps:

1.    Create your brief

Spend time at the beginning of the process drawing up strong specification of what you’re looking for. One method we often advise people to do is to start not by listing what you want from your property, but from your lifestyle – and work backwards from that.

Two-bedroom condo in Mont Tremblant. Click on the image to view the property.

For example, write down that you want somewhere you can visit for a couple of weeks and leave empty for a while – in which case ‘lock-up-and-leave’, easy-maintenance styles are key. Perhaps you’re making the most of retirement and want to spend longer stretches there, in which case you’ll likely need more space and you might prefer to be closer to a resort centre, instead of being ski in/out. Likewise, for anywhere you want to use in the summer for mountain biking or hiking, you’ll want somewhere with more storage for non-ski equipment.

This avoids an expanding list of everything you’d want in a dream home, but might not particularly use or need – and helps you and your realtor find a home that completely suits your requirements.

2.    Find the right realtor

Only a licensed estate agent, certified by the CREA/Canadian Real Estate Association, can call themselves a realtor. A good one will have experience of working with international buyers, and will know your area closely. Use your initial enquiries as a bit of a sounding board to see how their responses are. You want someone who will listen carefully to your needs, and match you to appropriate properties without being salesy.

Four-bedroom home in Mont Tremblant. Click on the image to view the property.

3.    Viewing trip

Canadian distances mean that even buyers based in-country are unlikely to be a short hop away from the main ski resorts. This means a viewing trip will be a crucial part of the buying process in Canada for you. This is when you go out to see properties in person – and it’s important to take it as a bit of a deadline to make sure that loose ends are tied up by this point.

Firstly, make sure that your finances are in order, including securing a mortgage offer if needed. If you’re buying from overseas, decide how to protect your money against the risk of exchange rates changing between offering and paying (find out more in the Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency).

Secondly, ensure all decision makers are on the trip and see the homes. These two points together mean that you are in a position to offer on the right home as soon as you see it.

4.    Make an offer

When you find the right property, it’s time for the exciting step of making an offer! In the buying process in Canada, you’ll need your own lawyer or conveyancer to prepare the ‘offer of purchase and sale’. At the moment of signing, you’ll pay a deposit of usually around 10%.

Five-bedroom bungalow in Mont Tremblant. Click on the image to view the property.

5.    Completion

About one to two months later, the rest of the money is paid, the property is registered and the keys are handed over. You have your very own ski home in Canada!

To find out more in detail about the buying process in Canada, plus information on finance and legalities, don’t miss your free Canada Buying Guide.