West Vancouver is in the province of British Columbia and features a mountainous terrain and waterfront location. It is situated on the north shore of the Burrard Inlet and bordered by North Vancouver and Vancouver, just across the bridge. The city is known for its stunning views and natural surroundings, perfect for outdoor adventure and activities. Despite being a short drive from downtown Vancouver, West Vancouver feels like a world away with a peaceful and quiet atmosphere.
If you are ready to invest your money in real estate and gain equity with homeownership, buying a home in West Vancouver may be the right choice for your goals. The area has many perks, including its ideal location by water, mountains, and a major metropolitan city. As you prepare to purchase a home, here’s what you need to know:
Why you should buy a house in West Vancouver
Living in West Vancouver brings an incredible lifestyle. A significant draw to the area is its natural surroundings and outdoor recreation. Locals can visit the coast and scuba dive at Whytecliff Park, play golf on a scenic course, and explore Cypress Mountain year-round with activities like hiking trails, skiing, tubing, and snowboarding.
West Vancouver also has direct access to the Lions Gate Bridge for a commute to Vancouver for work or play. While being close to Vancouver is a perk, living outside the city and finding more affordable housing options in a rich and vibrant community is also valuable.
Home styles in the community
West Vancouver is primarily a residential area with various homes and neighbourhoods. The city has single-family homes, estates, townhouses, and condominiums, with many featuring stunning views of the surrounding mountains and waters. There are many options for luxury homes, as West Vancouver is known for its high-end real estate market. Exclusive buyers can find modern estates on the coast with private amenities like multi-car garages, docks, pools, home theatres, and more. There are also stunning rustic mountain homes with wrap-around terraces, elegant stonework, views of the community, and access to trails.
Housing costs you may encounter
As you begin your journey toward homeownership in Canada, it is important to understand the costs associated with purchasing a home. Some of the costs you can expect include the down payment, home inspection fees, legal fees, and land transfer taxes.
Closing costs are typically paid on the closing day when the sale is finalized and the keys are handed over to the new homeowners. These costs are negotiated in the contract with the seller and can result in buyers and sellers sharing the costs. The closing costs depend on the sale price of your home, often a percentage of the sale, and can include many different fees, such as appraisal fees, title insurance, realtor commission, transfer taxes, and mortgage application fees. Understanding these costs during negotiations is essential so you know what you are responsible for when the sale is complete.
When buying a home in a waterfront and mountainous city, such as West Vancouver, it is crucial to consider the potential risks and damages due to natural events such as floods, landslides, and earthquakes. Home insurance can provide homeowners with the necessary coverage to protect their investments and quickly address damages when they occur to prevent further issues.
Some mortgage lenders may require homebuyers to have insurance before approving a loan, making it an important factor to consider when purchasing a home. An insurance agent can help you find a policy for your needs and protect your home from unexpected disasters.
As you navigate the process of buying a home in Canada, be aware of additional costs that may come up, such as Homeowner Association (HOA) fees. These fees may be charged in areas with shared amenities or services, such as community parks or swimming pools, and are most common in condominium or apartment buildings.
While the additional monthly or annual fee is another expense, it can cover outside maintenance and other lifestyle perks. Research and factor these fees into your budget. Not all communities have HOA fees, so it is helpful to consider your preferences and priorities when searching for a property.
When purchasing a home in Canada, consider property taxes as a recurring expense. Property taxes vary by province and municipality and are calculated based on the assessed value of your home. These taxes fund local services such as schools, hospitals, and infrastructure. When purchasing a home, property taxes may be included in your closing costs, but moving forward, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to pay the tax on time, whether annually, semi-annually, or quarterly.
Tips to save money during your buying journey
You can prepare yourself for the experience and save funds with these tips:
Get pre-approved with a lender
Before beginning the process of searching for your West Vancouver home, it can be helpful to pre-qualify for a loan. Pre-qualifying involves providing your financial information to a lender, who will then review it and determine the financing you may be eligible for to buy a home. By taking this step early on, you will understand your borrowing limit and, therefore, your home-buying budget to streamline your home search.
Save for a larger down payment
An important factor to consider when buying a home is the down payment. While the minimum down payment required is 5%, saving for a larger down payment can have significant benefits. A larger down payment can lead to smaller mortgage payments and less interest paid at the end of your loan. If you have specific financial real estate goals, allotting a substantial down payment can help you achieve them sooner.
Work with a local realtor
Working with a realtor can be an excellent investment
in your home-buying journey. They have accurate information on the current market and can help you locate properties that may not be readily available through online searches. Realtors also negotiate on your behalf to get you a lower price or better terms on a home purchase. You can save time and money by leveraging their experience and expertise while finding the perfect home.
Find out more about buying a home in West Vancouver
*Header photo courtesy of Amir Miri