By Paul Hudson
Like most communities, Squamish has its unique personality. In Squamish our coastal mountain life creates a community personality that is largely defined by enjoying the outdoors. Being known as the outdoor recreation capital of Canada continues to attract many people to purchase their homes in Squamish. If you plan to make the move to Squamish, consider the following 7 factors when considering a local Squamish real estate purchase:
1. Storage For Your Outdoor Equipment:
Squamish is unique since so many of us move here to recreate outdoors. Assess what your outdoor hobbies are and ensure you have ample storage for your equipment. For example most strata corporations don’t allow dirt bikes in condo elevators and storing your kayak in the living room is usually inconvenient.
2. The BIG Back Yard:
Many people shop for real estate initially looking for the white-picket fence and a big back yard. How important is having your own private back yard when you are surrounded by an endless back yard with easy trail access? You can save a few hundred thousand dollars purchasing a less expensive home if you are willing to compromise on lot size and home style (i.e. townhouse vs. house).
3. Fuel or Transit Costs:
Many of us are required to travel to Whistler & Vancouver for business and work. Adding your vehicle and fuel costs to your budget is a serious consideration. Although our municipal council has made progress recently, transit options for Squamish are still limited.
4. Property Tax:
Many of the services you’ll enjoy in Squamish, from the trails to parks and recreation facilities to road maintenance and schools, are funded in part by municipal property taxes. Many lenders provide an option to combine your tax payment to the District of Squamish with your mortgage payments.
5. Energy Costs:
Budget to cover monthly gas, wood or electric heating bills, which fluctuate with the seasons. Unlike many parts of Canada, your winter heating costs will likely be lower in Squamish. Your real estate agent can ask a home’s seller to confirm past costs. Also, inquiry about energy rebate programs such as Genworth’s Energy-Efficient Housing Program.
6. Municipal Services:
The District of Squamish combined utilities and taxes into the same bill in 2015. Due to a rapidly growing community, residential property taxes increased an average of 3.6% in 2015 and utilities 9.5%. The benefit of these increases is improved infrastructure.
Many types of insurance enter the conversation when applying for a mortgage. These insurances range from mortgage default insurance to content insurance to liability insurance to life & disability coverage. Given the penchant for adrenaline many Squamish residents have, ensuring you have insurance coverage for unexpected events is the smart thing to do.