Saltspring Real Estate
Find Your Perfect Island Home
Saltspring real estate offers some of the most beautiful and satisfying west coast living.
A unique variety of properties for those with tastes ranging from modern contemporary to eco-friendly to high-end luxury.
There’s bit of everything, for the diverse range of lifestyles that make up the population of Saltspring; quaint farms, sprawling vineyards, luxury estates, vacation properties, heritage homes, retirement residences and yes, there are also some affordable modest family homes.
Facts For Saltspring Real Estate Buyers
With so many stunning properties to choose from, it can be easy to lose sight of factors like accessibility. Living at the top of a mountain, or at the end of a narrow winding drive, or down a rutted road in the deep south end, can have its frustrating (and even scary) moments.
It doesn’t snow and ice up often on Saltspring, but when it does, it can take a good while for some of the back roads to get cleared. Driveways are, of course, the owner’s responsibility and icy mountain roads are treacherous in the interim before the sanders get to them. If your dream home is in such an area, you’re going to want a 4×4 vehicle for certain! A home with a wood stove or alternative energy source is also nice in these more remote areas.
Power outages can also be lengthy for homes in certain locations, depending on the cause and extent of damage. If you buy a house in a remote area, make sure you have a well stocked emergency preparedness kit!
» SUN EXPOSURE
Part of the beauty of living in such a mild Canadian climate is the ability to stretch the ‘outdoor living’ season to the max. Gardening and entertaining and simply enjoying the quietude are all activities that are better in the sun!
Because Salt Spring is so abundantly forested, many stunning homes are tucked into pockets in the trees that offer terrific privacy, but may not allow much sunlight in. Something to keep in mind when browsing properties.
A covered area, whether a carport or covered patio, is nice during the wet winters. Dry storage for firewood and yard equipment is also a major benefit.
Many island homes are on well systems. As with all man-made systems, some wells function better than others. If you’re considering Saltspring real estate which relies on well water, ask about a well record. It will provide details on what you can expect in terms of water quantity.
If you are considering a home with water issues, look into a reverse osmosis water filtration system to remove arsenic and/or radon contaminants from your water.
Besides the issue of whether there’s enough water, two other critical considerations come into play with Salt Spring Island well water…
Arsenic is a known cancer causing agent above a certain level of concentration. This contaminant is introduced to underground water sources naturally when rocks or mineral deposits containing arsenic particles break down.
It is possible to remove arsenic from your drinking water and it is not absorbed through the skin, so bathing in it is considered perfectly safe. It’s wise to ask about arsenic if you’re seriously considering buying property that relies on well water on Salt Spring Island.
A colourless, odourless, radioactive gas that has proven hazardous to health. It is formed by the breakdown process of Uranium in rocks and soil. Then it quietly seeps up into your home, by way of both the air and the water.
A simple test, available from the hardware store then sent to a lab after being left out for three days in the home, can tell you whether there is Radon in your home. It is a very fixable problem. A simple Radon reduction system will reduce the presence of the gas by up to 99%. If you’re buying a property, you can ask the home seller for a Radon check.
Radon can also enter the water supply of homes on a well system, so a water test might be a good idea as well.
Finding A Saltspring Real Estate Agent
With somewhere in the neighbourhood of fifty real estate agents available to help you in your search, finding the right person might seem daunting. As with any professional group, some have more experience than others, some have more island insight or networking connections, some have more passion for their work or time to devote to your needs.
Choosing the busiest agent with a full client load might seem like a good idea because they’re clearly well established. But they may also be overstretched with all those clients, whereas a more low-profile agent just starting out may have more time to work with you and an especially strong drive to impress new clients.
Finding a Builder
Salt Spring has an ample selection of talented home builders to choose from. In keeping with the varied and discerning tastes of islanders, local building contractors offer a wide range of specialties, including straw bale and rammed earth homes, post-and-beam joinery, timber frame construction and green building practices.
With every real estate transaction, there are fees that pop up toward the end of the process. Not all of them apply in every situation, but if you’re purchasing Saltspring real estate, expect at least some of the following expenses…
» Legal fees
Usually a few thousand dollars
» Land transfer tax
Buyers are responsible for paying a percentage of the purchase price. In British Columbia, the tax amount is 1% of the first $200,000 and 2% on the balance of the purchase price. First time home buyers may qualify for an exemption from this tax.
» Property tax
If the seller has prepaid their property tax for the entire year and you take possession sometime during that year, you’ll be expected to reimburse the seller the portion of the tax that is applicable for the remainder of the year.
» Appraisal fees
Your lender may require a property appraisal in order for you to secure a mortgage for the purchase.
» Property inspection
Usually a few hundred dollars and worth every penny to help ensure you are buying a property without major issues, or at least you are aware of them before deciding to purchase.
» Survey certificate
Sometimes required by the lender when purchasing Saltspring real estate
A 5% GST tax applies to purchases of brand new homes in BC, and sometimes to bare land, depending on the circumstances.
» Moving costs
Our move from out of province cost us over $5000. Ferry fares for large vehicles (moving trucks) can be excessive and your belongings may have to sail over on a special freight sailing.