Common Questions about
Victoria, BC Real Estate


Questions & Answers - Victoria BC Real Estate

Most real estate and home purchasers / sellers have common questions about real estate transactions. The list below represents many of the more commonly sought answers. If you still have a question that is not easily answered, learning how to choose and work with a good realtor will be a good place to start reading. Please also consider using the contact form to get clarifications on real estate in the greater Victoria area.


The process of purchasing real estate in Victoria is a balance of many factors. First time home buyers will need to first decide on fundamental factors such as location, budget, home layout/size requirements and secondary factors like the general economy and real estate market conditions. To start, documenting your preferences and "must-have" list for items like the number of bedrooms, parking, a workspace, neighbourhood and proximity to schools or other amenities (don't forget public transit) will help set you in the correct direction. Realtors® (Real Estate Agents) are trained to help guide you through the myriad of knowledge and questions you may have. An experienced agent can help you find the right property yet every process starts with your preferences. needs, wants and budget.

Asking yourself what you want vs. items you need in a home prior to talking to a real estate agent will also help make more effective use of your time and theirs. One of the first things a Realtor® will ask you is your price range. To get an idea of what you can afford, you will want to talk to a mortgage broker or other financial professional to help figure this out.

We also recommend you read the remainder of the frequently asked question on this page. There are some good tips for where to look for help on this and other topics.

Understanding the right price range when purchasing real estate involves much more that merely finding your maximum price. It also means doing some basic market research to compare critical factors like the variances between listing and asking prices. Consider a real estate market deemed a "Buyer's Market", a market condition that generally favours the buyer, usually evidenced by the closing prices of real estate being notably lower than the original asking price. If you were to use online tools to search for real estate options up to a maximum of $500,000, being your mortgage approval amount, you might miss houses that are priced just over that price yet would accept offers within your budget.

To start, many clients begin by finding their maximum purchasing power, prior to beginning to look at properties in person. This allows a buyer to select ranges of options and order them by priority, essential when open house times start to overlap. Your maximum budget will be a factor of many items including existing equity and borrowing power. This in turn is affected by many secondary factors such as industry outlooks, prime interest rates, interest rate forecasts and your personal credit rating. Talking to financial professionals (mortgage brokers and financial advisors) will help you understand the best options for how much you can afford. Another tip is to talk to a seasoned (10 years experience or more) real estate agent who understands the annual fluctuations in the real estate market you wish to enter. It may not sound like much, but a two percent fluctuation due to lopsided supply and demand can put $20,000 into your pocket on a $1,000,000 home.

Technically, this is possible if you work with the right agents, financiers and sellers. When most people purchase a home, they often are only responsible to pay for a small portion of the purchase price. The "down payment" is your contribution and most people cover remaining costs by using a mortgage, an instrument (legal contract) of long term debt secured by the real estate you purchase. The normal down payment amount is around usually set by government regulations. As of Q2, 2021 the percentage of the purchase price of your home that constitutes the down payment is based on Government of Canada Mortgage Regulations ↗ and the sales price of your house. Note that this information should be considered in conjunction with other questions about real estate affordability within this website.

Currently the minimum amount of down payment is set at:

  • $500,000 or less - 5% of the purchase price
  • $500,000 to $999,999 - 5% of the first $500,000 of the purchase price 10% for the portion of the purchase price above $500,000
  • $1 million or more - 20% of the purchase price

So back to the original question, officially the answer is "no", however there are ways around this. To find out more about the possibilities, please review the question about finding a Realtors® who can help you with this question directly.

The answer to this question is based upon your lifestyle and needs more than anything else, however, the choice of real estate areas in Victoria is also a market-driven topic. If your budget is limited to less than $800,000, then Oak Bay real estate is probably not the best place to start looking. Likewise, if you wish to be within ten minutes of the downtown core, Sooke real estate will not meet such criteria. For cyclists, anywhere in Metchosin, Langford, Colwood or View Royal alongside the Galloping Goose or E&N rail Trails might hold appeal.

The best time of year to buy is often when there is the highest ratio of housing inventory to purchasing activity. The number of homes for sale may vary drastically as many home owners do not relish the though of moving in the winter months. Accordingly, the spring, summer and early fall typically have had the highest historical levels of available units, also called "housing inventory". By the same design, the winter months also tend to see fewer buyers in the active market as many do not generally want to move during the colder months. If you are hiring a moving company, the moving company may also be generally busier in the warmer months while having more availability in the colder times of the year.

Since Victoria, BC has the most clement weather in Canada, these ratios would not generally be expected to fluctuate as much as areas that experience much more drastic climate shifts on an annual basis. To begin, we recommend using the Victoria, BC real estate statistics page of this website to review the month by month statistics. Keep in mind that there are also macro trends over the course of multiple years that will impact your decision.

There are also secondary factors to consider like children in school and the impact of switching schools on a family. Each party needs to consider numerous factors when making this decision.

There is substantial data on this website about the value of using a realtor. For general information about the benefits of using a realtor vs. trying to buy or sell alone, please visit our page explaining how to find a realtor for the Victoria, BC real estate market.

Nevertheless, the short answer is "no", you do not absolutely require a realtor to buy or sell property as long as it is on your own behalf. It is strictly non-permissible for unlicensed individuals to act as real estate agents in any capacity for other parties.

A home inspection is a special type of inspection done by a highly trained professional as part of most real estate purchases. This is often done to satisfy the mortgage lender that the property being used to secure the mortgage is worthy of the risk taken by issuing the mortgage contract. In many cases, the decision to have a house inspection done when buying real estate will be mandated by the financial institution assuming the risk.

Individuals who are placing a high down payment (50% or more) towards buying a new home or property might not have such a requirement if the lending institution deems the risk acceptable. When purchasing a home without a mortgage, the decision is entirely left to the purchaser. The details of when and how the inspection will occur are usually negotiated as part of the formal real estate offer and acceptance. The advantage of having a home inspection is that it allows the house purchase to be halted if a non-satisfactory report is issued, or, potentially renegotiated.

The question of whether or not to have a home inspection done is a topic you will need to discuss with your real estate agent and financial institution at the time you are writing an offer to purchase real estate. Given the older age of many houses in the greater Victoria, BC area, it may be a wise choice.

A sellers market, in real estate terms, is a market condition where there are more purchasers than available inventory of homes for sale. In such cases, buyers will often try to outbid each other and in many cases, exceed the actual asking price of the property. As of Q2 2021, the Victoria, BC real estate market is slightly biased towards the seller which is driving up prices.

Check out the Real estate Statistics section of this website where we regularly public the latest market reports and pay attention to the metrics of listing price vs purchase price. Talk to your Realtor(r) to get a better perspective on the current Victoria, BC real estate market conditions.

Opposite to a sellers market, the market conditions favour new home buyers when there is an excessive amount of house inventory (real estate) available and very few buyers. In such market conditions, sellers will often try to undercut each other by reducing the asking price for real estate. As of Q2 2021, the Victoria, BC real estate market is slightly favouring sellers which is driving up prices.

Check out the Real estate Statistics section of this website where we regularly public the latest market reports and pay attention to the metrics of listing price vs purchase price. Talk to your Realtor(r) to get a better perspective on the current Victoria, BC real estate market conditions.

First and foremost, it is highly recommended to use a trained Realtor to enter into any real estate transaction. While a layperson may legally do all the work themselves, most professionals would advise the use of a Realtor to aid in either buying or selling real estate. There are many reasons for this. On top of familiarity with the overall real estate transaction process, real estate agents have unique knowledge of the current market conditions and expected trajectory for house prices.

Additionally, in British Columbia, all real estate transactions require a trained legal professional to act as a sort of intermediary in the process, holding funds in trust until certain legal conditions are met. The legal professional is also responsible for ensuring certain standards are upheld during the transaction process such as verifying the identity of the seller and buyer of the home and ensuring the financial transactions are done in accordance with the laws governing such transactions. While lawyers are trained to do this, in most cases a notary will suffice.

By attempting to do the entire process by yourself, the overall risks generally vastly outweigh the benefits.

A Realtor is an agent who acts on your behalf and ensures you are able to present the best case to buy or sell real estate. Realtors are trained and held accountable to very strict professional standards. The first role a Realtor plays is to help you prepare all the paperwork and complete any prior steps to enable the purchase of real estate. During this process, a realtor may introduce you to other professionals such as financers, home inspectors or even notaries that you will need to complete your transaction. When you make a bid to purchase a house, a real estate agent will present your bid to the seller. A good real estate agent will also intuitively know how to negotiate the best deal for you.

It is always important to remember that the Real estate agent works for you, not the other way around. Their primary focus should always be to look out for your best interests during the transaction process. For a more thorough description of a Realtor's roles during the real estate transaction, please visit our page outlining how to find a realtor for the Victoria, BC real estate market.

There are numerous facets to consider to determine which realtor will work best for a particular party. A comprehensive set of considerations is listed on our page outlining how to find a realtor for the Victoria, BC real estate market.