I am a third generation resident of Cortes Island and am delighted to be working as a Real Estate Agent on Cortes Island!

I love the island and enjoy sharing the many wonders the island has to offer. Exploring the island is a passion for me and I am happy to have the opportunity to share that passion with you. As a trained professional I am familiar with real estate law, procedures involved in buying and selling real estate in BC and I am available to do the work needed to help you find the place that is right for you.

I can provide you with the information needed to help you assess fair market value for the properties you are interested in. I can keep you informed and updated as new properties come on the market. You will meet with me at my home office before we go look at properties and we can determine what price range you qualified to buy in and determine if Cortes Island is where you want to purchase property. As a long time island resident I am able to answer your questions about neighbourhoods as well as the island community. I can give you a tour of the island and fill you in on current features as well as give you information on the history of special areas and places.

I am familiar with real estate and contract law so I will insure the Contract of Purchase and Sale is drawn up in a professional manner and that all parties get fair representation. I can advise you of your rights, options and obligations when purchasing your property on Cortes Island. I will ensure you have all the information needed to make a fair offer and will guide you through the offer and purchase procedure.

I often tell clients purchasing property can be an emotional roller coaster ride. I am on the same ride; I just don't go as high or as low. I am there to support and help you on the ride. You can be reassured to know that I am there to guide you through the process, answer your questions and give you moral support when needed. Purchasing a property on Cortes Island is a big decision. It is a life style choice and it is important you have all the information to guide you in the decision to make that choice.

Some useful information for those interested in purchasing real estate on cortes island.


Market value is based on what others have been prepared to pay for a similar property, under the same market conditions after reasonable marketing exposure. Market value is a fair price for both buyer and seller. It is what is called an "arms length" deal, and that means that there were no influences other than the market influencing the deal. You may of course pay more than established market value if your desire for the property warrants it. Conversely, you should not expect to pay less than established market value unless the property is being sold under duress.

Qualifying For Your Mortgage

Arranging financing on remote and rural properties like Cortes Island can be a little more challenging than in town setting. Once you've made up your mind to buy a home or property on Cortes Island, the first question that you should answer is, "How much can I afford?" The financial aspects of buying a home or property do not need to be confusing. You are wise to arrange to be pre-qualified for a loan before you start shopping. Most lending institutions will only allow approximately 30% of a person's income to support a mortgage. This can be the combined income of both working partners. The banks will usually not allow more than approximately 40% of income to support a mortgage together with other debts. The amount of money you qualify for, plus the amount of cash you can put down, will equal the amount you can afford to spend on a home.
Something to be aware of is banks will only lend money on APPRAISED VALUE. This means the appraised value of the property of your choice is lower than the agreed upon price you must come up with the difference as part of the down payment. An appraisal is one of the costs incurred by the buyer when purchasing a property and most appraisals on Cortes Island are higher than town appraisals.


Having a pre-approved mortgage will give you the confidence of knowing exactly what you can spend on a home or property before you start looking. It also puts you in a good position when making an offer.It is helpful to work with a mortgage broker familiar with the market you are shopping in. Shopping for land on Cortes Island presents its own unique challenges for financing. Your mortgage broker will answer your questions and help you determine which financing terms and options are right for you.


There is more to an offer than just the price and a wise buyer does their homework first to insure the offer is as appealing to the seller as possible.


Depending on the local market conditions the price you offer may be different from the seller's asking price. You will be provided with a list of properties that sold on Cortes Island in the past year as well as information on the properties currently for sale to assist you in determining where the market is at.


The deposit is a show of good faith. There is no pre set amount for deposits but the more you can afford to put down the more impressive your show of good faith is. The deposit is held in a trust account until it is determined the sale will proceed. The deposit will be applied against the purchase of the home when the sale closes. In the event you are unable to remove your conditions and you wish to withdraw the offer the deposit will be returned to you. All parties must agree to this and sign an addendum of agreement.


This includes the total price offered and the financing details.


It is normal for offers to have conditions in the offer. This is the buyers opportunity to do their due diligence. Conditions in an offer might include "subject to home inspection", "subject to wood stove inspection", "subject to you obtaining financing". There may also be some property specific conditions to investigate. Once the buyer has satisfied all the conditions the "subject to" clauses are removed in writing the offer is considered 'Unconditional' and the sale proceeds to completion. Once an offer is unconditional the deposit is non refundable.

A buyer can make a firm, unconditional offer at the outset. This is usually preferable to the seller, because it means that you are prepared to purchase the home or property as is without any conditions. If the offer is accepted, the property is yours.

Inclusions and Exclusions

Items to be included in the purchase such as: appliances and certain fixtures or decorative items, such as window coverings. There may be specific items the seller does not want to include and those will be noted on the contract as excluded items. Included items often become part of the negotiations in an offer.

Closing or Possession Date
The closing date is the day the title of the property is legally transferred and the transaction of funds finalized unless otherwise specified. In British Columbia the Possession Date is legally 1 to 3 days after closing.

Things you should do when purchasing a home


Buying a home is one of the most important investment decisions you will make in your lifetime. As such, it makes sound financial sense to enlist the services of a qualified home inspection company to ensure your home is as solid and secure on the inside as it is on the outside. If there are items that may need addressing you can accept the home as is and address these items yourself after the purchase but it is important to be aware of these items in advance.

A home inspection will determine the structural and mechanical soundness of your home. Your home inspector will identify existing and potential problem areas, suggest practical low-cost solutions, and provide estimates regarding costs for any work required. As the building code is not enforced on Cortes Island the inspector may note items that are not to code but do not affect the use and enjoyment of the home or its structural stability.

Shortly after the inspection has taken place, a report summarizing the findings will be provided. By having a home inspection done prior to purchase, you're protecting both yourself and your investment, as well as buying a little peace-of-mind.

Home inspection costs often range according to size, age, and location of the home and it is the buyers responsibility to pay for the building inspection.


In order to get home insurance all wood stove installations must be WETT certified. Some home inspectors are certified to do this inspection and can do it at the time of the home inspection.

A water quality test is often a requirement for a mortgage on property with a home. The home must have potable water for a standard mortgage. This is a simple lab test that can be done at North Island Lab in Courtenay. If the seller does not have recent test results the test will have to be done as a condition of the sale. This test is often paid for by the buyer.

It is not unusual for a buyer to request the septic tank be pumped. This is usually paid for by the seller and may have been done in the past year. Buyers can also have the septic system inspected; such an inspection can be a condition of the sale and is usually paid for by the buyer.

Each home and property will have specific details to consider. I can assist you in investigating these details and direct you to the professionals who can help you. I am happy to act as your resource contact on Cortes both during your purchasing process and after you have bought your Cortes Island property.

Frances Guthrie

office: 250-935-6716

email: frances@cortesislandrealestate.com

Frances Guthrie