Squamish Real Estate Blog


Neighbourhood Spotlight | Squamish Oceanfront

On May 25th the Squamish Oceanfront had its soft opening, once again allowing residents and visitors access to the beach at the southern tip of the peninsula. 

In addition to an oceanfront beach, a windsport beach, a boardwalk as well as a sailing centre and boat storage facility, a playground, grassy area, rock/paved pathways and public art have also been installed. The grassy area also includes a sound stage and I can't wait to see a local show!

The Squamish Oceanfront opening is part of a 60-acre mixed-use master plan development that will include future retail, office and residential spaces. With the park complete, the next milestone will be the opening of the Presentation Centre in September, followed by House of Lager in December and pre-sales on the first residential units are anticipated to begin in late 2024. 

The area is surrounded by water as well as views of the surrounding mountains and Shannon Falls. Take a bike ride to this stunning Squamish backdrop, have a drink and a bite to eat at House of Lager and take a walk down one of the many pathways to find your favorite viewpoint while taking in the sunset over Howe Sound.

On August 17th the Squamish Oceanfront will have its grand opening and the day will coincide with the annual Sp’akw’us Feather Shakedown in partnership with the Squamish Art’s Festival

Have you visited the Squamish Oceanfront since it opened? I would love to hear what you thought, comment below! Interested in more information regarding pre-sales reach out, let's chat!

~ Julie


Lifestyle | Where to eat in Squamish

If you know me, you know that I love supporting local Squamish businesses and eating yummy food! 

So here are my Top 10 Restaurants in Squamish:

- Joe Pesto's Pizzeria | Best Pizza in Squamish! They don't skimp on the serving sizes and have a variety of plant based options.

- Fergie's Café | The Perfect Brunch Spot! Take a bike ride up Squamish Valley road with friends on the weekend and enjoy dining in nature. 

- Saha Eatery | Best Mediterranean Food in Squamish! A short walk from downtown Squamish, eat indoors in the winter or outdoors in the summer.  

- Samurai Sushi | Best Sushi in Squamish! If you call for takeout after a hike at 4 Lakes Trail your order will be ready for pickup on your way home.

- Sky Pilot Restaurant | Looking for an Adventure! Hike up and take the Sea to Sky Gondola down after a bite to eat and drink! Don't forget to take in the views of Howe Sound!

- Noshy | A Hidden Gem! Enjoy a simple and yummy menu in a casual and fun setting, leaving enough room to make your way back down Cleveland Avenue for a doughnut at Fox & Oak!

- The Crabapple Café | The Perfect Breakfast Spot! Enjoy a yummy breakfast in Brackendale and take a walk afterwards to checkout the community, a great spot to live near in Squamish!   

- Taka Ramen & Sushi | Best Ramen in Squamish! If you're looking for a great restaurant in downtown Squamish this is it, afterwards take a walk to checkout some of the local shops on Cleveland Avenue. 

- The Locavore Bar & Grill | Best Indoor and Outdoor Atmosphere! The perfect spot for a bite to eat and drink after mountain biking or meeting up with your favorite realtor to discuss new Squamish listings!   

- The Watershed Grill | Location, location, location! If you have family or friends visiting the water views can't be beat here, afterwards take an easy walk on the dike which is accessible for a variety of abilities and you might just spot an eagle in the sky or seal in the water. 

Let me know if you try any of the above Squamish restaurants! I would love to hear what menu item you tried! 

~ Julie


Lifestyle | Dynamic Cyclist

Squamish is well known as the Outdoor Adventure Capital of Canada, with over 300 km's of mountain biking trails. When the sun is shining the local Squamish mountain biking community and its visitors from Whistler, Vancouver and beyond can be found here on the trails. This includes myself as well as my husband, Rob, who has proudly built some of our local Squamish trails! In fact, many people may know that I was heavy into mountain biking as well as racing, however, I have also been struggling with a back injury since late 2022. Since then, I've been working hard to regain my strength and mobility by trying a variety of solutions including physio, massage, chiropractic, osteopathy, personal trainer...you name it, I've tried it. Although I found that physio has been the best for me so far, I have also discovered that Dynamic Cyclist was very helpful as well. 

I thought that I would share my progress here as I think that Dynamic Cyclist is a great tool for healing from an injury as well as injury prevention, and could be helpful for our local Squamish mountain biking community. After three months of use, it has now become a daily habit for me and with the programs being only 15-20mins a day there are no excuses to fit it into my schedule. I already feel stronger and have more mobility. I am starting to feel better and believe that introducing the Dynamic Cyclist programs into my daily routines has helped so much.  

Many cyclists have weak abdominals, hamstrings and hip flexors combined with tight quads and IT Bands. Not only can this affect your pedaling mechanics, but it can also lead to knee and hip pain as well as a pelvic tilt...all of which I have been struggling with. The Dynamic Cyclist daily programs were specifically developed to correct these muscle imbalances through a combination of dynamic movements, strength training and stability work.   

If you are a cyclist, I highly recommend that you try Dynamic Cyclist.  The videos are easy to follow along with at home and there is a 7 day FREE trial! If you love it and want to sign up for the monthly or annual subscription, please feel free to enter the coupon code JULIE for a 10% discount as my gift to you!

Comment below if you sign up! I would love to hear your experience! 

~ Julie


Lifestyle | Spring in Whistler
Welcome to "spring" in Sea to Sky! Often we see fluctuating weather here and this year is no exception. 
Today's focus is Whistler, as one of my favorite spring attributes for this small village town is that you can literally go skiing and kayaking in the same day! Whistler is currently trying to decide whether winter is going to stick around or if spring will bloom with daylight savings this coming weekend.  
Although we had a slow start to the season, the skiing has been fantastic this past week or so and as much as I love spring, it sure is nice to get some long overdue turns in, especially with my dad! Here's to more fresh snow and gorgeous bluebird skies!
So are you a Winter or Spring person? Below are some upcoming activities and events in Whistler this spring to help you decide!
- Whistler Blackcomb's Fire & Ice Show | Sunday Nights - Now until March 17th 
- Whistler Bobsled Sliding | Riding and/or Spectating - Now until April 7th 
- Whistler World Ski & Snowboard Festival | April 8th - April 14th 

- Whistler Farmers Market | Sundays - Starting May 19th 
I will for sure plan to check out the Whistler Farmers Market this spring, followed by a walk on the Valley Trail from the Village to Green Lake with my two labs Georgia and Maya by my side!
~ Julie

Squamish Hot Chocolate Festival
This February 1st to February 22nd is the 4th annual Squamish Hot Chocolate Festival!
There will be a tasting passport and if you collect 10 or more stamps, your name will be entered to win a "sweet, pre-loved, custom designed Squamish Hot Chocolate Festival Cruiser Bike"! Head over to the Squamish Adventure Centre to pick-up your passport or download a printable passport and find more information here.   
There are also exciting offers available while the Squamish Hot Chocolate Festival is running: 
- Sandman Hotel is offering 30% off standard room rates.
- Sea to Sky Air is offering 10% off flightseeing tours. 
- Dialed in Cycling is offering 30% off bike rentals. 
- Ridehub Cafe is offering 20% off bike rentals. 
Here is where you can find some delicious Hot Chocolate in Squamish: 
How many will you try? Don't forget to tag @squamishhotchocolatefestival so that they can see all of your "hot chocolate mustaches"!
~ Julie

Time and again, individuals are ready to invest in a home and they wish they had begun planning years earlier. Here are five crucial steps that every first-time home buyer should know, five years before buying, and what you need to know to purchase your dream home with minimal hiccups:

1. Building and Maintaining Credit | Building a solid credit history is crucial when buying a home. Focus on paying bills on time and reducing credit card balances. Any existing debts listed on your credit report must be considered in your debt calculation, which can lower your qualifying amount. Nothing destroys your purchasing power better than a Ford F150, so avoid large car payments too. Remember, lenders prefer to see two forms of credit reporting for at least two years with a minimum of $2000 available credit. This responsible credit management positively influences your credit score, leading to better mortgage rates and terms. 

2. Saving for the Down Payment | A larger down payment equates to a higher purchase price and reduced monthly payments. Often, insufficient savings act as a barrier, preventing individuals from entering the housing market. Starting early significantly impacts the amount accumulated. Over five years, set realistic saving goals and consistently contribute, aiming for at least 20% of your future home's anticipated price. Cut every unnecessary expense and be relentless with your savings. Initiate government down payment programs, such as the First Home Savings Account (FHSA), as soon as possible. Remember, a higher down payment leads to improved home options. 

3. Early Consultation with a Mortgage Agent | Talking to a Mortgage Agent early allows time to understand your finances, explore mortgage options, and prepare for any hurdles. We ensure you're ready to buy a home, offering insights to save more and address credit issues well in advance. Get advice on improving finances, understanding what you can afford, and tailored programs for first-time buyers. This guidance often motivates saving for a down payment.

4. Maximizing Income Potential for Self-Employed Individuals Understanding the impact of your tax returns on your borrowing capacity is crucial, especially if you're self-employed. Often, there's a desire to minimize reported income, yet this can affect your qualification for loans. Collaborating with your Mortgage Agent and Accountant two years before your purchase can circumvent qualification issues stemming from tax returns. As a Mortgage Professional, I have access to diverse lenders specializing in such income scenarios, offering various qualification methods. Initiating this conversation early ensures safeguarding your borrowing capacity, working in tandem with your accountant to secure your financial standing.

5. Understanding the Local Real Estate Market Rethink your approach to choosing the location for your first home. As a First-Time Home Buyer, purchasing in your desired area might not be feasible initially. Consider your initial home as a stepping stone onto the property ladder. It's not your "forever" home but rather your "for now" home. Be strategic in choosing a property that you can sell in a few years, utilizing the accrued equity to climb higher on the property ladder. Acquire skills for "sweat equity" and explore emerging neighborhoods on the verge of gentrification.

If you work on these 5 things noted above, you will be well on your way to purchasing a home. Despite what the headlines say, owning a home is possible for everyone. With a solid plan and the guidance of a Mortgage Professional, homeownership is achievable. 
This helpful information was provided by Kimberly Coutts, a Vancouver-based Mortgage Broker since 2015 with a passion for real estate and helping others. Whether it's your very first condo, your family's dream home, or an investment property, she is committed to finding the perfect financing for your housing dreams!
Originally from Winnipeg, she has called Vancouver home since 2001 and currently lives in the heart of Vancouver with her husband, Darren, and their two boys, Logan and Hudson. They spend their weekends hiking the North Shore, exploring the many beaches in the area, and spending time at the local playgrounds connecting with friends and neighbours. 
Reach out to Kimberly here, if you are looking for a Mortgage Broker!

Lifestyle | Winter in the Sea to Sky
As the weather is getting colder and the holiday season is getting closer, I love supporting local holiday experiences and makers! 
Starting with Squamish at Dusk, a new winter light experience at Rose Park located near the Squamish Adventure Centre on now until December 10th. I also can't wait for my annual Vallea Lumina winter night walk in Whistler on now until May 2024, relaxing after a walk with a hot apple cider around a firepit is the best!
The Sea to Sky Gondola also has photos with Santa now until December 10th, remember to schedule a pre-booked time before arrival as they are limited on availble spots. While you are at the gondola don't forget to check out the other winter activities! Last year my cousins visited over the holidays from Australia, we went tubing at the top and it was so much fun!
Now I can't forget about my two labs Georgia and Maya, they can't wait for Wednesday nights at the Whistler Olympic Park at Callaghan Valley to open on December 13th. They have over 40km's of dog friendly trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, the biggest off-leash furry friend experience in the Sea to Sky Corridor! 
Whistler Olympic Park
I also love that the Squamish Farmers Market is every Saturday until December 16th this year, I always make sure to take a walk downtown for the last Saturday market of the season to pick up some gifts from my favorite local makers, for my colleagues at the Macdonald Realty office here in Squamish. 
My holiday shopping experience is also never complete without stopping by at least one holiday market, this year I am planning on making it to the Whistler Bespoke Market located at the Audain Art Museum, a stunning venue and market filled with local makers on December 9th and 10th in Whistler. 
What is your favorite winter experience in the Sea to Sky? 
~ Julie

McGillivray Trusted Program

In June of 2023, I was contacted by the team at The McGillivray Group and was invited to be a part of McGillivray Trusted, a program offered by the McGillivray Group which offers Canadians a carefully curated hub of real estate agents, experts and professionals across the country who qualify for the exclusive Scott McGillivray stamp of approval in their market. Even as one of the top performing real estate agents in Squamish, this was a huge compliment and there was no hesitation to join the program.

McGillivray Trusted believes that the value of knowledgeable, connected and experienced real estate professionals is critical to Buyers, Investors and Sellers in any type of market. McGillivray Trusted is putting their name on the line to endorse real estate professionals so when you hire them for your real estate needs, you are getting the most bang for your buck. 

McGillivray Trusted takes the legwork and uncertainty out of finding reliable real estate agents and other professionals in the industry by hand-picking and extensively reviewing their excellence in client satisfaction, depth of experience, marketing and results. In turn, the endorsement program provides Buyers, Sellers and Investors access to the professionals with the highest level of customer care, experience and dedication in their chosen market.

With over 20 years of experience in real estate investments, Scott McGillivray the award-winning HGTV celebrity, executive producer as well as real estate and renovation expert and his team have successfully established the growing program with over 66 real estate professionals in over 70 markets across Canada.

When you work with me, a McGillivray Trusted Agent, you can feel confident that Scott has given me his personal seal of approval.

Click here to see all the McGillivray Trusted Agents & Professionals across Canada.

~ Julie


Community Spotlight | Borealis Landscape Lighting
As we head into the fall and winter seasons here in Squamish with those moody dark nights it is the perfect time to bring your outdoor space to life with stunning light designs.
Borealis Landscape Lighting is a newly established business here in Squamish, with a passion for creative outdoor lighting designs. They are a team of experienced professionals who are dedicated to transforming your landscape and home into a breathtaking and inviting oasis after the sun goes down. 
They understand that outdoor lighting is not just about illumination, but also about creating ambiance, enhancing safety and security as well as showcasing the beauty of your property. With their expertise in design, installation and maintenance they can help you to achieve the perfect lighting solutions tailored to your unique needs and preferences. Whether you have a residential yard or a commercial property, they take pride in designing a lighting system that maximizes the potential in your outdoor space and creating a stunning visual impact.  
We also love that they are committed to implementing eco-friendly practices like using energy-efficient LED fixtures and bulbs, which helps to save on energy costs as well as reducing our environmental footprint. Additionally, we love their dark sky compliant techniques, ensuring that the natural beauty of the dark skies in the Sea to Sky are showcased perfectly, this means that you can leave your backyard lights on while soaking in the hot tub and still see the stars!
If you are interested in getting your yard ready for those little trick or treating goblins and ghouls this Halloween season, reach out to Borealis Landscape Lighting! 
Phone | (604) 848-9190

Buying a Home | Pre-Sale Development

If you don’t need to move right away, there are many benefits to buying a pre-sale (home not yet built) in Squamish.

Lock in Today’s Cost | Since the market is often fluctuating and in Squamish specifically appreciating, purchasing a pre-sale generally means that you are locking in at the current market value and potentially avoiding future price increases.

Investment Appreciation | In a growing real estate market like Squamish, the value of properties tend to appreciate over time. If the market is continuously seeing growth, you may even see an appreciation of a pre-sale property before it is even completed.  

Pick your unit | If a development project has just been launched, there is a higher chance that you will be able to pick the location of your new home, maybe you want an exterior unit that has access to the main road or an interior courtyard unit. Something to also think about is the view, how much sun you want or how private your unit would ideally be.

Custom Home | If you buy a pre-sale early enough in the construction of your new home, you might also have the opportunity to customize certain interior finishes, the layout and sometimes minor design changes. A previous client of mine even had the cabinet making company upgrade and customize all of her closets during the process!

There are some risks involved like changes to interest rates and potential delays in construction, however if you don’t need to move right away there are so many benefits and buying a pre-sale might be the step that you need to get into the real estate market.

Before pre-buying real estate, make sure to research the developer and consider seeking advice from your local realtor and a mortgage professional in order to make an informed decision. Some mortgage brokers may even be able to secure you a longer-term rate hold specifically for pre-sale purchases.

Click here to see the current pre-sales in Squamish. The river views for the soon to come MTN Village pre-sale will be amazing! While your at it checkout the Finch Drive pre-sale the sunsets here can’t be missed!

~ Julie


Community Spotlight | Peaks and Ocean Window Cleaning

Peaks and Ocean is a premium window washing company based in Squamish, they are a locally owned and operated business that started in 2022, dedicated to providing high quality window cleaning services to residential and commercial properties in the Sea to Sky corridor. 

One of their main goals is to offer good employment to local teens and young adults. "It is awesome to work with these motivated teens and see them get stoked on putting out a great product through their hard work."

What do you love about what you do? | I love that I can be my own boss, it is so nice being able to think of an idea and implement it as fast or slow as I want. This also comes with a lot of responsibility, but I do thoroughly enjoy being able to make the decisions whether they are good ones or not.

What does a day in the life look like? | A day in the life is typically pretty hectic. I currently run Peaks and Ocean Window Washing and I just started up a second business called Borealis Landscape Lighting; this is a brand-new project for me where we specialize in high quality outdoor landscape lighting. My family has been in the landscape lighting business back in Ontario for 40 years and I have decided to go out on my own here in Squamish, so every day is a bit different from the last but they are always busy and filled with surprises.

What would your ideal weekend look like? | I truly enjoy spending time in Squamish, so an ideal weekend would be a mixture of time with my wife and friends either mountain biking, hiking or climbing. We also enjoy just hanging out around a fire or down at the river for a swim.

3 small things that make your day better?

1. Starting my day with some quiet time, I typically wake up between 5:30-6:00am and spend an hour reading the Bible and in prayer. It truly gets my day started off well and when I miss out on it, I notice.
2. Quality time with my wife.
3. Spending time with our pup Sawyer

3 small pieces of advice based on your industry?

1. Good customer service goes a long way, always pick up your phone when a customer calls.
2. Quality work over Quantity of work.
3. Treat your employees well.

If you had unlimited funds to build your dream house, what would the look and feel be like? | Well, thanks to Julie Phoenix we just got pretty close to our dream home. We moved in this weekend and it is everything we hoped for. It has mountain views, bike trail into our backyard and a great common area/kitchen for entertaining guests.

Where can people find you? 

Website | www.peaksandocean.ca

Facebook | Peaks and Ocean Window Washing

Instagram | @peaksandocean


Buying a Home | Kitchen Renovation

This kitchen renovation before and after! When my clients started the search for their home, they knew exactly what area in Squamish they wanted to buy in. After putting in three offers they had an accepted offer on the exact street that they were hoping for, however they needed a little vision for what the home could be. 

The house was only eight years old, with one previous owner and was really well taken care of, it just wasn't their personal style. They were able to look past the dark design choices with a plan in mind, in order to take this exciting next step together. They wanted a more bright, open and modern feel to their home and found a local renovation company in Squamish that was able to deliver exactly what they were looking for. 

When they bought their home it was in the peak of a market that was in favour of the seller with multiple offers, asking prices that were increasing and they also needed to make changes in the house to make it a home. However, if they had waited to buy in this market it would have been a while before a house in the same area became available again and this would have also come with a potentially higher asking price. I love that they took this step, even though they needed a little vision beyond the aesthetics and functionality as they now have their dream kitchen as well as lovely neighbours in a great community and I couldn't be happier for them. 

Overall, in a sellers market there are many benefits to buying a home that may need renovations, including less competition, potential lower asking price and the ability to fully customize your home. 

Have you renovated an area in your home recently? I would love to hear how it went, leave a comment below!

~ Julie


Neighbourhood Spotlight | Downtown Squamish
When the weather is warm, one of my favorite areas in Squamish for a Saturday walk is Downtown Squamish! I park near the Macdonald Realty office on Cleveland, it's always the perfect spot to start my walk.  
There is a new hidden gem in Squamish called Noshy that is a quick 5 minute walk, this is usually my first stop for a bite to eat. They have a small, casual and fun sit down area with a simple but yummy menu including my favorite, soup with a savoury tart! Then I make my way back down to Cleveland for dessert, which usually ends up being a Fox & Oak Doughnut. I'll of course have to also get two dog doughnuts to go, for my labs Georgia and Maya...as they will never forgive me if I don't!
My final stop is always the Squamish Farmers Market, I love supporting local makers, picking up fresh ingredients for dinner and listening to music when they have a musician playing. Here is a recipe that I made with my husband last Saturday evening, after stopping at the market: 
Grilled Peach and Blueberry Pasta Salad:
  • 4 Cups Penne
  • 4 Firm/Ripe Peaches
  • 2 Cups Bluberries
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 5oz Arugula
  • 3 Lemons
  • 4 Tsp Maple Syrup
  • 4 Tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste 
  1. Cook Pasta according to Package. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and then chill until needed.
  2. Place four peach halves cut side down on a bbq. Grill, covered over medium-high for 8 minutes or until grill marks appear, then cool. Cut remaining four peach halves into 1/2" pieces. 
  3. For the dressing, you will need 1 Tsp lemon zest and 1/2 Cup lemon juice. In a large bowl whisk together the lemon zest, juice, mustard and diced garlic. Add the pasta, chopped peaches, arugula and blueberries to the bowl and mix with dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. To serve, top with grilled peach halves and drizzle with maple syrup.
  5. Enjoy! 
I would love to hear your favorite spots to walk to in Downtown Squamish or if you try the pasta salad above, leave a comment below!
~ Julie

Community Spotlight | Home Steps Organizing
Home Steps provides Organization and Relocation services in Whistler, Squamish and Vancouver. I have worked closely with Ashley as she has supported multiple clients to declutter and stage their homes to get ready for listing. Home Steps provides light staging, meaning Ashley will use your own belongings while packing away any visual clutter and creating a more open and inviting space for a potential buyer. Learn more below!
Why do you love what you do? | I love that every client session is different, since Home Steps has started I have worked in so many homes. My clients have included a young college student needing a hand to pack and move home, to helping a busy family stage their townhouse and continuing bi-yearly decluttering sessions in their new home, to supporting a senior downsizing client find a home for her most loved possessions including a medium grand Steinway piano. 
What does a day in the life look like? | As mentioned above, everyday is different and I love that! I'm either working alongside my clients or on my own in their homes. Going to consultations, taking donations or working on the backend of my business to make it the best it can be! I am a one woman show, the only service that I hire is my accountant, everything else is 100% me.  

What would your ideal weekend look like? | When I'm not working, I love to keep it simple. A weekend in Squamish usually involves a hike or two, a walk downtown for lunch with my husband or a couple drinks with friends. Currently things are a bit hectic as our kitchen is being renovated, but I can't wait for that to be done, so that we can get back to our simple routines. 

3 small things that make your day better? | When a client has a pet, who is then my assistant for the day :) When I get to see a client's reaction to a finished space! Warm weather, with evening hikes or walks with my husband. 

3 pieces of advice based on your industry? | As soon as you know you want to sell your home start the decluttering process to get ready for listing, this will also make your packing and unpacking experience go much smoother. Start small in the least used areas of your home, until you know when pictures will be taken and showings will start, then you can ramp up as needed. Have some packing supplies on hand as you start to declutter, maybe you have some craft supplies for example that won't be used until after your move but they can be decluttered and packed properly now instead of scrambling near your possession date. 

If you had unlimited funds to build a dream home, what would the look and feel be like? | My husband and I have always discussed together that it doesn't matter how much money we have, our house will always be small since we don't need much space. As mentioned above we are currently renovating our kitchen, this is so that it feels more like our personal style. However, we will always keep things simple, I personally like the idea that if we get overwhelmed with life in a busy season and can't keep up with dishes and laundry, etc the piles will never really get that big, since we keep our belongings minimal to start with.   

Where can people find you? 
Instagram | @home.steps
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