Buying a House in Okotoks while You Live in another Province

Buying a House in Okotoks while You Live in another Province

Are you planning on moving to Okotoks but are finding that houses are selling before you can arrange a trip to view? With a  bit of preparation and the right agent  (me!) , buying a home is  entirely feasible. Whether you're relocating for work, moving to be closer to family, or simply drawn to the Foothills of Southern Alberta, here's a comprehensive guide on how to navigate the process of buying a house in Okotoks when you live in a different province.

 1. Research and Planning

The foundation of any successful house purchase begins with thorough research. Start by familiarizing yourself with the real estate market in the area where you wish to buy. Online resources such as real estate websites and community facebook groups can give you insights into property prices, market trends, and neighborhood information. If you're unfamiliar with the area, consider exploring the neighborhood virtually or during a visit to get acquainted with essential facilities like schools, healthcare providers, and shopping centers. 

 If you’re currently working with an agent to sell your property, they may be able to refer you to an agent in the town or city that you’d like to move to. 

Identify your priorities: What type of property are you looking for? What amenities or features are non-negotiable? Understanding your needs will streamline your search and help you focus on properties that align with those needs. The 2024 market is tight and you may need to compromise on your wants. 

2. Engage a Local Real Estate Professional

Having a reliable team on the ground is crucial when buying property remotely. Having lived in the Okotoks area for over 20 years, I can help you choose a community and find a property that will fit your needs. I also work closely with other agents and often know of properties coming on the market well before they hit the MLS.  I’ve even had success “doorknocking” communities to find a house for my buyers. 

3. Utilize Technology for Virtual Viewings

Thanks to advancements in technology, virtual viewings have become a practical solution for remote homebuyers. I’ve been doing virtual showings long before it was necessary during covid! Virtual showings are more than just visual- I can tell you what I hear outside and what I smell. If there’s a farmer spreading manure on the field…you will know. There are also home inspectors that provide detailed reports in case you can’t attend the home inspection.

4. Planning your trip to Okotoks.

I get it. You’re excited. You want to jump on a plane and come and check out Okotoks. Here’s a hint- most new listings come on the market Thursdays and Friday. On Thursdays we have a realtor only tour where we check out new listings so there’s always a rush to have the property ready for Thursdays viewings. While this tour is not open to the public, as your agent I am checking out these properties on your behalf. Sometimes this headstart is just what is needed to secure you a property.

If you’re planning on staying in Okotoks, there are 4 main hotels. 

Best Western Plus Inn and Suites: This hotel is pet friendly, has a pool and has suites with kitchenettes. Perfect if you’re going to be in town for a week or more. 

Lakeview Inns and Suites: This hotel is also pet friendly, has a fitness centre and offers a free breakfast.

The EconoLodge: Also pet friendly, free breakfast  and more affordable than the others. 

The Royal Duke Hotel: Located downtown Okotoks, this boutique hotel sits above a restaurant/pub.

5. Navigate Legal and Administrative Requirements

Buying property across provincial borders introduces specific legal and administrative considerations. Each province in Canada, for example, has its own regulations regarding property purchases, land transfer taxes, and residency requirements. As of now, in Alberta, we don’t have land transfer taxes but we do have a fee that your lawyer will collect  based on the amount of your mortgage.

Additionally, you’ll also need a real estate lawyer who is well-versed in provincial laws and regulations. Your own local lawyer may not be licensed to do real estate in Alberta. If you're unable to attend the closing in person, there are several good local lawyers that can handle your purchase long distance so you don’t need to make a special trip. However the closing is handled, whether remote or in person, be prepared to provide identification documents, proof of insurance, and other paperwork as required by your lender and legal advisor.

Coordinate with your real estate agent and lawyer to schedule the closing date and arrange for the transfer of funds. I strongly recommend not having the sale of your current home and purchase of your new home close on the same day.


Buying a house remotely requires careful planning, thorough research, and the support of local professionals. By leveraging technology for virtual viewings, engaging a local real estate agent and other local professionals, you can navigate the process confidently and secure your dream home from afar. With the right preparation and guidance,your move to Okotoks can be relatively stress free.

Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.