After almost 9 years renting in Olympic Village, we’ve moved into a new home. Yes, we are now property owners in Vancouver’s ridiculously overpriced real estate market.
We spent most of the summer looking for a large house to co-buy with good friends of ours. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out but it got us mentally prepared to buy (after all the time we spent going to open houses, creating financial spreadsheets, and exploring East Vancouver neighbourhoods). We found a 3-bedroom townhouse near Trout Lake that we could afford on our own and put in the offer in October.
Buying a house was scary. It’s the largest purchase we’ve made by 2 orders of magnitude. We spent a bit more than we wanted (it was a competitive bid situation) and had to compromise on a few things (there is no garden or personal green space) but it checks almost all of the key requirements we had, like:
- There is a good, seismically upgraded elementary school a block away.
- It’s a tight-knit community with a bunch of kids Astrid’s age.
- The neighbourhood is highly walkable with vegetarian restaurants and grocery stores nearby but without a lot of car traffic.
- It’s biking distance to downtown Vancouver. Our commutes will be longer than before, but less than 30 minutes.
- There are 3 bedrooms, so we have a guest room and a bit more space.
- It has a dishwasher. We lived too long without one.
- We can see ourselves living here for the next 20 years, with 3 floors of living space to give privacy to a future teenager.
We took possession on December 8 and immediately got to work replacing the carpet on the 2nd and 3rd floors. My dad flew in from Manitoba to help and it took us a week to install new engineered hardwood flooring. It was exhausting work but I’m really happy with how it turned out and it was fun to work with my dad.
We moved in just before Christmas and are still working on unpacking boxes, but slowly we’re organizing our new home. On Boxing Day we picked up two sharp-looking lighting fixtures for the entryway and living room, and we made the trip to Ikea to get some accessories for organizing.
Astrid and Boo have been handling the transition as well as can be expected. Astrid still misses her old home and neighbours but is excited to meet all the kids in our new building. She loves her new room with it’s big window seat, but wishes her bedroom was closer to ours and has asked if we can put our bed in her room. We’re all dealing with sore muscles as we adjust to 3 flights of stairs and Astrid had a muscle strain in her hip after the first week.
Boo spent the first week exploring all the nooks and crannies and getting into mischief with moving boxes. Now he is aching to get outside and we’ve ordered a tagged collar so he can explore the neighbourhood a bit. I’ve seen two other cats roaming our the courtyard so he’s going to have friends/competition for turf.
The process of buying a house was a bit daunting in the beginning, but we had a good realtor and mortgage broker that helped to break it down into manageable steps. If you’re looking for recommendations, I can highly recommend Naomi Morrison (our realtor) and Leo Addington (our mortgage broker).
We still have a lot of little things to do like putting up shelves and pictures. I’m hoping to have everything on our long to-do list done by the end of January when our first house guests arrive from Kamloops.