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Making a Move

Blog by Stu Bell | August 8th, 2011

This past few weeks I moved from my first principle residence at The Mira in North Van to Hollyridge in West Van. The experience of buying, marketing, and selling my first place has made me a better REALTOR by being able to relate closely with the stresses, anxieties, ad tough decision making my clients face on a daily basis.

My housemate and I sold our apartment with the intention to move on and get our own places. I was unable to find a place I wanted to buy so I am in a month-month rental with the ability to pounce when the right opportunity arises. I chose West Van to be close to my family, my office, my clients, and my golf club. We bought a ground level 2 bedroom in The Mira in January 2010 and Sold it in July 2011 for a 17% profit. Comparatively, the market in North Van has not appreciated 17%, but more like 3-5%. The key to our success was to find a building we wanted to invest in, then wait for the right unit at the right price and secure an accepted offer within 2 days of the property being listed. Then we made minor improvements to the apartment such as potted plants, light fixtures, and wall mounted plasmas and sure enough we realized a large profit in a short period of time. 

Conversely I have seen my stocks spike up and come right back down, and with recent news of further debt crisis in the US and across Europe, the volatile stock market seems riskier than ever. I encourage my peers to invest in their principle residence at this time for 3 main reasons: the gain in equity from paying off your mortgage vs rent, the tax free leveraged appreciation you will realize with a smart purchase, and todays incredible low interest rates of 3.39% 5 year fixed and 2.1% variable rates with many financial analysts predicting no rise in interest rates in the short term. Vancouver is a global city with investment money flooding in from every corner of the globe, so why not get in on it when this is where you live and work.

The recent press regarding Chinese Buyers has been overwhelming but they are buying houses and pre-sale condos not re-sale condos, specifically houses on the West Side near great schools in great communities or in West Van properties with great views. The condo market in North Van, West Van, Kits, and even downtown Vancouver has not been targeted by Chinese investors. If you can save for a down-payment, you can invest in a 1 bed or 2 bedroom apartment and pay less than rent, while taking advantage of first time buyer incentives and holding onto an asset that despite market fluctuations you can have utility by living in or renting out your asset.

One of the most difficult steps to overcome is buying your first place, to overcome barriers of entry and get in the market for the first time, then home owners are on track to a life of home ownership and capital appreciation.

If you are thinking of making a move call me today to discuss opportunities in today's market and never hesitate to ask any and all questions as the home buying process can be a complicated one and no buyer should enter the market without a full understanding of the costs and steps to follow.

Stu Bell

Prudential Sussex Realty
2010 Top Producer