‘Status: Renter’ G&M Blog – “Hi, I’m Kristin, a 30-something living in Vancouver with my husband & our new son. We rent a 2BR condo that barely meets our needs. The thrill of paying someone else’s mortgage is starting to wear thin. We are getting ready to take the plunge into home ownership.”

“Hi, I’m Kristin. I’m a 30-something living in Vancouver with my husband and our new son. At the moment, we are renting a 2BR/2BA condo that (barely) meets our needs, but the thrill of paying someone else’s mortgage is starting to wear thin and we are getting ready to take the plunge into home ownership. The trouble is, we live in one of the most expensive cities in the world and we aren’t sure that being house poor is exactly a good alternative to renting. Vancouver is an amazing city with tonnes to offer, but if our whole paycheque is being sunk into the roof over our heads, and there is nothing left to enjoy what this city has to offer, then really- is there any point…?
So, we’re opening our home buying search a little wider than might be typical- our “circle of interest” includes Metro Vancouver, plus a few spots on Vancouver Island like Victoria and Nanaimo. We know we won’t be able to check all our boxes- so we’re going to explore and see if we can find somewhere that makes both our hearts, and our wallets, happy. Our ideal home, one that ticks ALL the boxes, would be something like this: 3+BR, 2+BA, single family detached, a yard that has some character, a house that has room for us to add value, in a community with young families and associated amenities, nearby our current jobs which we both love, and all for less than half a mil. Anybody have a magic lamp I can rub? 😉
So, if you live in this city, or one like it, and you didn’t buy before that nasty line on the average home price graph took a massive turn upward, then you likely know what I’m talking about. Feel free to follow along and see how things go for us, and where we end up…”

Kristin, 33, loves renting in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, where she and her husband work. Since the couple’s first child came along six months ago, however, she’s decided it’s time to find a bigger home.
Lifestyle is important. Her husband is a landscape architect and they both like gardening, so a sizable yard is a must. They’re willing to relocate to a smaller city – Victoria or Nanaimo – in order to find the space they want. For Kristin, a mechanical engineer, it might mean finding another job for less pay, but it’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make.
With a $500,000 budget, however, a large property might be hard to find in an expensive city like Vancouver. So Kristin is looking for a fixer-upper, something affordable that she can add value to.
Household income: $127,000
Budget: $500,000
Status: Renter
Financing: $50,000 down payment, $450,000 mortgage
Goal: Detached home, minimum three bedrooms, two bathrooms. Looking for a fixer-upper with a large yard.
Challenge: Large Vancouver properties may be beyond her budget.

– from ‘In Vancouver, is a $500,000 fixer-upper out of reach?’, Dianne Nice, G&M, 25 Apr 2012
[hat-tips to both jesse and Joe_Blown_Away_By_High_Housing_Costs for linking this article in our comments section]

These people aren’t going to find a SFH in Vancouver, but not for lack of ability, rather it’s because they simply don’t want it enough.
‘Down payment $50K; Household income $127K; Budget $500K’? Why so conservative? Don’t they know they first have to borrow to get a higher DP, then fudge their income, then borrow $900K? That’s the way it’s done.
“Status: Renter”. Goodness! to imagine bearing that…
“It is better to be lowly born, And range with humble livers in content, Than to be perked up in a glistering grief, And wear a golden sorrow.” – W.Shakespeare
In our opinion these folks could be buying in at the very, very worse time ever, just as the ball pauses at the top of its trajectory and starts making its descent.
– vreaa

76 responses to “‘Status: Renter’ G&M Blog – “Hi, I’m Kristin, a 30-something living in Vancouver with my husband & our new son. We rent a 2BR condo that barely meets our needs. The thrill of paying someone else’s mortgage is starting to wear thin. We are getting ready to take the plunge into home ownership.”

  1. For a lark Kristin should do a parallel search up to $700k and see what that gets. Just for fun, no other reason 😉

  2. The Ridge/Meadows, Surrey/Langley areas will have many homes in this price range. All with lots in the 5000 sq/ft + range. 4 bedroom homes over 2000 sq/ft is possible still. Better off out there than on the sinking island.

    • Doesn’t want a bridge in the commute. Read the article for more clarification of what Kristin is looking for

      • They don’t want a bridge but a ferry ride is okay? Bizarre.

      • Victoria is small enough that you can commute easily to most places, quickly, maybe on bike. No need for daily ferry, clearly, or anything so far away from work as Maple Ridge.

  3. pricedoutfornow

    I can sympathize with her, my family is now 2 adults/2 children living in a 2 bed/ 2 bath condo (crowded!). Unlike her, however, we are not foolishly looking to buy a SFH for under $500k, we’re looking to rent a 3 bedroom place for under $1500/month. It’s much cheaper than buying (right now), while we sock away savings to hopefully buy when (if) the market ever crashes. I think she should do this too, there must be plenty of places to rent in Burnaby that won’t break the bank!

  4. OT disclaimer … it’s a RE blog … so unless you’re will to go a little OT, it’s going to be 40% raging, 50% sleeping and maybe 10% real thinking … and besides we’d all be dead without some entropy

    what brand of crazy says things like ‘scrutineered alas’? … funnies …

    not great quality so try focus on the accordion riffs …
    winners of the van housing derby may indeed all become emperors of the north pole (f1 t’es la?)

    on the subject of andy grove, best to quote him properly … “Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.”

    cor. fight club -> if every day you go out and only get pats on the back … you’re probaby going to turn into a complete disgusting moron (think paris hilton) … sample program for success -> 3 days pats on the back, 2 days kicks in the crotch, weekend, repeat

    from a notorious scandalizer of custom, convention and dulled wits … A numero uno primero hero of fight club … and also notoriously successful contrarian investor completely outside chosen focus … it’s like … well, uh … maybe the best thing i ever heard … wayyy cooool …

    • Chubster, you had me at “paranoid” – Glen was an unexpected Bonus [did you know he used to tap his foot so vigorously while playing that the engineers would put a blanket on the floor during session work]…

      Back to YVR RE – A ‘CollateralDamage’ NoteToEd: the following abstract from SoloInVancouver’s latest polemic is HeadLiner worthy…

      “I’ve had enough of the rampant cronyism and nepotism that run through this city’s pathetic excuse for a business community. I’m over living in a city that feels like it’s one part resort, one part private country club. I’m sick of seeing people who gambled on real estate rather than going to school doing better than those who did the opposite, and I’m becoming increasingly worried that Vancouver, as we know it today, is completely unsustainable. Want to fix dating in this city? Fix employment and end real-estate speculation. Until those two things are dealt with, I’m afraid there isn’t much to discuss.”…

      Epte, would you be so kind as to proffer us a Lady’sCritique/POV?????

      • As a Grizzly Vancouverite, I have to say, the lady is not in unique company. How many remember people who live in Vancouver remember this poor fellow, accepted, celebrated, unfortunately hobbled, and then hit on the ass by the door on the way out:

        It’s not you, it’s me.

      • yes, the h-e-v mom sure can pure some choice crotch kicks … caught me flush, that’s for sure … no worries, i both welcome and savor the pain … thx, mom

        bit of an epiphany … why do i like to hang out here? … i miss the city … love it like a … home town … exiled by the forces that would allow such a thing as icbc (much violent hurling) to exist … just looking for a taste of home

        have a nice day 🙂

    • Onion – great
      Gould – even greater

  5. BTW, all:
    I’m going to headline a post on what is fine about Vancouver; what there is to like about Vancouver; what is genuine and soulful about the place that, like chubster, we are all attached to. (It’ll be sidebar-ed and updatable.. a work forever in progress..)
    Emphasis will be on things that have an honesty about them; the things that make Vancouver a fine city, regardless of all criticism, valid or not.
    Obviously, I have a fair number of ideas, and a draft is underway, but I’ll take the opportunity, this weekend to ask those of you perusing these pages:
    What do you find good about Vancouver?

    • You can hang with OwenWilson @ TheFairmontPacific and 5 minutes later take in a CigarChomping SqueeGeeArtiste’s show on E. Hastings?… [NoteToEd: The SqueeGee Artiste’s patter/motivation, absent a Mid7 UpFront PayToPlay, was demonstrably superior.]

      Seriously? Ok, if we must & provided it ain’t rainin’:

      1. Blading the Wall. 2. Sidling your PlasticFantastic into a GranvilleIsland QuaySide slip, taking on ‘ballast’ from the GI Brewery &… and laying in a few provisions from the market for the Barbie while ogling TheTalent. 3. Buzzing the LionsGate. 4. Kite Flying @ Vanier. 5. http://tinyurl.com/cvj7fc6

      • Sorry, the ‘provided it ain’t raining’ negates all of your suggestions.
        Will use at least 2.

    • I love a good rainstorm. And the cherry blossoms. I love the faint smell of woodsmoke on cold winter nights. I enjoy sunsets over English Bay and pistachio gelato from Marios. I love the ferries that take me to peace on the nearby Gulf Islands. I like the feel of different ‘hoods in Vancouver and that they are very walkable. I like that we have bike lanes, decent transit, the seawall, restored heritage properties and loads of great parkland in the CoV. I love seeing art installed in public places, and artisans of all talents displaying and performing on city streets and in parks.

    • Renters Revenge

      I’m here for the rain, seriously. Nothing better than being in a cedar forest on the north shore during a rain storm. Having Whistler close by is a close second.

    • These pretzels are making me thirsty

      (and) What is unique about Vancouver? if any

    • For me what is “good”, in order of importance:
      – Fulfilling an almost depraved affinity to HK-style diners
      – Gardening
      – Nostalgia

      On a different topic, this was yesterday in Alberta: http://tinyurl.com/7kwlrah

      For many people that matters.

      • ‘Nostalgia’ is intriguing.
        Your own personal nostalgia, or do you mean things like neon signs and Herzog’s photography?
        Please elaborate.

      • parts of burnaby, new west etc looked like that yesterday, big big hail shower

      • OK, Dr. J. – I know… It ain’t HK… But I just can’t wait to check this one out! Also, used to maintain facilities @ Beatty&Pender… Just to stroll the ‘styles’. 福建辣,請!

      • vreaa the nostalgia is the people, not the places. In some span from past to present Vancouver has an interesting subculture, I’m amazed at the prevalence of cosplay these days. Was riding the loser cruiser one day and caught a few guys at the back discussing technicalities of the adoption of Third Edition rulesets to existing campaigns.
        That night found a renewed hope that the eccentricity of Vancouver continues.

    • Stepho’s on Davie. A disproportionate heavy weighting for my motivation to move back.

    • No shortage of water?

    • I love walking around the seawall talking with a friend on misty nights in mid-winter when all the tourists are gone. I like jogging in Stanley Park and stopping to watch the turtles. I like that this big, public, tourist park has hidden seasons and palettes that feel like a spectacular secret, and that in such a busy city you can find quiet and solitude in there.

      I like walking the streets under trees in autumn, and the old brick of St. Paul’s. I love the chaos of Davie Street at night, and the weird festival grinning-atmosphere that it gets when it’s NOT fireworks or Canucks or soccer. There is a tree on … not Nelson? Maybe Nelson. That has a strange space in the bark that looks like a door: I love that someone affixed a knob on that space. I love that on Bute an artist set up a mosaic toad and toadstool on the corner because she lived in the building and gardened, and that the city said “Okay, but we’ll have to tear it up if we have to fix a water main” and she shrugged and went ahead.

      I love the crows. We have one of the biggest rookeries in the world. I love watching our crows commute at sunset from all over the region, a ribbon of crows that floats east for the night and confounds researchers because they don’t know why Vancouver crows should be so sociable.

      I like the beer.

      I like our improv, poetry slams, art markets, hidden galleries.

      I miss the older couple that used to have a Museum of the World on Main St. Anyone remember them? They didn’t have kids, the said, but spent the money on traveling; and when they were older hung pictures of all their adventures and invited the world to come visit them. You’d go in and get tea and a cookie and just walk around looking at their collection.

    • Let’s see…

      1) VIFF — Although the Film Festival isn’t as accessible as it used to be, it’s still much more down to earth than the TIFF (seems to be — seems cuz I’m only repeating other people’s observations; I’ve only been to the VIFF myself). It’s not a red carpet affair and all the directors, actors, writers and producers who come here seem to be genuinely interested in talking to the audience.

      2) Asian and to some extent World food — Okay, aside from Thai food (yes we have them, but seems like there are better Thai food on the US West Coast), we’ve got a pretty good selection of decent quality food here. Especially of the non “Western” style — although we do have a few really good (but cheap) French restaurants. (No, I’m not counting the endless Bubble Tea stalls — although there are those…) And while there are more “fusion” places these days than before, we still have nuggets of very decent quality “authentic” ethnic foods in these hole-in-the-walls all around. Other world food is around, but somehow they’re not as cheap (not talking about the run-of-the-mill Shawarma places).

      3) Mild winters — Not actually needing to use a engine block heater is pretty nice. Not needing to breath through your nose in -30 degrees is also very good. The downside is that no one takes winter seriously here — which means no one spends the time winterizing their cars and learning to drive in less than ideal conditions — yes, at the very least put on Winter Tires (yes, even if it’s not snowing)!!

    • scent of pine, fir, cedar with hint of salt air … never having to worry about which way is north … 2 roads that climb sea level to ~1k within 30 min of downtown … descending upper levels hwy flat out human-pwr on clear day with clear shot all the way to baker … shredding the northbound lg offramps at 3am … jp, hk style diners of course

  6. I have a friend 2 kids (one just a year) in 2 different daycares costing untold organizational nightmares and $2400 per month so she and her husband can work full time at jobs they don’t really like so they can try to keep their heads financially above water. The dream of a home is still there but the townhome they bought 8 years ago is all they can really afford. They spend 3-4 hours a day with their kids, a few hours in the morning getting them fed and dressed to go to daycare and a few hours in the evening getting them fed and bathed and ready for bed. What kind of life is this?!
    And then there are the Bumfuzzles (bumfuzzle.com) – live on a 44 foot boat in Mexico, spend all their time with their kids and each other, live with less, work for themselves, love their life.
    I know which life I’d choose. The idea that you need 3+ bedrooms and 2+ bathrooms and a big yard and stuff and debt is wrong for so many people but they don’t even know it.

    • tcg -> Thanks; good points; will headline at some point soon.
      And thanks for telling us about the Bumfuzzles. We suspect the rubber will hit the road for them (or reverse of that?) when there child/ren reach/es school going age. But perhaps they’ll home-school.

      While you’re here, see my earlier comment: what do you like about ‘terminal city’?

    • You don’t need to move to a boat in Mexico(although I can see the draw of that). You jut need to move to the interior. It’s a big, beautiful province. Lots of opportunity.

      Heck… Canada’s full of opportunity.

      Vancouverites who put up with this sort of thing when they could choose to go elsewhere are nuts.

  7. I’ve been following the “bums” a while now and have read all their archives – very interesting people and to see them grow and learn and change through their adventures and time and decisions is quite fun. There is a recent interview with them on sailfeed where Pat speculates that if they hadn’t made that fateful decision to sell everything and cruise the world so many years ago, they would likely be working full time jobs and have a house in the burbs with 2000 square feet more than they need full of stuff they never use and a couple of SUVs – stuff they now could care less about. It never ceases to amaze me how just one decision can change one’s life in such unexpected ways. I fear many Van RE buyers of recent years will soon find the bitter truth of this idea.

    • 2000 sqft more than we need! SUVs! – we should all be so lucky!

      The broadest lesson to learn from the bumfuzzles is be mindful of how you live.

  8. Carioca Canuck

    Dear dear Kristin……

    “Paying someone else’s mortgage is wearing thin” ????

    You poor thing.

    So……ahem…..just what would you call the banker who is going to lend you the money to buy the house then ? I have yet to meet a banker who doesn’t think he is a “somebody”……..

  9. here is an interesting tidbit. gregor has told the buyer of stongs grocery up in dunbar , a very close friend of his, that he can rezone and build a 6 story building in the place of stongs. he told him to just apply to rezone and they will approve it. gregor should be fired and sent to prison for what he is doing.

    • Reliable source, we take it?

    • Joji Decolongon

      @undercover thanks for the tidbit– just e-mailed it to Gregor, cc’d vreaa and Barry Link (Vanc Courier).

    • How do we know this is happening?
      How do we know it’s the Mayor’s doing?
      Also, BTW, many who have shared their thoughts here are all for densification. (We personally believe that densification/rezoning would temporarily goose prices, and may put off the bubble burst for a little longer.)

      • “How do we know it’s the Mayor’s doing?”…

        Charming. That’s why you’re the Editor, OldChap. Such a stickler. Follow the Money.

  10. lilychristine

    Its true

  11. you do the research i dropped the tip…..it is happening.

  12. My brother in law, the banker, laid that “Paying someone else’s mortgage” line on me the other day. It’s such a loaded and nonsense statement. You’re not paying their mortgage, you’re paying your rent. They are running a business and you are paying for their service. Why should we care what the landlord does with his money? He earned it, he took the market risk, he pays the taxes, he foots the bill when the roof leaks or the pipes freeze. I’ve never heard anybody describe renting a car as paying Hertz’ car payments. You rent a car because it’s easier and cheaper than buying. You rent a house because it’s easier and cheaper than buying. Why begrudge the guy who is taking the risk and making the profit? (especially when he isn’t even covering his carrying costs)

    • Excellent point.
      From now on, whenever somebody you know goes out of town and rents a car, ask them why they’d dream of “paying somebody else’s car lease payments”. Or, when they go to a restaurant, why they’re “paying the restauranteur’s overheads”. etc etc.

    • The big thing is the risk in cash flows. Renting does not cover all long run costs.

      When someone uses the other person’s mortgage line I would say a few things:
      – I don’t know if my landlord has a mortgage.
      – Risk is a four letter word.
      – I am in the enviable position of being more a rentier than a renter. Someone else is renting my money at a higher rate than I pay to the landlord. I’m just an intermediary between the two, and the margins are pretty good these days.

      • Jeff Murdock

        I’m not really familiar with the “rentier” concept. By “someone else is renting my money”, do you mean, for example, that you own some dividend-returning stocks for which the yield is higher than the landlord’s return on capital for your dwelling?

      • Jeff, yes. That is not what I would call a normal situation, considering the income is after tax.

    • I don’t know when I first heard the “paying someone elses mortgage” expression. Gotta be within the last past 5 years though – perhaps the increased use of it coincides with more and more being shut out of the detached ownership market. I certainly never flet this way the many years I rented…but I was not an unhappy renter like most of you here. I never begrudged anyone for taking the risk, and the equity appreciation that goes with it. When I rented my residence it’s what I needed at the time – wasn’t raising family so I didn’t need the home. It was cheap, convenient, risk free, required none of my maintenance and located much closer to my work than I am now.
      For those that actually do require more space to raise their families – I understand your frustration and sympathize with you.
      Vancouver has become a place where you need to pass wealth to your children if you expect them to live here in their adult years. If you aren’t doing this via home ownership I hope you’re doing it by some other method.
      I see renting as a way to fill a need. Sometimes these needs don’t change and the individual never needs to own – but most people transition through life and have changing needs.

    • nobody you know

      Yeah, “paying your landlords mortgage” is right up there with “if you rent you have nothing to show for it”.

      There is no way my rent could cover the mortgage on my place unless it was bought in the 90s. I figured it out the other day and if I subtracted strata fees, property tax, insurance, maintenance and repairs etc. from my rent and had the remainder to pay a mortgage I’d only be able to buy a place equivalent to the one I’m in if I could buy it at the 90s price. So my neighbours who bought back then might have the same costs as me, but everyone who bought recently pays about twice as much. So I get the best of both worlds. The same low costs and exact same standard of living as someone who bought when I was in high school and no risk whatsoever. And the freedom to just up and leave on 30 days notice with no penalty whenever I please if something better comes up.

      And when I pay my rent I have the place I’m renting to show for it. That’s not nothing!

  13. you rent a car because you dont have the ability to buy one; and same goes for your rental shelter! how about that for a change.

    • reality check

      no you rent a car because it is a depreciating asset and that never makes sense to own

      • you rent a car for the same reason you rent a hotel room…because you need mobility or shelter in a different location. This comparison is inane

    • It’s still a financial decision, I paid $800 to rent a car for two weeks in Hawaii. I could have bought a beater for the same price and sold or abandoned it when I left. But I chose to rent because I got a way better car, for the same money, it met my needs while I needed it and didn’t have to deal with it when I was done.

  14. Vreaa, another Vanhattan link for you, but this time New Westminster is The New Brooklyn

    “You can look in one direction and be in New York City. Look in another direction, and you’re in Paris.”

    • Bill McBride said that in the US it should have been obvious there was a problem with a condo bubble when building names started copying Manhattan neighbourhoods.

      A bold prediction is that the naming of Vancouver area condos will be seen as the giant tell.

      All things good about Vancouver is unlikely to include a near obsession with New York.

    • I grew up the Queens Park neighborhood, it was a great place for families 25 years ago. I read in the local newspaper that the Mayor is planning on building a nearly $100M commercial building with mostly tax dollars. BTW one of his biggest campaign contributors is a developer.

  15. @Lexlimo

    Ask if your brother-in-law drives to work; if so, ask him why he’s paying the gas station owner’s mortgage by purchasing gas there?

    Has he ever eaten at a restaurant? Why in the world would he do that, the restaurant owner is likely using the profits to pay part of their mortgage…

    If he has ever spent a penny of his meagre banker salary, he’s probably paid someone else’s mortgage in some shape or form..

    What a dumbass

  16. Froogle Scott

    I posted a comment on Kristin’s blog a couple of days ago, and referred her to VREAA for some context, or a counterbalancing view to the buy-now focus. I’ve included my comment below. The one response so far, from another commenter, was a little telling/exasperating. Here it is:

    Hey, you confront a problem with about a million new variables. Almost all pundits have called this a bubble for a long time — and if you listened to them, you may have gotten locked out of the market for good.
    by Burnaby home owner May 4 at 10:24 AM

    It’s not the implicit bubble denying, or the familiar buy-now-or-be-locked-out-forever argument, that I find exasperating. Those are standard bull arguments. What I find exasperating is that the suggestion of conducting even some basic preliminary analysis of _the single biggest purchase you will ever make_ is somehow deemed “confronting a problem with a million new variables”. So I’m ‘the nattering nabob of negativism’, whereas what’s needed here is just a communal positive vibe that will get Kristen and her husband into the house they want.

    My comment on Kristin’s blog:

    I’d be very cautious about buying a house or a condo at the moment. You could very well be buying at the peak. And I don’t mean the peak of Burnaby Mountain! A lot of people in Vancouver believe we’re in a huge real estate bubble, and that opinion has gradually gone mainstream in the past year, with economists, and even the Royal Bank (!) saying there could be a significant pullback. Spend some time on this Vancouver site for some context: vreaa dot wordpress dot com. You won’t be happy if you buy, prices drop by 20% or more, and you lose all your equity.

    Why not rent somewhere larger for a year or two and continue to watch the market closely? The massive run-up in Vancouver prices over the last decade is very unlikely to be repeated in the next decade. You say “the thrill of paying someone else’s mortgage is starting to wear thin.” As a Vancouver homeowner, I’ve done the math and the cost of renting has to be compared against _the total cost of homeownership_, not just against the monthly mortgage amount. In addition to the purchase price of a house, the homeowner pays mortgage interest, property tax, house insurance, utility bills, repair and maintenance costs, and in many cases, major renovation expenses. Renting and ‘investing the difference’ may leave you farther ahead financially. Buying now also means taking a mortgage at some of the lowest interest rates ever. Great, right? But will these almost-unheard-of rates continue indefinitely? If you’re contemplating taking on a jumbo mortgage (in Canadian terms, not Vancouver terms, which are distorted) you need to stress test your finances to see if they could handle interest rates at more normal levels, say around 6%.

    My wife and I went the fixer-upper route with our place in East Van. $300,000 later we have a great little bungalow with a really nice 2-BR rental suite, and a place that’s 75% renovated. Another $60 to $100K should finally get us out of our 1970s kitchen! (You can read about our saga on VREAA, the web site above. Click on the sidebar “Mortgaging Our Souls in Paradise”.) There are no easy answers in Vancouver at the moment. But the pendulum could swing.
    by Froogle Scott May 4 at 8:51 AM

    • Many thanks, Froogle Scott.
      Froogle has done a careful analysis of all of his home ownership costs over the years, and we are hoping to be able to share that with readers on these pages at some point.

    • “My wife and I went the fixer-upper route with our place in East Van. $300,000 later we have a great little bungalow with a really nice 2-BR rental suite, and a place that’s 75% renovated. Another $60 to $100K should finally get us out of our 1970s kitchen!”

      wealthy giving advice to average folks? Unless you’ve been there you have no idea froogle. Stick with telling the story about your rehab…at least there are some that can gain from this wisdom. Dispensing advice to this potential buyer is wisdom you don’t have.

      • Froogle Scott

        My wife and I aren’t wealthy, depending on how you define ‘wealthy’. Our financial circumstances are roughly equivalent to those of Kristin and her husband. So whatever wisdom I may have gained may in fact be quite appropriate for the particular situation that Kristin is describing.

      • formula1 reveals that he divides Vancouverites into two classes:
        1. the “wealthy” (= owners)
        2. the “average folks” (= non-wealthy non-owners)

        Many of us know of, and have described here, wealthy non-owners and impoverished ‘owners’, but, then, that’s just anecdotal.

      • no vreaa,
        you’re defined as wealthy when you start kicking around renovation figures like 300K and 60-100K on a kitchen, Not by whether you own or not. The avg person does their own renovations. – the wealthy owners pay others to do their work and talk big numbers.
        Just because froogle is more diplomatic than I am doesn’t make them more average…in fact, they are the elite of this city that most of your renting bloggers hate.

      • f1 -> Your comments appear designed to be divisive and trollish.
        Believe what you like; we have long since realized that you’ll do that regardless of what you hear from anybody here.
        Have you read Froogle’s Chronicles?
        I suspect he’d chuckle (or be offended?) at your description of him as one of the “elite” of this city, and we have an extremely hard time imagining anybody “hating” him for who he is or for any of the things that he describes himself doing.

      • Froogle Scott

        I should have built a little more context into my comments. It’s all included in my series here on VREAA (The Froogle Scott Chronicles), but I realize people may not have read any of the episodes, or if they have, may not remember the particulars.

        So, a bit of context. $300K, of debt, and certainly not an amount we ever thought we would end up spending on our incomplete renovation, or felt particularly comfortable spending, and are now trying to aggressively pay down. We were probably a bit out of our league, financially speaking, with the good general contractor and crew we eventually were able to hire. But we’d had such a disastrous experience with the guy we fired, we felt the extra money for a top quality builder was worth it. I mentioned the figure of $300K because I wanted to stress to Kristin how surprisingly expensive renovations can be. The seemingly good deal on a fixer-upper, which then becomes a money pit.

        $60K+ for a kitchen, if you gut back to the studs, and replace all the plumbing and electrical (often necessary), and get good quality fixtures and appliances (but nothing outrageously luxurious) is not uncommon. I should have added that after racking up $300K of debt, we are not even close to taking the plunge on the final 25% of the renos that remain incomplete.

        “The avg person does their own renovations.” Mmm… yeah. We did do a significant portion of our renos ourselves. But what you come to realize is that the results are not always worth the effort. Sometimes it’s more cost effective and the results are better if you pay a pro who can do the work quickly and well. It’s a lesson I keep having to learn. I’ve just spent half of this gorgeous day indoors, painting window trims, instead of being out there enjoying life (with the carefree renters…).

      • apologies on the assumption that you’re wealthy froogle. My point still remains…byers need to make homebuying decisions based on their own circumstances, finances, etc.
        “The massive run-up in Vancouver prices over the last decade is very unlikely to be repeated in the next decade”.

        If you’re wrong and the potential homebuyers has made a decision based on your advice you may have stopped them at the last moment in time they were able to purchase. Moreover, with interest rates likely to rise in the near future you’re basically telling them to wait until the interest portion of their mortgage becomes more burdensome.
        There’s nothing to gain from listening to the advice of online bloggers – to each his or her own.

      • No one knows what’s in store for the future. So as long as one is not overly leveraged then it is never a bad time time to buy for the long term.

        We can argue the intrinsic value of property when it is cheap/expensive, rates high/low. A minimum 50% down is safe for now and ever.

        Whether one will see a great return or loss is a different matter because some cultures/individuals place a premium on home ownership and would even pay (let alone invest) for that mental security.

  17. reality check

    This poster is needs to get a grip on reality. She wants a sfh with 3 bds and a big yard but she doesn’t want to cross a bridge. Come on. I’d also like to know what she is paying for rent. My guess is close to 2,000 per month if not slightly more. I know that 2 bd bsmt suites in my area are going for over 1500 per month.

  18. Carioca Canuck

    “Banksters” IMHO in their most functional role as landlords, have always been considered to be a few steps higher up on the intellectual food chain than those “conventional landlords” whose mortgages we as renters are always teased for paying………………..yet homeowners are not.

    ROTFLMAO !!!!

    After all, they have convinced milions of people (including said landlords) to assume the vast overhwelming majority of the financial risk inherent in property accumulkation, whereas those conventional landlords are still in may ways, identical to the simple homeowner (if there was ever a gross misuse of any word in the English lanbguage this one is it) since they are both hampered by the fact that neither of them can call the bank when a pipe bursts at 300AM……..a condo gets a special assessment in the tens of thousands…….a roof needs to be replaced due to leakage……..or the resale value of the preoperty drops below the point at which it is financially fesasible for it to be carrried, or to break even if actually sold. Nor can they walk away absolutely risk free of their onligations by issuing a 30 day notice of intent to vacate the premises.


    Was at a swank inner party last night (here in YYC where I live) with 6 couples including my wife and I. At around 900PM when the table had been cleared and the many pre-dinner drinks and about 8 or 9 bottles of utterly intoxicating wine had been consumed, the after dinner whisky, scotch, and cocktials started to flow and the conversation around the table turned to real estate, economics, and politics.

    The host couple (close personal friends of ours) and my wife and I were the only bears at a table full of bulls. Time for a little background, the host was a wealthy doctor who acquired his home on a golf course 11 years ago for about 1/3 of what it might be sold for today. He owes about $200K and will have the mortgage paid in full in 24 more months. If the property dropped back to what he paid for it they would not be materially financially impacted in any way, since they didn’t know that, or plan for, any appreciation due to a boom in RE values. They built the house to live in and pay off in a decade. It is one of a portfolio of many international properties that they own, amongst other things. The correct definition of homeogwner could be applied here. We are renters here,, even thouht we own a single piece of property in another continent that is paid for. Over the last 11 years we have saved a mid 6 figure sum in cash by renting, staying out of debt and living within our means.

  19. Carioca Canuck

    Observations from last night…….

    These bulls apparently do not believe that significant international economic or political events cannot impact Canadian RE values. Witness the election of a socialist to the presidency of France for example and the ramifications thereof. The Euro zone will create problems for all of us…..as will the US and China.


    It is also their entrenched belief that interest rates will never rise in Canada for a very, very, long time. Even though as other nations react and perhaps have to raise rates to attract capital in order to keep their financial ships afloat, poor little ole’ Canada will have no choice but to follow along or be left behind. Of course, we may just raise rates due to the bubble (that does not exist mind you) because we need to stop the madness and eventually one government will do so of their own accord when they come out of the ether.

    Renting is scoffed at, merely because it does not support the last generations ingrained mental foundation of wealth creation, that all of your eggs must be in a piece of property or you are in a class lower than everyone else. When I was explaining that a renter can do just as well as, or IMHO better, than someone who had all of their net worth in a single piece of property, the guffaws could be heard round the table except at our end. Yet they could not, nor would they even try, to rebut our position with logic facts and reason, since perhaps they knew we held all the cards. Their arguments were entirely emotional in scope, and easily debunked. Just like any RE agents sales pitch.

    At the end of the night I was looking at them and to me naywyas, it seemed that they were all dressed in black pants and shirts while wearing brand new white Nikes…….waiting for the RE comet to take them away. Denial is a powerful belief system.


  20. Its alarming to me that people like formula1 reside in this city, unfortunate for us as a whole.

    I sincerely hope that he/she is just a troll, otherwise, I feel sorry for any one dealing with that 24/7.


    Why don’t we all start hating on Vancouverites for wanting to contribute to the city, raise kids, pay taxes and expect decent accommodations in a provincial city all for – wait – half a million dollars.


    I sincerely hope that foreigners from around the globe browse this website, for comedic value, VREAA is like a Vancouver version of The Onion. The insanity here is nothing short of laughable – unless you’re drowning in it.

    I hope we can all move on. Soon.

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