Reilly bought a new guitar so I, not to be outdone, went and bought a condo! Seriously though, I’ve been thinking about buying for the last couple of years. With the recent price drops and low interest rates I realized I wouldn’t find a better time to get into the market and so I started the hunt.
After two years of thinking, debating, and weighing my options, I’ve come up with a solid idea of what I want and where I want to live. I wanted something:
- Downtown (or close to downtown)
- In concrete (I’m a drummer!)
- Comes with a parking stall
A few other items I was looking for, but weren’t necessarily dealbreakers:
- Allows rentals (for flexibility in case I decide to move somewhere else)
- Big, well laid out kitchen
- In suite laundry
- Decent storage space
Two weeks ago I had arranged financing with a mortgage broker and got a recommendation for a realtor, but I still hadn’t hadn’t started looking. What was holding me back? I was contemplating how I would get into a place that would allow me to pursue drumming without having an angry swarm of neighbors form a lynch mob because of all the noise I was making.
On a Sunday night I stumbled across a listing in an artist live/work building in Gastown. Reilly and Miranda had lived in the building when they first moved to Vancouver and had run their high-end wedding photography business out of their suite. So I knew the building and saw that it would be a perfect place for me to live! It’s in downtown, is built entirely out of cement, and aimed at musicians, photographers, artisan manufacturers, or nearly any creative entrepreneur one could imagine.
I immediately got in touch with MJ Ankenman, the realtor that had been recommended to me, and she set up a tour of a few places in my preferred areas and price range. The first place was the artist live/work space in Gastown and, after seeing a number of other places, the idea of living in that particular building appealed to me more than any of the more traditional condos I’d seen.
What’s so special about this building? It was built about 10 years ago to house artists and creative professionals in a live/work environment. To attract that breed of owner the developer created a 7000 sq. ft. amenities building to house a photography darkroom, woodworking shop, metalworking shop, pottery studio (with a kiln), a gym, and most importantly, soundproofed music rehearsal rooms! Now that I have access to all these cool activities I can imagine years of entertainment without having to resort to buying a TV.
The space I was looking at was a 578 sq. ft. loft that had a separate entrance to the street. It was a good little unit, but the seller had listed it considerably above what other units had sold for earlier this year and he wasn’t willing to budge on his asking price. If the price would have been right I probably would have purchased it but there was no way I was going over $300k for a unit of that size.
So MJ and I talked about our next steps. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else so we decided to put a “watch” on that building to have any new units immediately come to her attention so we could check them out. That night I got home from the St. Patricks Day celebrations at the Black Frog to find an excited email from MJ in my inbox: “New Listing at The Edge!!!”
On the Thursday night, two days after her email, MJ and I found ourselves in this beautiful 759 sq. ft. loft. It had gorgeous view of Burrard Inlet, a wonderful little loft bedroom, and plenty of room on main floor to arrange things the way I wanted. There was a patio, a gas fireplace, and a gas range too!
We wrote up an offer that night and MJ presented it the next day. I went out to the WaaZuBee Cafe after work for Miranda’s birthday bash and excitedly told all my friends (and anyone who would listen) about the cool new place I found. Then MJ phoned to say the seller had countered. We decided, on MJ’s advice, to counter back and see if we could shave a little more off the price. A half hour later I got a call back from MJ who announced, “we have a deal!” A cheer erupted from our table in the restaurant and I nearly busted out a happy dance in celebration.
Now it’s time to get my financing in order, look over the strata minutes, strata financials, and all the other due diligence work that comes with buying a place. I’ll have an inspector in there this week and I’ll have to line up some painters to update the unit’s questionable color scheme. There was a tenant in there previously and I found the walls were pretty scuffed up and in need of a paint job. No real damage, just normal wear and tear you’d expect from a tenanted unit.