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Would you buy a pre-construction condo?

FrameworkOver the weekend, BF and I got to discussing real estate, and what would happen if, in the future, we both sold our current properties and bought something together. I live in the suburbs and BF lives right downtown, and we both agreed that we would be happier living close to downtown in our preferred neighbourhoods of Gastown or Chinatown.

For those who don’t know Vancouver, Gastown is a beautiful, established neighbourhood in the downtown area. It has historic brick buildings, cobblestone sidewalks, and lots of shops and restaurants. Just around the corner is Chinatown. It’s raw and gritty, but you can see how things are changing (businesses are moving in and condos are going up), and in 15-20 years I think it’ll just become a seamless an extension of Gastown.

Because we want to maintain our current lifestyle, obviously a house is out of the question. :) So we went online and started looking at condos within a $400-500k price range and reasonable monthly maintenance fees. There were a lot of options to choose from. But the ones I liked the best were the new construction homes. I liked the idea of being able to customize your space, and in the neighbourhood we really liked (Chinatown) there really aren’t any existing buildings to choose from. We even walked over to the showroom of our favoured condo development that we saw online – Framework – and took a look at the plans and the building model. Everything in the show home was so beautifully decorated and modern, I can see how people can get swayed by new builds. :)

Of course there are cons of buying into a condo development that hasn’t even been built yet. You have to pay tax on all new properties in BC, you have to wait and be patient for them to finish building (and there are always delays), and while you wait, the value of the property could go down. Not to mention, you won’t really get a good sense of what the building (and your unit) will feel like until you walk into it for the very first time.

After looking at the Framework development, we strolled through the neighbourhood, and I realized that it’s where I want to move next. Whether it’s renting an apartment there, or buying a condo there for next year, I’d really like Chinatown to be my next neighbourhood. Whenever that might be. :)

Have you ever considered buying a pre-construction condo? 
Have you ever decided to buy/live in an up-and-coming neighbourhood?

Thinking of selling my home

Life has been busy! I’ve been working a lot of extra hours at my full-time job, planning the Canadian Personal Finance Conference, working on some freelance stuff, have done a bit of volunteering, and have been trying to declutter my place – which has been put on hold for the past week or so.

Over the last few hectic months, I’ve been thinking about my home and how functional it is for me. I love the neighbourhood I’m in, and my home is really cute. But I’m beginning to realize that my life is pulling me further into Vancouver, and I’m still stuck out here in the suburbs. Most company head offices (including my own) are located in the city, my boyfriend lives downtown, and all of the fun activities I like doing are in the city, or more easily accessible from Vancouver. The commutes are killing my productivity (2-3 hours round-trip), and if I could have that time back, I feel like I could be doing a lot more with my days.

My place has rental restrictions, so unless a family member moves in, I’m not allowed to rent it out. So the only thing I can do, aside from staying, is to sell my place and move closer into town.

It’s a tough decision to make, and I’m not quite there yet. I’ve been a home owner for 4 years, and while I don’t think I’m in a position to sell this year, I’m thinking hard about putting my place on the market to sell next year. That eliminates having to pay a hefty mortgage cancelation fee, and it gives me time to figure out what my next move is going to be.

So until that time comes, I’ll just keep on getting rid of my stuff. It’ll mean less packing once I do eventually decide to move. :)

These mini-condos are built with flexible living space

I love small space living so much. If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve noticed I’ve profiled a bunch of different places around the Vancouver area (like Burns Block in downtown Vancouver and Balance in Surrey). Well, I just came across a new development, also in Surrey, called BosaSPACE. (BTW, I’m not getting paid to write about these homes. I just find them really, really fascinating.)

BosaSPACE is a bit different than the other micro lofts or small space apartments because these units are built to transform space, and become functional for the type of lifestyle people in Vancouver are looking for.

Related: Welcome to our 215 sq. ft. apartment

For most people, small space living might be affordable, but it isn’t practical. How will you host dinner parties, keep clutter out of the way, and just have enough space to live in on a daily basis? There’s nothing worse than inviting people over, only to have them sit on your bed to eat dinner. :) I really like BosaSPACE because it’s different and unique.

The bedroom can be separate from the rest of the living area by pulling out a wall that bisects the unit lengthwise.

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In the kitchen, a long dining room table can be pulled out from the island, and 8 chairs can be brought out from a built-in storage space.

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The living room is also extremely transformable. Once the bedroom wall is tucked in and the bed folded up, the space converts into a sofa.

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AND he built-in flat screen TV panel can slide across the wall, revealing additional seating, a daybed, or a home office space to fold out of the wall. Amazing.

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Yeah, these furniture pieces are not unique. You can get them custom-designed or purchased from a specialty store. But these are standard pieces that come with the condo, and come much cheaper than if you had to buy them all separately. Anyway, here’s a short video I found on a recent CBC article about the development:

The tower will located in the Central City neighbourhood of Surrey. It’s expected to be ready in 3 years, and units will range from 500 to 750 sq. ft. One-bedroom suites start at $199,900, while two-bedroom suites will start at $300,000.

What do you think of this apartment? Could you live in one?

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