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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?

Introducing Canada’s smallest condos

I’ve blogged about it multiple times before, but I just love the idea of Vancouver micro condos. I think they’re affordable solutions for urban professionals, and after living in a 215 sq. ft. apartment in Germany with my boyfriend for 10 months, I would be fine living in one again – potentially long-term.

Related: Why I chose to live in a 215 sq. ft. apartment

Anyway yesterday I came across a new micro condo development in Surrey (a suburb of Vancouver) called Balance. The suites start at 297 sq. ft, with the largest at 653 sq. ft. All the units come with nine-foot ceilings, laminate floors, and large balconies.

The quote on the front page of the website: “With suites starting at $109,900, if you can afford the $6,000 down payment, and you make a salary of $17 per hour, we have a home for you.”

That’s incredibly affordable. $17/hour works out to about $35,000/year. And when you plug all the above numbers into a mortgage calculator (I used the one on the ING website) , you get this:

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 5.06.55 PM

$524.62 per month? That’s 20% of the gross salary of someone making around $35,000/year. And even when you add in property tax and monthly maintenance fees, it’s still going to be extremely affordable.

The fact that each unit has a large balcony is a big selling feature for me. Being able to step outside is a huge plus, and something I really, really wish we had in our Germany apartment. I also like how it’s only a 5-minute walk to the SkyTrain – making it perfect for a young professional who wants easy access to downtown, without having to pay downtown condo prices.

Related: Could you live in the world’s skinniest house?

However, even though it’s has convenient access to public transportation, I don’t like the idea of living in Surrey – and to me, that’s the only drawback of this development. I do have friends that live in Surrey and love it, but it’s just too far away from the things that I like to do (things that are not accessible by public transportation). Plus, I likely would never feel safe in Surrey.

Here are a few pictures of the condo building from the Tien Sher website:

If you were looking to buy in the Vancouver area, would you consider these micro condos?

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