“HOT Main Street area starter home” was the first line of the property posting my man and I read on a lazy, hungover Sunday, so I knew we were already fucked. Every 25-40 year old in Vancouver is looking for a HOT starter home that is not a condo but also under $800,000! And this one was listed at $649,900! I emailed the agent immediately to book a showing. And hence begins the tale of the first house I ever looked at to buy.
To be honest owning a house has never really been on the top of my “life goals list”, mainly because living in Vancouver I had come to terms with the fact that we could never afford one (that’s not in the burbs). But when I saw this cute, 3-bedroom house with a suite underneath that was double the price of a condo, but HALF the price of a houses in the neighborhood (which are all listed for about 1.2 to 1.3 million), I opened my heart up to the possibility of owning, and naturally had to go see WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THIS PLACE to make it so cheap.
So I went to look at it: 3625 Prince Edward St. (They took the link down but luckily I screen-grabbed that shit!).
And what did I find out? Nothing. Nothing is WRONG with the house. I thought it would be a tear down, but in fact it is in far better shape than my current apartment. It is a totally precious house that someone could do wonders with to make it their home. And about a million other Vancouverites had been through it and thought the same thing.
I then asked the agent, Gabe (who was lovely), two very important questions:
Lauren: It’s going to sell fast, eh?
Gabe: YES. IT WILL BE SOLD BY TOMORROW.
(Conclusion: bad news for us as we are not pre-approved for a mortgage so the thought of buying this house went out the window.)
Lauren: Why is this place so much cheaper than all the other houses in the area?
Gabe: Because it is a tiny plot of land, and you pay for the land.
(Conclusion: although it is amazing that this house is half the price of other houses in the Mount Pleasant Hood, it is still SMALL, and our perceptions of a “good price” are obviously skewed by our insane market. $649,900 is still a shit ton of money.)
And as I told this story to my good friend Pat Kelly (no relation to my husband), we started talking about the root reasons we feel the urge/pressure to own a home: is it for more living space to have a million babies, or “to get into the market” as an investment? Because yes I want to have a million babies, but it’s always an option to rent a bigger place, and if the main reason is for an investment, this city is probably NOT the smartest place to invest.
SO what now? Well we have an appointment with the bank to see what we can even AFFORD, continuing to keep an eye on the market with my new favorite website themacnabs.com, and who knows, maybe even applying to be on Property Brothers.
Ultimately this experience has just sparked my desire to know more. I have always said “I can’t afford any house in Vancouver and this is a bad place to do so”, but I now would like to find out if anything that I blab about houses is true. And whatever gems of truth I find out I promise I will share it with you guys here on Grown-Up Party. And do YOU have any insights/thoughts/knowledge/experience on the market or buying a house in this (or any) city that you wish you’d known before taking the plunge? Please tell us all!!!
Last but not least, for the curious ones out there that were already thinking in their minds “well it was listed at $649,900, but it could have been bid-up to a million!”, the final sale price was $718,000.