So what do I need to do now?
Here are just a couple of quick questions designed to help you clarify what is important to you as you begin your search and how this site may be able to help you. Good luck out there!
1. Is this a good time for me to buy?
a) Is this a good time to buy in the Vancouver condominium market?
In real terms the 1990's brought no price increases at all. With the city and region continuing to grow, the fact that an entire decade went by without any appreciation in value is in itself remarkable. Little surprise then that when the market did finally turn in 2001, the effect was quite dramatic. The benchmark price for an apartment in Greater Vancouver rose every year from 2001 to 2007. Short term fluctuations, up and down through 2008 to 2012 have made it harder to predict but these should not necessarily govern whether you purchase a home at this time. Real estate will eventually rise in value so the only critical element is whether you might have to withdraw from the market again in the short term before that increase materializes.
b) Is this a good time for me to buy personally?
As a homeowner looking to secure ownership of your own 4 walls, I believe that there is no such thing as a bad time. With interest rates at a consistently affordable level, it makes even more sense.
As an investor you have to prove to yourself that this market will outperform the other options you have in front of you and that the risk vs gain is reasonable.
In both situations, the success of your investment will not just be dependent upon general market conditions. Every sub area, every neighbourhood, every street, every building and every apartment will appreciate at a different rate. The trick is to find the property that suits your needs but also stands to outperform the rest over your time as the owner. Contained within this site is information which will put you on the right track. Go to the neighbourhoods section to find out more. If you find what you read useful then imagine how much more useful it would be to work with a realtor who has this type of information readily available to you at all times in your search.
2. What makes the most sense for my lifestyle?
Affordability. Know your limits. Consult with a mortgage broker or lender to find out what is available to you, then do some hard talking to determine how much of your disposable income you are really willing to part with every month.
Location. Not a lot of point in living in Yaletown if you cant afford to leave your condo!
Time. Renovations often pay dividends but does your lifestyle allow you the time and flexibility to live through the chaos. Is it really worth it to you personally?
3. What are my wants and needs?
Surprisingly, possibly the least important question, because, with the right realtor this will become self evident after just a few hours of your search, making it easy for you both to focus in the right direction.
4. Do I really need a Realtor?
No! You can handle the entire process yourself.
However... here is the analogy. You require a complicated surgery. Do you:
Read up as much as you can on the internet and do it yourself.
See if one of your friends/relatives who is a doctor will do it for you, because you want to support their career, even if it isn't their field of expertise.
Take your time to find the best qualified, most experienced surgeon and set up a meeting with them to discuss the process. Then, if you feel comfortable, proceed knowing that your are in good hands and confident of the right outcome.
Buying the right/wrong piece of real estate is not life threatening but it can be life changing.
If you would like to know more about Duncan, go to about Duncan. In the meantime, good luck in your search!