9 Best Search Practice for Vancouver Home Buyers

As a full time Vancouver REALTOR® I'm active mostly in Vancouver West. The map includes anything west of Cambie. In addition, I'm also specialized in some specific Vancouver neighborhoods where i do more of my real estate marketing.

This includes Kitsilano, Kerrisdale, Point Grey, Southlands, Yaletown and Coal Harbour.

In addition to all my loyal past client’s referral, I also do an active and extensive marketing for new prospects. My marketing and advertisement targets Vancouver real estate buyers and sellers. 

In this article i wish to address some of the questions the buyers prospect came across.

In my lead system, when a prospect buyer signs up to view Vancouver homes, in the backend of my system, i can analyze their search behavior. This is important to understand what these buyers are in for.

One of the worst Vancouver real estate search behaviors I come across, is they view with no target in mind.

My first reaction is to contact them and align their search assisting them to receive only homes they like. 

We get tremendous homes and condo listings for sale in Vancouver and this inventory is expanded specifically in a normal to a buyer’s market. So searching through all this homes with not knowing what it is you want as a buyer, can be very daunting.

Let me help and express a perfect solution for this common issue.

As a real estate buyer, it is important to go through the following questions and answer them as honestly as possible. If you’re a family, make sure to consult and consider everyone’s wish in the following.

-        The very first question is how much I/we can afford to buy a house in Vancouver.

This must be the first in mind as the rest of the questions are built upon this important step. Why? When you know your top budget, it would define the area, type of the product and many other aspects of your purchase. How would you determine your real estate budget? This is a simple step. As your Realtor, I can connect you with Vancouver’s top mortgage and financial consultants to help you understand all the financial obligations involved in purchasing a real estate process. (This includes amount of deposit required, closing costs, tax obligations, bank and government fees, and understanding the overall details on monthly and annual payment obligation as home owner.

-        Area and location

Now that we know your top budget (and of course this remains private and confidential), it is now the time to determine your neighborhood preferences. Vancouver is a big city with many small patches of neighborhood, each offering a very unique setting suitable for specific taste. Your lifestyle defines your location. For instance, if you’re a younger professional who prefers nightlife, access to easy transportation, then maybe Vancouver Downtown, Yaletown, West End is a good fit. And if you’re a growing family, with kids who require nearby school, local shops, quieter area and less traffic, Kitsilano could be a perfect fit. This may also change if you’re purchasing a real estate only as investment and planning to rent it out. In this article we are focusing on buy to live.

-        Type of Property

You know your budget and the area you certainly prefer. Now it is time into more detailed criteria. House or Condo? This is a great question which also depends on the budget, area and lifestyle. Let’s discuss this further. If you’re a younger professional who’s more focused on work, you may not have enough time to care and maintain a single family detached and or half duplex. Condo and or townhouse may be of a better choice as the strata fee payment, covers the exterior of the unit’s maintenance and care. If you’re a family with desire to live in a single family detach (SFD), area and budget come to play. If you have a budget under $2m and prefer West of Cambie, then maybe moving into a bigger townhouse, and or nice ½ duplex is a perfect fit for your budget and lifestyle. Both townhomes and ½ duplex although are part of a strata, offer more privacy, possible private outdoor area and much more affordable than a single family detached in Vancouver west. If you focus only on having a single family detached house with a budget under $2m, then looking to expanded neighborhood into East Vancouver or possible Burnaby area is more suitable.

-        Number of bedroom & bathroom

These criteria also depend on budget, location and lifestyle. A single professional may only need a one-bedroom unit with under $600k budget west of Cambie. A family with under $2m budget, may require 3 bedrooms and minimum of 2 bathrooms.

-        Pets and rental restriction

Many buildings in Vancouver built prior to 2009 have certain restriction on their bylaws. When purchasing, it is important to review the bylaws and know whether the complex and or strata allows certain pets, age restriction and rental restrictions. If you’re an investor who wishes to move in to the unit and maybe rent it out eventually, it is crucial to understand whether the complex and or condo for sale bylaws permit rentals.

-        Top floor or lower level?

Most buyers prefer higher levels. I personally suggest top floor level when a building is wood frame as the lower levels will certainly feel the above unit’s movement and noise, especially when the units are not carpeted. If you have a pet, small children and or have an elderly, being on a first floor offers a townhouse-like style where there may be a private yard and easier access. This is a suitable choice specifically when a building is concrete and there is no plumbing issues.

-        Unit Direction and light.

This is a subjective criteria and many buyers have selective choice on unit direction. In general North-East facing units offer morning daylight and South-west units afternoon light. It is certainly a matter of choice and what the buyer prefers. A buyer may prefer more light through after noon and the unit that is facing south-west could be facing another building with blocked views. Most Coal Harbour condos which offer water views, are facing East with limited daylight. Yaletown and North Shore, offer buildings with South, west facing, that offer water views. These choices maybe important for a buyer.

-        Number of Parking

Having a family with two vehicles, you certainly need minimum of parking access for two cars. Or a single professional working in downtown with no car, prefers living in Vancouver downtown island (including Yaletown, Cola Harbour, West End) may not even care whether the unit has parking or not.

-        Year of the property

The older building mostly are wood frame. It is important to review all strata documents including financials, depreciation report for any upcoming special assessments. This is crucial as the older building may require annual remediation for their balconies, exterior, rain screen, roof, elevator and such which are quite costly. Some older construction (including single family homes) have been fully renovated to the gut and offer a brand new living space. Depending on the buyer’s budget, location and lifestyle, having a ready to move-in home versus requiring some updates is important.

There are variety of desire and a wider wish-list a buyer may have. Such as pool, hardwood floors, air-conditioned, large balcony, quiet neighborhood, high ceiling, Electric Vehicle access, skylights and so on. Some maybe achievable and some may be impossible depending on budget & location. As your Realtor, I always ask my clients to have a list of rational must-have list and a wish-list separated based on their budget and if 80% of the wish-list is accommodated in a property they viewed, that home is a good potential.

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