Monday, August 10, 2009

I know it's time for a blog when...

...Adam has updated his blog about a hundred times in the last couple of days. Yes, Adam does have a blog, a great one, but it has been dormant since about 2007 (and amazingly not removed by Blogger), so all the more reason for me to feel the pressure to update! 

After the mini-holiday at Whistler, it has been back to hard work and back to routine. I love traveling, but honestly, there is nothing I love more than being at home. Speaking of homes, Adam and I have started to look into buying a place. We started our search with condos and came to the conclusion that we cannot comfortably cram ourselves and our belongings into any of the places within our price range. We've realized that living in Fairfield might be a bit of a pipe dream right now so we've forced ourselves branch out a little (as long as the waterfront is still running distance...or at least a short drive away!). With the start of school on the horizon, we realize that we need to find a place reasonably soon (our current apartment is SMALL and there is no way Adam can study while I am quilting/sweating on the rollers/cooking/gossiping in the same room :) So, we've started to search for rentals for this fall. But, if we are going to rent, we want to be in this area. Well, a 2-bedroom is not cheap and after looking at a few, we were back to the drawing board. Rent or purchase? It seems as though we can purchase a place, even on the upper end of our price range, with the mortgage payments still being less or equal to the cost of renting something big enough. But, we need to consider that in two years Adam may be articling elsewhere....and then what? 

We were driving through Fernwood the other day and came across an open house. Oh dear, this is the trouble with open houses...we fell in love with this place the moment we walked in. Built in 1890, this place had serious character! We were both speechless as we walked through, admiring the original hardwood floors, the high ceilings, the amazing garden and then I saw them... the chickens running amuck out back! And, YES, the chickens come with the house!! We were both anxious to check the listing price and sure enough, it was out of our price range. But, it got us thinking, what if we look for older homes, smaller in size? Afterall, a house would have enough storage space to keep our living area clutter-free (but who are we kidding, that would only last about 2 days...max..). We've come across a few places in Fernwood, Oak Bay and Vic West that are a perfect size, in the price range, and have plenty of character. But, owning a house is a different story than a condo, especially an older home. So much to think about!!

Anyway, we are not sure what we're going to do but if anyone has any suggestions or stories to share, please do so!

As for training, it's going well and we're rolling along in this final training block. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time goes by. In less than two weeks we will be in Kelowna for Nationals and in just over a month, we will be racing the Grand Final in Australia. Can't wait!


Alicia B. said...

Hi Lauren!
Haven't ever posted a comment before, but just thought I'd say a little hello.
Just have to mention how much I love and appreciate all you write about. You and Adam are so down to earth and grounded, it's admirable. You remind me of me sometimes and your love of the simple things in life(berry picking is one of my favorite things to do when I'm in BC, but I managed to score some Saskatoon berries here in Calgary a few weeks ago!) You keep me so motivated in my own triathlon/life journey/food obsession! Loved reading about your house/condo hunting. I hope when we move out to Victoria we can find our own "chicken" house! My dream home! Although I wouldn't mind some honey bees as well. Good luck in Kelowna! Too bad we won't be there to watch this year! We'll be in Kelowna a week later to watch Ironman. Have a fabulous week training and keep blogging! Chau Alicia B.:)

Lauren said...

Thanks for the kind note, Alicia.
Best of luck finding your dream home, complete with bees, chickens and berries!
Have a wonderful trip to Penticton,

David O'Coffey said...

Lauren, Couple thought and suggestions for you.

My background for reference, just bought a house in Oakland, just north of Fernwood and love the neighborhood and the house, previously owned/lived in a condo for 4 years in North Park.

First off make sure that you don't fall in love with the house/condo until you check everything out, this includes building inspection, complete tour around the surrounding blocks to make sure the neighboring houses are well kept, ideally watch out for High density (condos or apartment blocks as they are louder and more transient people) , stalk the area a bit to make sure what you see during the day is what is around at night, talk to people in the block if they are in their yard. Being prudent doesn't hurt when purchasing.

Condo/House suggestions for the

Condo purchase if you are going this route (great way to get into the market), as a guess sleep is critical for you I would highly recommend a steel and concrete building rather than a wood frame as noise transfer becomes an issue in the wood frame buildings. And don't forget to read the strata minutes and look at the financials if you don't understand them ask someone that does, make sure there is enough contingency fund for any upcoming repairs and a depreciation schedule would indicate that they are planing for the future properly. Watch the Strata fees as well $$ wise good to look at every $600 per month is approximately $100,000 so a $200 strata fee is worth $33,000 of mortgage. (Relatively no work to do on the yard as there is typically no yard + and -)

House has a yard, no one dictating what you can and can not do in your house, no strata fees, most places in Victoria area can have chickens (not so much in condos), More yard work and you are responsible for the up keep on the whole house not just your area in a condo, ability to sit outside on grass when you come home from a long run or ride, more money for a house and Property taxes. Be aware of your First time home buyer perks, specifically property transfer tax big expense so try to stay under this threshold if you can check.

David O'Coffey
PS. Friend of Jennie Sprigings