Our home search begins in Tsawwassen

We have come to that point as a family to start considering a new home.

We love where we live.  My husband has a short 7-10 minute drive to work and mine is even less to my Richmond office.  We have great access to the highway that can get us to downtown Vancouver in 25 minutes or we can take the 99 South, 91 East or Knight Street North to get to all corners of the lower mainland within 30-45 minutes.  We’re by a great entertainment complex for swimming, movies, bowling and other activities, plus we drive by the Richmond Country Market for fantastic fresh produce. Our area gives us a quasi-rural feel with a nice flavoring of metro living.

Our space is decent, not large, but manageable with 915sqft. Our vaulted ceilings help to give a feeling of more space than we actually have.  We could likely continue to revamp, rearrange and reconfigure our home to make it work for us and our son’s growing needs, but for me, I have found it’s the sense of community with the hustle and bustle of young kids running around that’s missing. Not just for Jack, but for our sanity too.  He loves to play and we can only play so much before we have other duties to tend to.  Having a neighbourhood of kids willing to play, without having to pre-book a play date seems like a little piece of heaven to me.

For us the ideal home would have 3-4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, space for an office, a living room, dining room, den and laundry room. A deck with a backyard, garage for storage and a park nearby would be great bonuses.

Though the ‘wish list’ and ‘reality list’ may vary, we are trying to be as practical as we can. For us the priority comes down to:

  1. Is the community kid friendly?
  2. Are there good schools nearby?
  3. Will the house accommodate our needs for “x” years?
  4. What’s the commute like to work?
  5. What’s the commute like to friends and family?

Starting this process, it wasn’t surprising that our budget was go to restrict us greatly on where we can go and what we could get. Only a few houses in certain areas will meet our criteria and budget, so we opened our search to cover a few communities including Tsawwassen, Lander, White Rock and North Delta.  We would love to consider Richmond, but we know we would be limited to a townhouse.  Its not out of the question, but we would have to weight the pros and cons of the option.

Since I’m not familiar with all the areas of consideration, I decided I should start with an open house tour in each of the neighbourhoods to get a better feel for the type of properties listed meeting our initial needs.

I started my search in Tsawwassen:

1670 Babcock_v1068362_CROP 1663 58th_v1063207_CROP

1670 Babcock Place $639,900 4 Bed / 3 Bath (with suite) 2618 sqft / 6663 lot Built: 1973 Taxes: $3465

1663 58th Street $715,000 4 Bed / 2.5 Bath 2093 sqft / 7642 lot Built: 1968 Taxes: $3,590

5521 Summer Wat_v1081808_1_CROP 1224 Pacific Dr_ID1023874570_CROP

5521 Summer Way $815,000 4 Bed / 2.5 Bath 2681 sqft / 5000 lot Built: 1981 Taxes: $4,050

1224 Pacific Drive $838,000 3 Bed / 3 Bath 3025 sqft / 7584 lot Built: 1986 Taxes: $4,028

5656 Goldenrod cr_v1082857_1_CROP
1264 49th St_100_CROP

5656 Goldenrod Crescent $870,000 4 Bed / 3 Bath 2600 sqft / 6600 lot Built: 1980 Taxes: $4,240

1264 49th Street $879,000 3 Bed / 2.5 Bath 2520 sqft / 7868 lot Built: 1985 Taxes: $4,171

1380 Enderby Ave_v1082079_1_CROP

1380 Enderby Avenue $885,000 3 Bed / 3 Bath 1796 sqft / 6534 lot Built: N/A Taxes: $3,533

The results – there isn’t much in the $600-$800,000 range.  To get anything without a great deal of work needed, a buyer (us) would have to look at a purchase price closer to the $850,000 mark. With that in mind, here is a mortgage breakdown for a purchase of $850,000 with property taxes of $3,430 ($4,000 – homeowners grant of $570):

Total Purchase Price: $850,000 Interest Rate: 2.99%

High Ratio Loan (less than 20% down payment) Amortization: 25-year Down Payment (5%): $42,500 CMCH fees: $25,436 Total loan: $832,936 Monthly Payments: $3,940

Approximate income required: $158,400

Conventional Loan (20% or more down payment)
 Amortization: 30-year Down Payment (20%): $170,000 Total Loan: $680,000 Monthly Payment: $

Approximate income required: $107,000

From my home to yours -