East Vancouver purchase brings happy ending to young couple’s epic search for first home

East Vancouver purchase brings happy ending to young couple’s epic search for first home


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  • Inside the Strathcona neighbourhood residence at 1163 East Pender Street that sold on March 8 after eight days on the market.

They refused to give up on Vancouver.

After numerous misses and a lot of heartache, a young couple has finally landed their first home.

 
 
 
 

Their successful purchase of 1163 East Pender Street residence marks a happy ending in an epic search that started last year.

The journey saw them make offers on a succession of properties only to learn that they have been outbidded.

 

One of these was 950 Ringwood Avenue, which had an asking price of $1,249,800.

The couple placed a bid of nearly $300,000 over the listing price, but that wasn’t enough.

The Vancouver real estate received a total of 26 offers.

 

The 950 Ringwood Avenue home sold in January 2022 for $1,830,000, or $580,000 over asking.

The couple’s realtor David Hutchinson related to the Straight the experience of his clients, who requested not to be named in public.

“They're both full-time working professionals, and this house hunt had turned into a part-time job,” Hutchinson recalled.

It wasn’t an easy one.

“We were losing out on homes weekly,” the Sutton Group-West Coast Realty agent noted.

It was the "same vicious circle”.

“Find the home, try and make the appointment before the slots fill up, scramble to get there on the weekend, fight the crowds also waiting view the home, rush through the home, get as many questions in as possible, discuss about making the offer, review all the documents, talk to the bank, prepare and sign the documents, send the offer, wait for hours to see if we got it,‘oh, we missed it by $200,000’, okay, see next weekend to do this all over again,” Hutchinson said.

The long-time property agent related that buying a home is an “emotional rollercoaster, even in the best of times”.

In this current seller’s market, it's “extra stressful”.

“Who wouldn't want to throw in the towel?” Hutchinson said.

In the end, they got the property that was “best for them” in the Strathcona neighbourhood.

The detached home at 1163 East Pender Street has the couple’s “must-have list”.

These include a garden and backyard space to accommodate possibly a hot tub in the future.

The one-storey plus basement residence sold on March 8 for $1,581,000.

Here’s a look at this Vancouver real estate where the couple hope to raise a family.

 
 

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Thompson Rivers University gets ready to launch Master of Arts in Human Rights and Social Justice


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  • THOMPSON RIVERS UNIVERSITY

(This story is sponsored by .)

The war in Ukraine has once again focused the eyes of the world on human rights and social justice. These are also important issues in B.C., whether it’s in the discovery of unmarked and undocumented graves at former Indian residential schools, rising homelessness, the opioid crisis, or the treatment of activists protesting logging and pipelines on unceded traditional Indigenous territory.

 
 
 
 

It’s why the Dean of Arts at Thompson Rivers University (TRU), Dr. Richard McCutcheon, feels that a new graduate program at the Kamloops institution is perfectly timed. The university will be initiating a “soft launch” (the program is pending final approval) of a new Master of Arts in Human Rights and Social Justice (MAHRSJ), which reflects recommendations for education by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

 

“The faculty members who created this are so committed and so passionate,” McCutcheon said in an interview.

TRU expects applications to open this spring and to accept the first 30 students in September. The prerequisite is a Bachelor of Arts or related degree.

“The curriculum has core courses, which are very specially designed for human rights and social justice purposes,” McCutcheon explained.

Each course in the 16-month program will be taught by two professors from different disciplinary backgrounds. The Indigenous Ways of Knowing course will be facilitated and coordinated by faculty members, who will bring Secwépemc knowledge keepers into the classrooms to work with students.

THOMPSON RIVERS UNIVERSITY

“We think this is one of the first at the graduate level where every student coming through will have to take this Indigenous Ways of Knowing course,” McCutcheon said. “We worked with the Indigenous community in developing the course.”

He pointed out that a great deal of Indigenous education takes place on the land, and he hopes that this can be incorporated into the course.

Students enrolled in the MAHRSJ will complete field experience in the summer months as another core component of the program. “We’re placing people into nongovernmental organizations, paralegal organizations, and similar kinds of environments to get hands-on experience so when they graduate, they’ve already got something under their belt,” McCutcheon noted.

Students in the program will learn about international human rights, including treaties and UN declarations. In addition, they’ll gain insights into domestic human-rights legislation and the functioning of human rights tribunals in Canada.

“They will have four degree-completion options,” McCutcheon said. “One would be to complete a thesis.”

Another completion pathway, which is typically not offered, is a “creative-expression option”.

“We have a Fine Arts and Theatre program,” McCutcheon explained. “A student could potentially do projects in one of those areas, such as write a play about a social justice issue.”

Sociology Prof. Dr. Jiyoung Lee-An is an immigrant from South Korea and a critical race feminist.

“Defining intersections of gender and race has been at the centre of my own lived experience living in Canada as a racialized immigrant and activist-scholar,” Lee-An said.

She encouraged people from diverse backgrounds to think seriously about enrolling in the MAHRSJ program at TRU. The advantage of this, she noted, is that potential students will bring their embodied experiences of living in Canada as a minority into the classroom. And through discussing their own experiences and concerns, this can lead to more systemic analysis that sheds light on broader issues to create social change.

“So I really want to be that bridge so that students can actually come and talk to me,” Lee-An said. “Also, we can actually combine our experience to transform society. I see my role in the program in that way.”

THOMPSON RIVERS UNIVERSITY

Lee-An emphasized that there is great diversity among different racialized groups and different priorities in terms of political struggles. “But I think it’s really important for me and hopefully for other racialized Canadians and immigrants to contribute toward strengthening interracial solidarity,” she said.

According to McCutcheon, there are several ways in which the MAHRSJ degree could be applied in the workforce. First of all, there’s great demand among nongovernmental organizations for people with a great deal of understanding of human rights and social justice. Secondly, he said that in some professions, such as teaching, gaining a graduate degree can actually increase a person’s pay level—and human rights and social justice are very relevant in the educational sphere.

Finally, he added, there’s increasing demand within corporations for people with a deep understanding of these issues because that can help alleviate problems and avoid legal liability.

“We did market research and what it showed was there’s a real hunger for this kind of program,” McCutcheon said. “It makes sense to me.”

Find out how you can change the world by visiting 

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A Better Way Home for British Columbia: BC REALTORS®’ Recommendations for Improving Affordability and Consumer Protection


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  • BCREA
(This story is sponsored by the .)

When Natalie Holgerson and her husband unexpectedly got an unsolicited offer on their townhome in Steveston—for well over what they’d paid a few years ago—they couldn’t believe their luck. In the hopes of moving into a single-family house, they decided to take a chance on the offer. But, unfortunately, things haven’t panned out as they’d hoped.

Today, they’re renting after losing out on several properties despite making subject-free offers. Each time, they found themselves in multiple-offer scenarios where they presented their offer immediately after the showing. Offers were always well over the asking price, and there was never time for any due diligence like a home inspection. Natalie said, “Unless you’re willing to take on a million dollar–plus mortgage, which we are not at this stage in our lives, it’s a super-challenging situation.” And subjects? Natalie knew their offers would only be considered if they were subject-free.

B.C.’s Housing Supply Needs to Increase Now

The fact is that in British Columbia, there’s nowhere near enough supply to meet demand. For example, in March 2021, 67,000 buyers searched for homes across B.C. while only 24,000 homes were listed for sale.

The disparity between housing supply and demand will continue to rise as the federal government resumes its immigration program. This year alone, the Government of Canada aims to welcome more than 400,000 new permanent residents; 70,000 to 80,000 are expected to settle in B.C. The province already has domestic demand that it can’t meet. B.C. is already home to four of Canada’s fastest-growing cities:

Kelowna, Chilliwack, Kamloops, and Nanaimo—and BCREA’s research shows that these cities have a $1-million benchmark for a single-family home or townhome. As the demand for housing grows while supply continues to lag behind, the pressure on potential home buyers will only worsen.

Moreover, British Columbians, whether home buyers or renters, need options in housing type. Building out middle housing—such as duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, laneway, and secondary suites—can create a much-needed diversity in the housing stock. The diversification and densification of housing are essential in cities and transit-accessible population hubs.

When there’s such a mismatch between supply and demand, it’s no wonder that multiple-offer scenarios and even subject-free offers are the norms.

BC REALTORS® Support More Transparency

That’s why the professional association for B.C.’s 24,000 Realtors, the B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA), has submitted a white paper, A Better Way Home: Protecting Consumers in Real Estate Transactions, to the B.C. government with more than 30 recommendations to improve the B.C. real estate sector and better protect consumers.

In our recommendations, we urge the provincial government to make infrastructure investments to local governments conditional on official community plans, housing-needs reports, zoning bylaws, and other local policies to allow for increased density and a mix of housing types. Put simply, to speed up and increase housing diversity and starts.

We have also suggested the creation of a permanent National Housing Roundtable in coordination with the federal government to bring together all housing-market stakeholders to help address these challenges in an integrated manner.

Our other recommendations include making property-disclosure statements mandatory, making all strata documents available upon listing, and giving buyers more insight into multiple-offer scenarios.
 

Informed Decisions, Instead of Regrets

The mismatch between potential home buyers and available properties means that there are a whole lot of frustrated British Columbians who have been unsuccessful in their home-buying journey so far.

According to a survey of unsuccessful home buyers in B.C. since January 2021, by far the most common reason for an unsuccessful purchase was competition from other potential buyers (49 percent), followed by inadequate financing (31 percent). Similarly, among concerns expressed by successful home buyers, the largest was pressure to make an offer uncomfortably above the list price to be competitive (22 percent).

With fierce competition between buyers, subject-free offers and risky financial decisions are being made without proper due diligence. Often, buyers prepare an offer 48 hours after a showing, and it’s done without an appraisal, inspection, or sometimes even without reviewing strata documents. Like Natalie and her husband, for many buyers, non-subject offers are a must if they want to have any chance at securing a home.

The current real estate market and what it has meant for buyers and sellers have many people worried—from consumers to government  to Realtors. The B.C. government, in particular, has taken notice. Concerned that consumers are making increasingly risky decisions, the B.C. government has said it will introduce a mandatory “cooling-off period” in real estate transactions this spring.

A cooling-off period would allow buyers to change their minds and cancel a signed purchase contract with little to no legal consequences—likely leaving the seller in a difficult situation, particularly if they’re buyers in another transaction. A solution that only protects one side involved in a transaction is no solution at all.


Pre-offer Period: Peace of Mind for Both Seller and Buyer

Another recommendation BCREA has put forward in A Better Way Home is a “pre-offer period” of a minimum of five business days from the listing date during which offers cannot be made. Unlike a cooling-off period that protects buyers at the expense of sellers, BCREA’s proposed pre-offer period would give both sides of a real estate transaction peace of mind.

During the pre-offer period, a buyer has time to do their due diligence, review documents and disclosure statements, ensure their financing and insurance are in place, and arrange for a home inspection. Then, when they’re ready to make an offer, the buyer can make an informed decision on presenting with or without subjects.

When buyers are allowed enhanced market exposure and opportunities for due diligence—before offers are considered and accepted—this ensures that they’re not making risky offers in haste.

On the other side, when the seller receives an offer, they can be confident that the buyer is serious and has the financing in place to make sure the deal goes through. It also provides greater transparency in the transaction, in that all parties are aware of what due diligence is being undertaken.

Realtor and Government Collaboration Is In Consumers’ Best Interests

Realtors have unique insights into how to improve consumer protection in real estate transactions. BCREA wants to collaborate with the B.C. government to ensure proper measures are in place to tackle the core problem of B.C.’s housing issues: the lack of housing supply. Progress needs be made to improve housing supply and lessen the impacts of future overheated markets. At the same time, consumers looking for a home today need workable solutions that give buyers and sellers peace of mind and that can withstand the tests of changing market conditions.

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions we’ll ever make. Working with government, consumers, and other real estate sector stakeholders, BCREA wants to help find A Better Way Home for all British Columbians.

To learn more about the BCREA’s recommendations and white paper, visit .

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A fitness entrepreneur reveals three critical mistakes to avoid when you’re trying to build muscle


 
  • Jamie KoufosDIGITAL NOD

(This story is sponsored by .)

A well-defined six-pack, solid biceps, and striking pectoral muscles not only make you look like a million dollars, but also make you feel pretty good. Turning fat into muscles is the dream of many but only a few make it a reality.

 
 
 

Converting something that’s soft and slovenly into something that’s hard and disciplined takes a huge amount of work and willpower.

Fitness entrepreneur Jamie Koufos points out, “One of the biggest reasons people fail on their health journey is not because they lack the motivation but it’s because they’re making critical mistakes that handicap their progress.”

 

Founder of , Koufos is a fierce advocate of getting people working out, breaking a sweat, pushing their limits, and achieving their goals. He has kindly shared with us the three critical mistakes to avoid when trying to build muscles.

Neglecting your nutrition

“It doesn’t matter how often or hard you hit the gym, if you’re not eating right, you’re doing yourself a grave disservice,” shares Koufos. “You are what you eat and if you’re devouring nothing but junk, you won’t have the necessary nutrition and energy to really slam it in the gym. Additionally, all the good work you do will be undone by too many burgers, sugary snacks, and shakes. Your diet should be as equally important as your workout. Always stay hydrated whilst working out to ensure you’re firing on all cylinders round the clock.”

Failing to plan workouts

According to Koufos, another crucial mistake is the lack of a well-thought-out and structured fitness program. “Clarity and planning are everything when it comes to building muscle,” he says. “I’ve seen so many people waste precious hours on the same old chest, arms, and ab exercises, only to get nowhere. Everyone needs an individual program tailored to their needs, circumstances, and goals. We’re all cut from a different cloth and need our fitness programs to reflect that.”

Going too hard

Koufos warns against overtraining if you want to go the distance and reap the benefit of your endeavors.

“Stimulate, don’t annihilate is the name of the game,” he reveals.  “I’m all for going for it but everyone needs to know their limits. Burnout happens all the time and you have to know when to rest and recover and when to feel the burn. Slow and steady wins the race every time.”

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How travelling helped Fabian Kumpusch grow on many levels


 
  • Fabian KumpuschDIGITAL NOD

(This story is sponsored by .)

Life was comfortable for Fabian Kumpusch when he decided to take a break and go on a trip around the world. It changed his entire perspective and helped him realize what was truly meaningful in life.

 
 

“I didn’t want to be confined to the box I was in,” shares , who later worked in real estate in Europe. “I wanted to move around the world and try new things.” 

Travelling doesn’t have to be something you do on your two weeks of paid leave from your 9-to-5 job, he adds. Instead, you can start your own business and travel the world. 

 

According to him, travelling can really broaden your mind and introduce you to new ideas.

It’s hard to change your whole perspective if you stay in the same place all the time. A new destination can make you re-evaluate what you care about and introduce you to the person you want to be,” he says.

Whether you can take a long trip to several countries or a shorter trip to one place, he advises that it can be very beneficial to step out of your everyday life and reassess.

Kumpusch worked as a real estate agent in Munich for a year and a half so that he could explore the city. He traded cryptocurrency while he worked and despite losing a lot of money at first, he never gave up. Once his career started to take off, he knew that he wanted to spend more time roaming the world.

“I see money as more of a tool than anything,” reveals Kumpusch. “It helps me create location, time, and financial independence. I can go out on my own if I have the funds to back it up.”

He recommends starting a business to try new things and living your life to the fullest. “When you’re confined to a 9-to-5 job, your time is accounted for,” says Kumpusch. “You’re either working or recovering from working.”

When he first started his business, he had to work constantly. However, his hard work eventually paid off and he began to live the life he always wanted.

He points out that travelling makes you a more interesting person as you’ll have more stories to share and unique experiences to enjoy. While you’re in a new country, you’ll make friends from different backgrounds. This will broaden your perspective towards life and the people around you.

“I’m not the same person I was when I started travelling,” he declares. “I didn’t know how little my world was until I started moving around.”

You can also work with people who have a different lifestyle, diversifying your business and changing how you think about the world.

Kumpusch has recently started learning Japanese and he recommends learning languages along your adventures. “You’ll have a richer experience and you’ll feel less like a tourist. It’s a way to expand your intelligence and challenge yourself.”

He strongly recommends travelling as much as you can because it can help you create the life you want to live as you grow on multiple levels.

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