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2010-02-07 - 4:51 p.m. is it so far?...

Yesterday, as we were out puttering around in the front garden our neighbor Joel (originally from LA) stopped and chatted with us for a few minutes. Joel - whom K has met once on the street - told us that we've bought our house just before the market crashed. He went on to tell us all about how he has an innate ability to predict market crashes. After a few minutes I said, "well, I guess these things affect you more if you are buying to play the market on the short term. On the longer term, we're betting that, even if there is another crash, the Funcouver market will recover over the course of several years.." And then I turned back to planting my ground cover. Joel was an interesting guy, telling brand new first time homeowners that they've f'ed up. Other than that the conversation was friendly, I guess.

But this brings me to a question that Artgnome just passed my way today (and rather than write my lecture, I've decided to try to answer it!). What are the differences between owning and renting? How are you liking it?

Short answer is: we feel extremely lucky and we love it! Longer answer to follow.

The differences are HEE-UGE.
1. NOISE. We no longer hear the incessant jungle drums from the park below us. The sirens are almost a thing of history. The next-door neighbor's son's loud pot parties are no more. When we DO hear late-night noises on the streets, it's generally just a few party-goers returning home, and it's a pleasant change.

2. SMELLS. No more pot smoke wafting through all the bedroom windows.

3. DRAUGHTS. Our house is AMAZINGLY air tight. Granted, it's been perpetual Spring rather than winter here...but we've heated the entire house using the gas fireplace in the living room, and been comfortable the entire winter. Plus, we haven't had to worry about old window falling out in the bedroom.

4. SPACE. Susi has a bedroom. Bada has a bedroom. We have a MASTER bedroom big enough to hold an office. The crawlspace. The garage. GOD SENDS. The actual square-footage of this place is not that different from our previous place, but we have ROOM. I didn’t think that I would like the ‘open concept’ living space, but it’s fabulous (as long as we aren’t running the dishwasher). We’ve sat through days of Funcouver rain in this big room with 4-6 people without feeling claustrophobic.

5. BATHROOMS. Okay. I’m a convert. I poo-poo’ed the bathroom collection…but now I’d be hard-pressed to give up the luxury of my walk-in shower. I could do it…but would rather not.

6. NEIGHBORS. We like them. They stop and talk to us, invite us to dinner. We do not have strange, pseudo-intellectual talk about attachment parenting and breast-feeding and behavioral disorders. We just talk. And perhaps this comes from my side of things, but we have no sense of obligation. We just like spending an evening with them.

7. OWNERSHIP. Every time we do a load of laundry, make a mark on the floor, hammer in a nail, or move a plant around, we do it knowing that we are not messing with the hyper-sensitive landlady’s sense of micro-management.

8. THE GARDEN. I really never knew how much I love gardens. I always thought that they were just oogabs of pointless, backbreaking work. Now I’m completely hooked on watching greens and blooms emerging from earth, and knowing that I’ve helped to coax them along.

Is there anything we miss? Well, yes. Beautiful views, container gardens on the porch, the sense of safety that comes from being a floor up. The brilliant sunshine flooding the kitchen. Sleeping on the porch under the stars. Two minutes from the library, restaurants, and every shop, and the bus stop. There are always trade-offs.


9. THE PRICE IS STILL RIGHT. We’ve put most of our resources into this house, but our monthly payments are about two-thirds of what we were paying in rent – so we are better off. And, the Funcouver market continues at its obscene level of growth. A very similar duplex around the corner from us is now selling for nearly 25% more than our place, confirming that we bought at the right time. And most importantly, I like our place more!

I think this is the main point right there. I’ve done the occasional real estate search, and perhaps there are a couple of places that have turned my head…but they are out of our range. We thought our place was outrageous when we bought it, but nothing seems to beat what we found. No regrets. Nosirreebobby.

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