The Villa Townhome on Little Commercial

SOLD for $305000

#10 – 3477 Commercial Street   $325,000

MLS # V760933

View from the Balcony

View from the Balcony

“In 2000 we went looking for a Vancouver home where we would be in the company of other writers and artists. Opposite the Skytrain and Trout Lake on Commercial Street at 18th Avenue, we found the ideal situation–a sunlit, two level, two bedroom European-style condominium. This small home (800+ square feet) has served us well. It is in brand new condition. A skylight in the kitchen opens to the sun and the evening skies. There is a fine gas fire in the living room, and we can see the mountains from the living room and the balcony off the dining room. Our front door opens onto the Villa’s central garden courtyard. The property is secure, including the underground parking.”

So describes my client about his pied a terre here in Vancouver as he and his wife have finally decided that living in Toronto and having a place on Galliano was enough toes on the earth for any one couple. So now you have the chance to put your toe into one of the best spots to live in Vancouver. There on Little Commercial only steps to Trout Lake. Or take a stroll down Commercial for a cup of Cappuccino and a Biscotti before you do your weekly shopping at the numerous markets along the Drive.

If you wait ’til Saturday you can shop at the Farmers Market and feel righteous as you “buy green”, follow the 100 mile diet and support local farmers.

It doesn’t stop there. The complex is filled with artists and writers so you can enjoy a community of culture while gabbing with neighbours in the central courtyard – without even going down to the street.

These fellow condo-ites recently got control of the strata council and have pro-actively ordered an engineer’s report to bring the condo up to snuff. Coming from the report were many suggestions to fix problems that had been nagging at the property for a while. And last year an assessment was put on the suite and has been paid. So you will be buying a property that is “as good as new” with all known problems being dealt with.

Now check out the pictures and give me a call at 604-760-7342 to view the listing.

Exterior from the street. A bit garrish, eh!

Exterior from the street. A bit garrish, eh!

Once inside you walk down the courtyard to the suite.

Once inside you walk down the courtyard to the suite.


Then up the stairs to the door.

Then up the stairs to the door.

Up the stairs to the suite

Up the stairs to the suite

Up the stairs to the suite!
enter the suite
Top of the stairs is the kitchen and the skylight opens!

Top of the stairs is the kitchen and the skylight opens!

to the right is the dining area and the door to the balcony

to the right is the dining area and the door to the balcony


the living room with gas fireplace

the living room with gas fireplace


Green Tea House Flyers


Download  PDF:  Flyer page 1, Green Tea House Details

Go to full description here.

Should I Panic Yet?

Ok, we are in big doodoo. The dollar ain’t a dollar any more and the housing market in BC is on hold and even though we did not have the sub-prime mortgages the situation in the states is effecting our level of panic.

So what should you do?

First of all, stop freaking out. The answer is the same as it ever was. Buy when it is right for you. You cannot put it off until prices are better because when prices are better other things change. Interest rates may be higher, the state of the dollar is less stable, who knows what will change.

The most important thing is that you do not get yourself into a situation that if the interest rates go up you cannot pay your mortgage. The best way to fight this is to put a minimum of 20-25% down – more if you can. You will be able to get the lowest mortgages with this kind of down payment and will not have to pay a premium on the mortgage.

The second thing is to not buy a property that stretches your finances over your comfort zone. Say the mortgage person says you can get a mortgage for $400,000 but with taxes and maintenance you will have to fork out close to $3,500 per/month. If this will be hard for you and will involve your partner working when you wanted to have a baby, consider a less expensive alternative. Then if mortgage rates go up you will still have a bit of leeway before you would have to move the baby into the hall closet and rent the extra room to a home stay student to make ends meet.

The last consideration is time. Buy because you want to live in a place that is your own. Where you collect the benefits of the rent and no one will kick you out if you paint your bedroom black or listen to Abba at 3 am. Do not buy to make a fast buck by putting in laminate flooring, painting the walls red and selling for $50,000 more in three months.

Buy because the place you are living is no longer suited to your needs and it is time to find a better place for your new situation whether it is because you are having a baby or your kids have all moved out and you are tired of keeping up a 5 bedroom house for just the two of you.  If you are buying for investment, plan on doing the work yourself or keeping the property long enough so that inflation gives you your profit. And buy a place that you can rent out and still cover your bills if when you are ready to sell the market is low.

And, don’t panic. Our entire economic system is not going to crash and your little piece of heaven is still out there.

Quote from my mom: “I’ve been waiting 75 years for the fall of Capitalism.”

Buying a Heritage Home

Getting an Electrical Inspection to facilitate insurance access.

I went to the big Vancouver Real Estate Conference at Canada Place last month. Following the breakfast meeting we had the choice of lots of work shops that seem to have two perspectives – one to make me richer and one to tell us how to service our clients better. I know I missed out on wealth years ago when I spent 30 years as an artist, but it is never too late for service to your customers.

Most interesting to me was a workshop on buying an old house with outdated electrical systems. They covered knob and tube wiring among other problem systems. The speaker stated that the problem Ken and Morgan’s Housewith old wiring is most often not that it is dangerous, but that you cannot get insurance on your house. (A major biggie.)

Most insurance companies refuse to insure an older house that has aluminum or knob and tube wiring. Up until recently, the only option available was to have the outdated wiring removed (at considerable expense), even though the wiring might in fact be perfectly safe.

To solve this problem, Brian Cook (the presenter), formed a new company called “PowerCheck Home Electrical Safety Inspections”. He approachedLinda’s house BCAA and proposed that they support an inspection that assesses any risk posed by the knob and tube (and other old wiring) to get them to accept the assessment for insurance purposes. BCAA agreed to insure heritage property with this inspection.

According to PowerCheck, (providing there has been no tampering), about 95 per cent of all knob and tube wiring is fine. In such cases, PowerCheck prepares a list of “Corrective Actions”. Once the corrective actions have been remidied, the home is automatically re-rated at a respective lower risk rating.

The insurance companies will automatically give you insurance (at a premium rate) when you buy using PowerCheck with an agreement that once you bring the risk down you will have your insurance lowered.

For more information check out or call (604) 684-3630Red house in snow

Vegetables Here I Come



My life has been transformed. I have been reading about plant protein verses animal protein. The book is called The China Study by Colin Campbell. I wont go into the details, but he says that by eating a whole food, plant protein diet most of the diseases of affluence can be avoided and/or cured. This includes heart disease, cancer, diabetes etc. Over the past few weeks I have gotten my blood suger to be normal and have reduced my medications. Give me a call if you are interested in the details. I have become a Vegan.



Here are a couple of recipe for Indian food without milk or meat.

Aloo Gobi (potato’s and cauliflower)

Ginger, Garlic
Turmeric 1/2 Tsp.
Cumin Powder 2 Tsp.
Coriander Powder 2 Tsp.
Red Chili Powder 2 tsp.
Garam Masala 1 Tsp.
Cilantro Few sprigs for Garnishing.
Oil 1 Tbsp.

Wash & drain cauliflower florets. Dice potatoes.Heat Oil,
add Onions & fry till translucent. Add ginger, garlic, stir,
Mix in Potatoes , cover to cook.When the Potatoes are half
done , add the florets, turmeric. Cover to Cook. Open
after a few minutes, add all the dry powders & mix.
Garnish with Cilantro leaves and salt to taste.

Sag Paneer

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
pinch of cumin seed
2 cardamom seeds
1 stick of cinnamon
2 or 3 bay leaves
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon each fresh ginger and garlic
1 small fresh tomato, sliced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound fresh spinach, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
fresh cilantro leaves
Diced firm tofu.

Heat oil in saucepan and saute chopped onion until light
brown. Add cumin seed, cardamom, cinnamon stick, bay
leaves, cloves, ginger, garlic, sliced tomato and black
pepper and saute about 30 seconds. Add chopped spinach
stirring until it begins to change color. When it goes dark
green add salt, cumin, turmeric, coriander powder and
garam masala. Mix well with spinach. cilantro and tofu
cubes. Cook it well, stirring so it doesn’t scorch.

Serve above with rice mixed with peas.

Reverse Mortgages

The end of the rainbow

The Reverse Mortgage – why not?

I am totally against the Reverse Mortgage. It is a con game organized by the bankers to steal your house and your inheritance.

You know the hype about Reverse Mortgages, “If you are age 62 or older and are “house-rich but cash-poor,” a reverse mortgage may be an option to help increase your income.” They go on to say, “It allows you to access money which is not required to be paid back until you leave the house or it’s sold. However, because your home is such a valuable asset, you may want to consult with your family attorney, or financial advisor before applying for an RM.”


Here are a few of the down sides to the reverse mortgage that you should consider before you jump in.

1. Interest is added to the balance starting with the first month and each month thereafter. This means that the total amount of interest you owe increases significantly because interest is compounding and you are paying interest on the interest.

2. Insured plans charge insurance premiums and some have mortgage servicing charges. Even though you can put these costs on the loan, this reduces what you can borrow.

3. RMs use up a portion of the equity in your home, leaving fewer assets for you and your heirs in the future.

4. Interest on RMs is not deductible for income tax purposes until you pay off all or part of your debt.

5. Because you retain title to your home with an RM, you also remain responsible for taxes, repairs, and maintenance.

The most damning information I have received related to the RM came from a friend whose parents had gotten one and who lost thousands of dollars. Here is her letter!

“I would like to tell you about the experience my parents, both 82, had with the reverse mortgage company, Canadian Home Income Plan (CHIP). I’m sure that you have seen their very seductive television ads; even Gordon Pape is speaking for CHIP suggesting that it is a “good investment”. I believe that the business practice of this company should be exposed. They are preying on the elderly, low-income people in Canada.

Five years ago, my parents signed an agreement with CHIP for a reverse mortgage of $43,000, over a 10 year term. At that time they owned their home outright. Five years later, halfway through the term, they were encumbered with $88,000.00 worth of debt on their home. In exchange for this, they had been receiving an annuity payment of $360.00 per month. So essentially, they had paid $88,000.00 for $21,600.00. Had they let the term run the ten years, they would have been encumbered with $125,000.00 worth of debt on the home, so paying $125,000.00 for $43,200.00. And they would have absolutely nothing to fall back on if either one of them had to go into long-term care.

The implied idea in selling reverse mortgages is that the value of your home will increase, so you are not really “losing” anything. Their home is presently worth about $145,000.00, and is located in a rural area of southern Vancouver Island. Home prices in this area have stayed steady for the last 7 years, and they are not likely to rise much in the future, as it is a fairly depressed area economically.

In order to stop the erosion of the equity in the home they decided to take out a mortgage. Luckily, rates are now low, and their monthly payments are also fairly low and manageable. When I was searching out lawyers for them to draw up the mortgage papers, each one of them agreed with me that the CHIP reverse mortgage was something to be very wary of.”

So, what are your choices?

Had they taken out a standard interest only mortgage of $50,000 at 5.5% for five years – amortized over 20 years, and put the $50,000 in the bank their yearly interest payment would have been 2,750/year. That plus $350/mon ( $4,200/year), would have given them over 7 years before they used up the$50,000 (not counting the interest they would have gotten from the $50,000). It would have dropped their property value down only the 50,000 rather than 125000, and they still would have had a nest egg for emergencies.

Again I urge you to see a lawyer before you get into a reverse mortgage.

Perhaps a more suitable way for you to deal with a need for monthly income would be to downsize your living situation and investing the difference in an RRSP or a retirement fund. Give me a call and let’s work out a solution together, and remember, there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.