In my last post about moving to Victoria, I outlined the process of getting a new job and renting a place in James Bay. I’m happy to now report, we’ve concluded things.
In truth, the Victoria relocation went about as well as it could have. After finding a pet-friendly rental on the first trip over, selling our condo and moving our possessions has been a relative breeze. I say relative, because it went well, but was laborious.
Once we secured the rental for January 15th, I planned to be living in it as of the 19th to begin my new job on the 22nd. I came back the two weekends between then and early February to help ready the condo for listing, and get loads of our stuff over to Victoria.
With my spouse, pup, and a load in tow on February 3rd, that made 12 ferry rides in the previous four weeks. We knew there would be at least two more return trips, to empty our condo and to tend to the lawyering post-sale. All in, we ended up with 16 ferry trips in six to seven weeks.
Staging and selling
We used the same stager in early 2017 and again this time. An initial skeptic of the value of staging, I became a convert when I saw the photos and how quickly our last place sold. This time, I’m even more certain it helped. Professional staging makes the place look sharp, and makes a small condo like ours feel large. Better, in fact, than showing an empty home, as the pics below show.
The downside to leaving some pieces of furniture there, was that it necessitated a piecemeal move of several trips. My preference would have been to hire movers for one big load, but that wasn’t possible. As such, four of our return trips between the island and mainland included a U-haul van. If I ever try to move my home again myself, I’m pretty sure my mid-fifties back will go on strike. When we move from the rental to the next place we buy, it’s movers all the way.
Given media reports of a softening Vancouver market, we were bracing for a slow sale. January 2019 was the lowest sales volume in thirty years, and we were preparing to lose money. Much to our surprise, after a week on the market and one weekend of open houses, we had three offers above asking. Ultimately, we lost only a few grand from what we paid at the height of the condo craze two years ago. We’re happy with that.
We tried to use an intelligent strategy for listing. In researching places like ours, we were happy to find there wasn’t much stock in Kitsilano in the 800sf, 2BR range to compete against. Of the units that were close, a combination of fear and greed seemed to have people asking for stupid money. No one appeared to be keeping the mortgage stress test in mind when listing. Ours looked pretty good by comparison. It showed better than many and was listed for several hundred thousand less in some cases.
Carrying our rent and mortgage cost roughly $4000 per month, and we’re both relieved we didn’t have to do that for much longer than a month.
Closing the deal
We brought the last big pieces over two weeks ago and had a few odds and ends to collect when we returned a few days ago to complete the sale.
The trip featured a quick Tuesday evening beer visit with the boys, and a final condo cleaning and conveyancing on Wednesday. As of this writing, the money is in the bank, the buyer has the keys and we are now Victoria residents.
With our Victoria rental apartment nearly set up, we’ve arrived at the point where we can settle in and get back to normalcy. As with any large move there were a few things to change, store and acquire. Embracing minimalism when we bought the condo, meant we didn’t have a bunch of crap we needed to deal with this time. Even so, we found a few things to donate or purge before moving. The only acquisitions we made were new desks, a dresser, a small entertainment centre, and a new flat panel TV. Our poor old Sharp didn’t survive the journey. Everything we stored fit in our apartment storage locker.
We moved to Victoria for the size, pace and walkability, among other things. As such, one commitment I’ve made is to get out and enjoy more social activities in the city than I did at times in Vancouver. The introvert in me makes this challenging, but I’m really going to try to push the boundaries of my social comfort zones.
Fitness has taken a massive hit, so easing back into running and cycling will start this weekend. I’m hoping to plan a reduced year of events after not racing for the past couple seasons; maybe a couple each of cycling and running. It’s possible I’ll start with a low-key MEC race or perhaps the Times-Colonist 10k.
I experimented with setting up my digital drum kit in the apartment, but it was just too large. So, I’ve decided to focus on keyboards and really dig into the Yamaha digital piano I’ve had for several years.
Oh, and I’ll try and enjoy my front and back yard …