The challenge of simply living simply

Condos in Vancouver are getting smaller and smaller which brings to mind the question of living efficiently in a small space. If you’ve got a 500 sq ft. condo, you may find it difficult to find a place for all your things, particularly if you’ve moved from a larger rented property. So maybe you look around at all your things and think “how much of this stuff do I really need?”

..Which is probably a very good question.

What do you really need to live? A bowl, a spoon, and the clothes on your back.. Perhaps a bag of rice to eat, a pot to cook it in and a library card. Now that’s living lean! Living like this could make your 500 feet of floorspace absolutely palatial, and if you ever went bankrupt (god forbid!) you could fit all your stuff into a shopping cart.

But wait.. you’re going to need a cloth to clean your dish, and place to put it while you’re not using it.. maybe even a second dish for when you have a vistor, and you might as well get a couple of chairs to sit in.. Suddenly you find yourself at Ikea, pressed into a sweaty throng of unhappy shoppers trying to figure out if the billy shelf was supposed to be in aisle 7 or 8.

Oh, right.. and you’re going to need a car to get to ikea, and you’ll need a place to put the car while your not using it, cause it sure as hell isn’t fitting into your apartment. You’ll probably also need one of those little pine-tree air fresheners to clear out the smell of particle-board glue after you’ve driven those Ikea shelves home.

See how this happens? Modern life is a snowball of accumulation, once we have the stuff we need we find things we want and pretty soon you’re renting a storage locker in Burnaby to store your overflow.

Anybody else find this to be a problem? How are you dealing with the ‘stuff’ issue? Do you have too much? Not enough? or juuuuust right?

Salt Lake City BOOMING after the Olympics! *and subsequent bust.

Things are looking up in Salt Lake City – Employment is rising and they’re showing a strong retail sector. Vacancy rates are still very high but they’re building a new convention center to bring more people into town. This recovery is very good news, because after they hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002 they suffered a big crash.

..when the skiers and skaters went home, Salt Lake City’s economy went into a tailspin. The host city was saddled with a glut of offices and hotel rooms while apartments went vacant as demand fell.

Last year, the city’s economy rebounded after two years of job losses. But the area’s office and apartment markets still struggle, and its promising retail market may be hurt by a stream of new construction.

With rents in SLC going for about 27% less than the national average this recovery is encouraging – even if Vancouver suffers a similar fate after the 2010 winter olympics it just goes to show that the economy can recover after a few years. By the year 2060 most any condo you buy in vancouver will even be cash positive!

Now thats a good investment!

MLS realtor-speak translation service.

Did you know that professional realtors use a super-secret code system to communicate hidden info to other realtors? It’s sort of like the way bees dance in elaborate patterns to communicate with other bees.

Do you know what they really mean when they say ‘nicely appointed‘ or ‘just paint and profit‘?

Imagine the advantage you would have in this hot market if you could decode these messages and reveal the hidden truthiness within.

Well now you can! proudly presents
The MLS realtor-speak to english translation guide! (episode 1)

When the listing says:

Pride of Ownership!

They Mean:

Current owner may have marked his/her territory by urinating in some corners of the property. Thats what that smell is. Its definately not rodents, so don’t worry about that.

When the listing says:

Cute! or Cozy!

They Mean:

Take off your shoes before entering the apartment, because there’s not enough room to bend over and undo your laces once inside.

When the listing says:

Just paint and profit!

They Mean:

Unit is unliveable, get in and out of this deal before the market crashes.

When the listing says:

Huge! or Spacious!

They Mean:

You can’t touch all the walls at the same time! There will be room for your shoes!

When the listing says:

Nicely appointed!

They Mean:

Condo is decked out with interior finishes that were all-the-rage in 1981. Unit comes with free flock of seagulls album on audio-cassette tape.

When the listing says:

Ground Level or Garden Level

They Mean:

Condo is in the basement. There are spiders. But they dont bite. much.

When the listing says:

Good Investment!

They Mean:

You shouldn’t have to subsidize your renter by more than $2000 per month for this apartment. There is no bubble. Negative cashflow investing is where its at! This condo will be worth a staggering 3 MILLION DOLLARS by 2010.

Leaky Condo’s in Vancouver BC

Got a leaky condo in the Lower Mainland? You’re not alone. The Coalition of Leaky Condo Owners (COLCO) has a website with resources and info at

It looks like they’ve even got a database of leaky condo buildings in Vancouver, but the information is currently offline.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you may want to consider one of these buildings for a mushroom farming venture.

Varsity condo project cancelled, deposits returned

The Varsity theater in Point Grey village was set to be knocked down to make way for condos. Apparently the land was too valuable to waste on a single screen neighborhood theater.

Unfortunately it looks like now construction costs have made the land too valuable for the condo’s that were to be built in the Varsity theaters place. Deposits for Varsity condo’s have been returned citing “The unprecedented rise in construction costs” in Vancouver.

So what will go it its place? We’ll have to wait and see.