How I Bought in Tsawwassen And Why You Should Too
It’s no secret that I’m absolutely in love with Tsawwassen.
Not only is the weather better than Vancouver (they don’t call it “Sunny Tsawwassen” for nothing), but there’s a true sense of community here which is harder to find in the big city; it’s the small town feel of this place that makes Tsawwassen feel like it’s own little world.
But let’s start from the beginning so we can get to the good stuff.
I moved to Vancouver about 6 years ago as a young professional from Calgary, Alberta. The first place I lived was Kitsilano, a choice made simply based on word of mouth. I found an apartment I liked there and moved in—I really didn’t give it that much thought, and ended up falling in love with Kits. There’s not much NOT to love. You’re close to the water, there are amazing restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, boutiques...you name it—Kits has it.
I met Keith about two years into living there and he told me he was from Tsawwassen. All I knew of that area was that my aunt lived there and I had visited when I was about 16 for one night (how random?!). Never in a MILLION years did I think I’d actually live here.
I was convinced I would never leave Kits, and I knew that with a measly 2-3 million dollars I’d be able to own a home there, *eye-roll*. As a matter of fact, here are the stats; Vancouver condos averaged $1,135/sqft in March 2018, and averaged selling AT list price (often over). Vancouver detached properties (houses) averaged $1,057/sqft. Sunny Tsawwassen, on the other hand, averaged in $515/sqft for condos and apartments, and $503/sqft for detached houses with an average of 2% BELOW list price. Sounds a little more realistic, doesn’t it?
So back to the story.
Keith and I moved into a place together on Dunbar, which was an absolutely beautiful apartment. He decided to go back to hockey about a year after living there, so we moved again into a one bedroom in Kitsilano because I’d be alone for the next 9 months while he went to Stockton, California. Of course I loved Kitsilano, but I didn’t couldn’t ignore the tugging for a small-town feel...aside from Nook, which we ate at 3 times a week. I was starting to be really unhappy there.
Fast forward two more years of living in that one bedroom apartment, Keith was back from hockey and we were looking at buying a place together.
When we started looking, Keith was a bit discouraged. Being a realtor, I knew exactly what we could get for the budget we had, and I knew it would be tough to find what we wanted—what we would be happy putting our hard-earned money into.
Keith had always brought up moving back to Tsawwassen, which I greeted with a hard NO (so nice). After a few months of looking, I opened up the search to South Delta just to see what our options would be. Lo and behold, what we could get for our budget felt like 10x what we could get in Vancouver. If you also want to see what South Delta has to offer, my website is integrated with the MLS, so you can search any area and any type of home! It’s easy to navigate, and you can contact me directly with questions or requests to see property.
Even after the search, I still wasn’t sold—but at this point, I was open to actually looking at places.
But, there was the matter of the atmosphere and the commute. I drive everywhere for my job, so living 40 minutes away from the city seemed like a bit of a deal breaker for me. As a matter of fact, for Keith also! He owns a jewellery store in the heart of Gastown which he works at 6-7 days a week sometimes. It didn’t seem to bother him though or even cross his mind, so I followed suit.
After a few months of looking and submitting a couple offers, we finally ended up with the house we are in now.
The process really fun, but also requires some resilience. We started looking in the spring time, which is typically when the market heats up a bit. The weather gets nicer, and as we head into summer, homeowners consider putting their house on the market when it will show the best.
I was in love with the first home we offered on, but as it happens, when we decided to submit an offer, another group ALSO decided they wanted it. How dare they!
A few things can impact whether the seller accepts your offer:
1. Price: This is obvious—if you offer them a lot of money, they’ll probably let you have it.
2. Subjects: This essentially means the stipulations surrounding your purchase. “I will buy it IF…”. Those stipulations are commonly (but not limited to); a. An inspection - Do you want a professional to look through the property before you commit to make sure there isn’t anything you’re missing? b. Financing - Are you pretty sure you have a mortgage approved and enough for a downpayment, but still need to check with the bank? c. Documents - Do you have all the required forms regarding the building or property in order to make an informed decision?
3. Dates: When can you close on the property and take possession? Maybe the seller wants someone who can close quickly so that they can buy something else! Or maybe they want you to close in two months so they have time to enjoy their home a little longer and pack up their life. This can play a big factor.
The long and short of that is we didn’t get the first house; the other buyer had quicker dates than Keith and I were ready for, so we moved on. At least we were only competing with one offer, rather than 15 (which does happen in Vancouver).
To say I am in love is an understatement. Not just with our house, but with our new lifestyle. The people here are amazingly friendly and warm. The proximity to the water just makes my heart happy, and I am grateful every day for the quiet walks, uninterrupted by busy traffic. Having space is something that I didn’t know I needed until I got out here. A yard, and a driveway is often thought of as a luxury, but here, it’s par for the course—anyone can have whatever they dream of for their home.
As for the commute...well, let’s say it is what it is, but the positives far outweigh that one negative. In fact, I drive to Soul Cycle in Yaletown twice a week and come right home.
The other amazing thing that happened since living here is we got engaged! I knew eventually we’d get married, but didn’t care too much about the timing.
Tsawwassen is known as a safe, tight-knit community for families. I have to say, I’ve seen more kids running around here in 1 year than I did in 5 years of living in Vancouver. In this small town there are five elementary schools and two-high schools—one of which Keith went to, and look at him! He’s fantastic! Haha. To now think that we will be able to raise kids in this place, and they can run around our huge backyard safely makes me really, really happy. If you are even considering this area, call me—I’ll take you to Illuminate for dinner, where you’ll have the best salmon of your life, and learn all there is to know about living in this amazing town.