Monthly Archives: April 2016

Is an SFU Condo or Townhouse Right for You?

As a first time home buyer, trying to find the right home can be quite a challenge.  With so much available on the market today, it may seem overwhelming.  Usually, when getting into the housing market, first time home buyers have the option of a condo or a townhouse.  Both offer a great upside, and either one is a great investment.  Here are some of the key differences between a condo and a townhouse, and what each will offer, courtesy of Simon Fraser real estate.

Lifestyle—Depends on the Space You Need

If you are trying to decide between a condo or townhouse, there are many different factors that you may want to consider.  The first is location—usually, condo living reflects a certain type of lifestyle, such as downtown living.  A condo lifestyle is a great choice for young professionals or students.  This is especially true in the SFU real estate market where a condo can get you close to campus and make for very convenient commutes to and from the university.

Townhouses on the other hand may not offer such convenient lifestyle choices such as downtown living, but they usually offer more room, and if you are lucky, they even offer a small yard.  If you are thinking about growing your family or do not mind the longer commute, a townhouse may be better suited to you.

Maintenance Costs—More Is More

Both condos and townhouses are usually part of a strata, and regardless of your choice, you will pay a monthly maintenance fee.  This fee will help cover the upkeep of the building and will be used to pay off any type of repairs that will happen such as a new roof or new windows.

One thing to keep in mind is the amenities that are in the condo building.  Remember that part of your maintenance fees will be used for the upkeep of those facilities.  A pool may be a great selling feature, but that pool may increase your monthly maintenance fees.

As a general rule, townhouse maintenance fees are usually lower than condo maintenance fees because you are not paying for any facilities nor are you paying for the upkeep of so much common living space such as hallways and front entrances.

Regardless of whether you choose a townhouse or a condo, make sure to look into the strata’s contingency fund and keep in mind that your maintenance fees are part of the overall monthly cost of your new home for as long as you own it.

Rules—Know the Particulars of Each

Finally, make sure you understand all of the rules in the place you looking to purchase.  In general, condo living has more rules than townhouse living.  For instance, you may not be allowed to BBQ on your decks or your building may not allow live Christmas trees.  Make sure to look at all of the strata rules, but also make sure you can live by them before making a purchase. 

Contact Simon Fraser Real Estate today!

A townhouse or a condo are both great first time purchases for anyone looking to get into the real estate market.  If you are looking for a tight knit community feeling with security, a condo may better suit your needs.  If you are looking for more privacy and more room, then a townhouse is perfect for you.  Contact us for more information on Simon Fraser real estate

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3 Advantages of Hiring a SFU Real Estate Agent

With three locations in and near Canada’s western hub of Vancouver, Simon Fraser University (SFU) attracts students from all over Canada and the world. Thanks to Canada’s wonderfully affordable education system, universities in the country become home to many international students.

There are many housing options to consider when you start your career as a student in a totally new city. Because of the diverse options available to you, your best bet is to go with a Simon Fraser real estate agent who specializes in working with students and families of students. Here are just some of the reasons why hiring an SFU real estate agent will work to your advantage.

  1. A Smart Investment

    Since so many international students and their families are saving money on tuition when they choose to attend Simon Fraser University, they are presented with an excellent opportunity to invest. Non-Canadians are eligible for the same ownership rights as Canadians—you don’t have to be a citizen to purchase property or acquire a mortgage in the region. The only requirement is that international homebuyers must make a down payment of at least 35% of the purchase price.

    Because of this ease of access, more and more families of international students are purchasing homes for them to use for the duration of their studies. Going with a Simon Fraser real estate agent helps make the process simpler for many of these families who may otherwise be unfamiliar with Canada’s housing market.

  2. Multiple Campuses

    Simon Fraser University has three locations in and around Vancouver: Burnaby Campus, Surrey Campus, Vancouver Campus. The original campus sprawls across three-dozen buildings in the city of Burnaby, about 20 kilometers east of Vancouver, and offers classes in eight different faculties. There are also two newer locations, one in downtown Vancouver and one farther south in Surrey.

    Once enrolled, you can attend classes at any of the campuses—so how do you choose where to live? A Simon Fraser real estate agent can help to work quickly with you and your family so that you can find property near the campus where you’ll be spending most of your time. If you’re splitting time and thus have more location options at your disposal, a real estate agent can better help you compare property options in different areas.

  3. Increased Access

    Simply put, working with a real estate agent when searching for property near SFU gives you access to listings that just wouldn’t be available to you otherwise, as well as networks of other agents’ listings. When you’re already making such a big transition into a new school—and maybe even a new country—hiring an agent can make that transition so much simpler.

    For instance, Sam Huang of Canadian University Real Estate is an expert on helping international students and their families transition into Canadian culture. A first generation Canadian himself, he understands the importance of finding the right fit for your family’s values.

Whether you’re looking to purchase a townhouse, house or condo near SFU, hiring the right SFU real estate agent will be crucial finding the perfect property for you or your student.

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Should I Target an SFU Foreclosure Property for My Next Purchase?

Searching for a new home is an exciting time for anyone, but it’s especially exciting when you’re starting a new career as a student or educator in a new city. Many from out of town—including international students—move to Burnaby, BC to begin their tenure at Simon Fraser University, but with such a big move come several questions: where do you begin your Simon Fraser real estate search? What do you need to learn about the market? What’s the best and most affordable way for you to purchase property in the area?

When moving to a new city, many decide to turn to bank auctions to see what their options are for foreclose properties. As banks have no sentimental attachment to these properties, these sales can often go quickly and at pretty affordable price points. Before beginning your Simon Fraser real estate search for foreclosed properties, it’s important to weigh your options and be well informed on what you can expect from the process.

Advantages of Targeting Foreclosed Property

 Foreclosure happens when a bank or lender seizes control of a home after the homeowner fails to meet mortgage payments, so the bank is then put in charge of selling the property. Banks are often willing to negotiate on price in order to get these properties off their hands more quickly.

Since there are foreclosed properties available in any price range, usually in great condition, targeting these homes that are usually at lower rates than non-foreclosed homes of similar sizes and in similar locations makes it possible to upgrade your expectations. You might be able to find a home in a better neighbourhood or with more amenities than you normally would be able to with your budget—and since you’d be buying below market value, if and when you decide to sell again, you could meet some serious financial gains.

Drawbacks of Buying a Foreclosed Home

 Though foreclosed homes are often in decent physical condition, the states of foreclosed homes can vary greatly. Don’t forget that a home was foreclosed upon because the owner couldn’t make his or her monthly payments—this means he or she also may have been skipping necessary home maintenance, requiring many repairs to the home before it’s in a decent enough state for you to live in it. Additionally, it pays to be smart about the amount of time a foreclosed home has been without an owner. The more time it’s been left uninhabited, the more time has passed without any sort of upkeep. Your Simon Fraser real estate agent will be able to best assist you in targeting foreclosed properties at the ideal times.

It’s important to remember that purchasing a foreclosed property is inherently financially risky—you may incur any debt connected to it. You must do your research in regards to lenders, as some won’t offer mortgages on foreclosed homes, which also comes with lots of paperwork. Because of the possible value of foreclosed homes, there tends to be a lot of competition, making the process long and unpleasant.

Finding a Foreclosed Property Near SFU

If your finances are in order and you’re ready to take on the search for a foreclosed property in Burnaby, Simon Fraser real estate agency Canadian University Real Estate will gladly help you get the process started. Give them a call at 778-991-0649 to learn more about their listings and availabilities.


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Local Activities for SFU Students

Now that spring is finally here in full bloom, it is a great time to get out of the house and get to know and see Burnaby a little bit better. For those students and the like at Simon Fraser University, there is no better place to live and study than Burnaby in the springtime for its great outdoor fun, exciting activities and breathtaking scenery. Here are some of the local activities for you to get into in Burnaby and surrounding areas this spring.

Burnaby in Bloom

Just 20 kilometers to its west in Vancouver, SFU students can get the full taste of the blooming season in Vancouver’s beautiful public gardens. At the beginning of April, the roses at Stanley Park’s Rose Garden are at peak bloom and ready for plucking. Bring in the sunny month of May at Stanley Park’s Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden and see the 4,500 hybrid rhododendron and azalea plants in full bloom. If you want to make a day of it, take a tour of all of Stanley Park’s gardens, including the VanDusen Botanical Garden, and then head on over to Queen Elizabeth Park’s free quarry gardens.

You can also enjoy beautiful natural scenery and experience spring in full bloom at the Burnaby Mountain Park and other local gardens. All across Burnaby, you can also gaze up at is towering mountains that drape the backdrop of the province. There are also plenty of opportunities to go biking and hiking in Burnaby with thousands of trails to choose from, giving you a great chance to view and take in all that Burnaby has to offer.

Out and About in Burnaby

The exciting and diverse entertainment and festivals available in Burnaby makes it the perfect place for its diverse student population to live. In the spring, Burnaby residents can celebrate migrating wildlife with its local festivals. The Wings Over the Rockies Bird Festival brings everyone together to celebrate an appreciate nature. This year’s festival theme is Reflections on Water. Other festivals to enjoy this spring in Burnaby are the Meadowlark Festival and the Pacific Rim Whale Festival.

You can easily get around Burnaby by car; or for those without a car, you can use SkyTrain, making life a little simpler for SFU students. This makes it easy to get to and enjoy Burnaby’s fun activities such as various concerts, parades, and, the fan favourite, shopping. Metropolis at Metrotown is the place where Burnaby residents can shop to their heart’s content. With more than 450 shopping stores, enormous and varied food court, and 10-screen mega movie theatre, Metropolis at Metrotown is the biggest shopping mall in British Columbia and the top tourist attraction in Burnaby. Burnaby also offers other high-quality and diverse shopping centres including Crystal Mall, Brentwood Town Centre Mall and Lougheed Town Centre Mall.

For those art lovers and majors at SFU, you can also enjoy local museums such as the Burnaby Village Museum, which displays what life was like in Burnaby in the 1920’s. Even more, Burnaby residents and students can also catch local shows at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts where they can enjoy musicals, comedies and operas.

Thaw out from the winter in Burnaby with some of these must-sees and exciting activities to do and enjoy. Learn more about the great things to do at SFU and surrounding areas as well as the local real estate options with Canadian University Real Estate.

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