There are a lot of Realtors® in the Greater Vancouver Regional District, so the question is why me?
I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada at a time when folks left their doors unlocked and kicked the kids, dogs and cats out of the house every morning to find their own entertainment. We were welcomed home at lunch and again at dinner then we were kicked outside again to play until the street lights went on.
The street was our playground. We played baseball in the summer, only breaking a few windows, and hockey in the winter. Someone yelling 'CAR' still makes me smile and look around.
Summer was for swimming in a pool or at the lake (Grand Beach ) or if you simply running through the sprinkler. Days were filled with bike riding, football, baseball, volleyball and frisbee in the park. Evenings were used to spend my allowance at the local Dairy King or get an ice cream treat from the Dickie Dee man.
Fall was football season, where testosterone fueled boys took out their frustrations on others of their kind in semi-controlled mayhem. Everyone was the local hero and every play was epic. We practised our touchdown dance even know we were rarely going to get there on our organized teams. I won my first city championship and lost the second.
Winter meant organized and disorganized hockey, played outside on public rinks even at -30C. We only went inside the shack to warm up by the fire or to buy some hot chocolate from the ladies behind the counter. Indoors in the winter meant a gym and a basketball or volleyball and of course school.
Cars had metal and plastic dashboards and steering wheels, none of it padded. Child seats hadn't been invented and not only were seatbelts not mandatory, but they were actually hidden in the back seat so my sister and I couldn't use them as weapons against each other. If you were really lucky, your Dad would have a station waggon so you could lie on your back and slide around like a turned over turtle as he drove. You could learn to drive by sitting on your Dad or Grandads knee and working the steering wheel while he worked the brakes.
In short, by today's standards, I shouldn't have lasted past my 10th birthday.
The first time I saw a computer (actually it was just a card reader attached to a mainframe somewhere else) in High School I knew that I was going to be a programmer. I was a techie and a nerd before anyone used those terms.
After college, I took a job at Westfair Foods at a time when computers took up half a floor in a large building , the operators wore white lab coats, and the computer room had glass walls to the front lobby to impress everyone who came into the building that the company was so forward that it had a mainframe. My first job was to take the programs on cards and convert them to tape. Yes tape. I had arrived.
I went to my first open house looking to buy as soon as I had a job for a year and I had the same reaction as I did when I saw my first computer. This is what I wanted to do. Show folks around. Find them them the home of their dreams. Negotiate a great deal. Take the pats on the back from my clients and cash the cheques. A quick comparison of how much I was being paid vs. the Real Estate reality of only getting paid when you make a deal made me rethink my decision.
In the late 80's, Westfair Foods asked me to transfer to Vancouver, BC, Canada, where it never gets to -30C, it only snows a couple of times a year and you don't have to shovel rain. It wasn't an easy decision but it didn't take long to convince my wife that leaving our friends and family and selling her accounting practise was the way to go. We went from a fully paid off 1800 square foot year old home with a full basement in the older area of River Heights on a 50 x 120 foot lot 15 minutes from downtown to a 1200 square foot home with a crawl space on a 60 x 100 foot lot in Surrey, 45-60 minutes to downtown if I hit the #1 Highway before 7 AM and a mortgage that was more than the full cost of the Winnipeg home.
In the mid 90's, Westfair asked me to transfer to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where it does get to -30C and can snow in any month of the year. The decision was much harder to make, but the ability to live out the dream of building a new house from scratch made Calgary attractive. We bought a lot backing on to Fish Creek Park, found a builder, started with a blank piece of paper, designed and built the house of our dreams. It 'only' took 2 years, but the results were spectacular. We sold it, set a new mark for highest price per square foot in the development, and moved to a part 1910 Craftsman part 1970's pink and grey bungalow in Elbow Park with the idea of renovating it back to orignal condition.
Life changes create Real Estate changes. My learner marriage over, I moved on into an '80's penthouse condo with spectacular views overlooking the river and downtown Calgary. I reno'd it into the new millenium, became my Condo board's president to watch over my investment, found the love of my life and we decided to move to a big new Craftsman style home in north Calgary, then to a 50's bungalow in South Calgary with a fabulous back yard.
I was rightsized, outsourced, downsized after 28 years, but at least they gave me a golden parachute. After the initial shock, I realized that for the first time in my life, I could do what ever I wanted to. We decided that was moving to Vancouver so we downsized from a 1200 square foot house, with a full basement of the same size and a giant backyard to a 900 square foot condo with a patio in the South Granville area. We found that deciding on what was important to us, during this downsize wasn't as scary as we thought, in fact it was a freeing experience.
The idea was to take a year off do some travelling, then go back into the tech world as a consultant, but the crash of October 2008 changed everything. After a lot of reasearch, the new plan became, retire to Mexico and build our dream home on the beach. We sold or gave away everything that didn't fit into 13 plastic boxes, stuffed them into our new van and drove down to Merida, Yucatan, Mexico and rented a house on the beach. We bought a beautiful 10 x 208 Meter lot on the best beach on the Emerald Coast, with all the right paperwork, with all the right signatures and stamps to make it buildable.
Alas, Mexico isn't Canada. When the government changed all of the people in the building department were let go and replaced with people that the new government put in. All of the signatures ect. were no long valid and we, along with the other 25 lots on the beach, would have to start from the environmental study stage again. Two years later, this process is still ongoing.
In the meantime, we moved into Merida and rented a colonial home and settled into our new life. A home invasion changed our minds about our Mexican retirement, so we packed up our van, and headed north, back to Vancouver and rented in the ex-Olympic village, finally buying a condo in the West End close to Sunset Beach.
My Realtor® dream finally became a reality when I passed my exam and joined Sutton Group – West Coast Realty in January 2012.