Toronto couple were overpriced, so they bought a $210,000 vacation rental in British Columbia

Toronto couple were overpriced, so they bought a $210,000 vacation rental in British Columbia

Who: Jessie Darroch, 32, director of talent acquisition at CrowdRiff; and Maya Shankman, 30, human resources at Sampler

The story: Jessie and Maya started dating in 2019. Six months later, Maya moved into Jessie’s 900-square-foot one-bedroom rental in Seaton Village, which now costs them $2,550 a month.

Located on the third and fourth floors of a century-old Victorian home, Jessie and Maya’s condo has a fireplace, back patio, and vaulted ceilings. The couple decorated it with a funky and eclectic vibe.

“It’s super unique,” Maya said. “People come in here and they’re like ‘Wow’.”

The couple love everything about their neighborhood – the food, the bars, the beer, the music, the people – and have no plans to leave town.

“We love Toronto,” Maya said. “Our roots are here, we were born nearby or in town, our friends and family are here. It’s a fantastic city. We don’t see ourselves leaving anytime soon. »

For the past few years, the couple have been keeping an eye on the real estate market, but have seen prices rise more and more. Ultimately, they decided that the purchase would prohibit them from doing the things they love, such as traveling, attending live music performances, and dining out.

“We felt like if we pulled the trigger and bought a $1 million house in Toronto, it would have a significant impact on our quality of life and we would feel housing poor,” Jessie said.

Then the pandemic hit and Maya lost her job. They knew they wouldn’t be able to afford a big enough home in Toronto, especially since they had just acquired a dog and hoped to have children one day.

So the couple put the purchase on the back burner and planned a trip out West in April 2021. They visited several towns in British Columbia – Tofino, Euclid and Nelson – and couldn’t help but go crazy. imagine what it would be like to buy a property there. .

“We’re in all these cute or smaller towns, and we look at real estate and we’re like, ‘Is this okay with you? Does that seem fair to you? But then Kimberley felt good,” Jessie said.

Kimberley, a ski resort of 8,000 people a few hours southwest of Banff – where Jessie has a cousin, an aunt and an uncle – was as beautiful as it was different from their life in Toronto.

“I started getting up early. We were hiking, we were going to explore lakes, we were playing several rounds of golf on Sundays, then I was in bed at nine and it was fantastic,” Maya said. “The big lifestyle difference was really nice.”

Jessie and Maya decided to extend their stay but were shocked by the cost of renting a vacation home.

“It’s such a cute and quaint little town, but you expect to get an Airbnb for under $100 a night for sure,” Jessie said. “This was not the case.”

They ended up paying $4,000 for six weeks in an Airbnb. During the trip, a thought crossed their minds.

“This Airbnb host is enjoying it thanks to us. We really loved Kimberley, and Jessie was curious to know what the real estate scene was like there, so she started looking,” Maya said.

The hunt: The couple loved the area their Airbnb was in — it was ski-in ski-out, had great access to hiking trails in the summer — and checked property prices in the area.

“I started looking at these condos and calculated how much we would pay for a mortgage per month if we bought one of these places. It was the same as what we were paying for two nights at this Airbnb,” Jessie said.

Jessie and Maya hired a real estate agent and started looking for dog-friendly condos that allowed Airbnb rentals.

They visited a few places, but nothing stuck. Then they visited a condominium built in an old motel and were seduced.

The two-bedroom condo they saw was worth $190,000, a fraction of a two-bedroom condo in Toronto, which cost a average of $772,000 end of 2021.

“We walked in and thought, ‘The bones in this place remind us of our home in Toronto,'” Maya said. “It was a loft, it was open concept, but it was two bed, two bath and facing the Rocky Mountains on a ski hill. So we said to ourselves: “This is the one. ”

The couple prepared their offer and entered into a bidding war.

“It’s probably the tip of the iceberg of what some people experience in Toronto, because the stakes are so much higher there, but it was still stressful,” Maya said.

They placed a bid at the asking price of $190,000, but were told to bid higher. So they offered $20,000 above the request, but to no avail.

The couple returned home discouraged in June 2021. “We were like, ‘We’ll never find a place we love as much as this place,'” Maya said.

A day after returning home to Toronto, Jessie received a text message from her cousin in Kimberley, telling her to check out a new listing on Facebook Marketplace. Another two-bedroom condo in the condominium they visited was for private sale.

They immediately contacted the seller and secured a tour via Zoom, although the woman who showed them around struggled to show them much of the apartment beyond the inside of the fridge.

Although they didn’t take a good look at the condo, the couple made an offer the next morning, without the help of a real estate agent. Jessie also made an emotional appeal to the seller about how the purchase would help unite her family as her father would be able to see her sister more often.

Their offer was accepted at $210,000 and they were thrilled. “We have never seen the place. We started to think, What if all of these things go wrong? So there was a bit of anxiety, but I would say overall we were excited,” Jessie said.

The process was the same as buying a home in Toronto, but they were not eligible for the first-time homebuyer rebate and had to pay land transfer tax.

The result: In October 2021, Jessie and Maya flew to Kimberley to see their condo for the first time and weren’t too impressed.

“It was carpeted. It was fully furnished and there were a lot of old sofas,” Jessie said. “We had a really big La-Z-Boy chair, weirdly built things. And, oh, the walls were blue.

The couple spent two weeks ripping up carpet, cabinets and a built-in desk, and throwing out all the furniture.

Then they painted the walls white and added vinyl flooring. Finding furniture they liked was a challenge, but they managed to find items near Cranbrook and on Facebook Marketplace, including a black and white tweed sofa and a white swing chair that Maya loves.

In all, they spent $21,000 on renovations, including replacing the furnace.

Their intention was to rent out the apartment for short-term and long-term Airbnb stays for most of the year, to recoup what they spent on renovations and pay the mortgage and condos. To do that, they figured they would have to rent it 13 days a month, at $140 a night.

Since they started renting it in November, they’ve become Airbnb “Superhosts” and exceeded their financial expectations.

By April, they had already had enough bookings in 2022 to cover their mortgage and strata payments for the year, despite locking in six months to stay there themselves. However, they are not yet making a profit as they continue to pay their renovation costs.

Back at their rental in Toronto, the couple consider buying something else. They still feel like a house in Toronto would make them housing poor, but want to find a place in Ontario to raise a family.

​​“Right now we’re just looking for our Kimberley, but in Ontario,” Maya said.

Do you have an interesting real estate story? We’d love to hear it, especially if you moved to Toronto during pandy: [email protected]

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