Vancouver has a lot to offer as a city. There are highly rated restaurants and bars, endless events and entertainment and, perhaps best of all, some of the most spectacular natural views. When talking with my clients, I try to describe just how accessible the great outdoors are to Vancouver residents. The strong connection with nature makes this city one of the most clean, welcoming and safe areas to live in British Columbia.

But don’t just take my word for it! See for yourself how our UBC homes will keep you within arm’s reach of some of Vancouver’s best outdoor attractions.

Take a Break in Pacific Spirit Regional Park

Not far from the University of British Columbia is the Pacific Spirit Regional Park. This nature preserve is huge, offering more than 73 km of hiking and walking trails for visitors. Not far from the park, there are plenty of UBC homes for sale as well, which offer the perfect balance of urban living and natural escapes. Take a moment for an impromptu afternoon walk, or spend the day there with a picnic and good friends. This is a little slice of paradise in the middle of the city.

Become a Local with a Visit to Stanley Park

Stanley Park is a gorgeous spiritual haven with lots to offer. Locals love to hang out here and enjoy the shaded walking paths, sandy beaches and famous totem poles. The Seawall promenade also offers breathtaking views of the woods, sea and sky for hikers and bikers to enjoy.

With so many great park options, it’s easy to see that there’s never a dull moment for Vancouver residents. There are always new parks to discover and trails to explore.

Combine City Views with Tranquil Nature at the Chinese Garden

The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is another staple of Vancouver living. Escape from the hustle of busy urban life and experience the soothing sounds flowing water.

If you want to make an event out of it, you can even book a guided tour that describes the symbolism and history of the garden. Tours typically last about 45 minutes and are yet another way to gain appreciation for all that Vancouver has to offer.

Spend a Day at the Beach

I couldn’t talk about Vancouver’s wonderful outdoor attractions without mentioning the many beaches the city has to offer. Families and students flock to the beaches when the weather warms up, but it’s also the perfect spot to watch sunsets all year round.

Enjoy the heated pool and playground on Stanley Park’s Second Beach. Or take a detour downtown to the English Bay Beach. With spring just around the corner, you can even plan a weekend barbeque on Third Beach, another more secluded area in Stanley Park.

Explore UBC Homes Today

The current state of Vancouver’s real estate market may seem confusing and uncertain, but it’s a great time for home buyers. I’m happy to help assist you in finding the perfect UBC home, in a place where you can fully take advantage of all the city’s outdoor attractions.

There are listings I would love to show you. So, please, give the number at the top of the page a call. I look forward to helping you.

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When speaking with my clients, one of the most common questions I get is whether a condo or a townhome is the right choice. Although both condos and townhomes make for excellent choices when you’re living in UBC, every person has different living needs, which means you need to learn which option is suitable for you.

Fortunately, deciding between a townhome and a condo when you have the right information and a trusted local realtor like me on your side. Learn whether a condo or a townhome is the right option for you and find out how I can help you find great UBC homes that will meet your needs.

Ownership and Rules

The biggest difference between a condo and a townhome is in terms. If you live in a condo, the only thing that you own is the unit itself. Everything else, including common areas, is property of whoever owns the condo development. Townhomes, on the other hand, is simply a description of a type of house. With a townhome, you would own the entire property, including any yard space your property possesses.

Another factor to consider is the existence of a Homeowner’s Association (HOA). Virtually every condo development that you move to will have a HOA. However, this isn’t true for every townhouse. While your HOA will work to maintain the common areas, you will also have to pay dues and follow any rules for living in the development. HOA rules can include when you can access common areas, how you can decorate your home and how you dispose of trash.

Protecting Your Privacy

A factor to consider when choosing between a townhome or a condo is what level of privacy and security you’ll have access to. For example, both condos and townhomes have multiple shared walls, which means you may be able to hear your neigbours and your neighbours may be able to hear you as well. Ask about the thickness of a walls between of a townhome and condo make sure you’ll have your needed privacy.

When it comes to security, one of the main issues will be the location of your condo or townhome. Like I tell my clients, the safer the location, the safer the home. Fortunately, many condo developments come with advanced safety features like underground parking and security cameras. If you choose a townhome, you can install the same security options that you would in a free-standing home.

Tour UBC Homes with Help

Choosing between a condo and a townhome really comes down to what you want out of your home. For example, if you want all the excitement that comes from living in the heart of a city and in a low maintenance home, you should choose a condo. On the other hand, if you want the freedom to decorate or landscape your home as you see fit, then the better option for you is to move into a townhome.

If you’re ready to tour great UBC homes, including condos and townhomes, then you need to work with me, Sam Huang. I can tell you about the best UBC homes available and help you find the right fit for you. Contact me today so that we can get started your perfect home.


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college girl with books

University life can be tricky, and perhaps nothing is trickier than deciding where to live. Typically, dorms are the first place students look when it comes to a place to stay, but campus life isn’t the ideal option for every student. Whether they loved dorm life or hated every minute of it, many students are making the choice to live off-campus. Moving can be a tough transition, but there are definite upsides to finding your own home. If you are considering making the switch to off-campus life, here are a few benefits to moving away from campus and finding your own UBC home. 


Your Own Space 


Perhaps the most obvious reason to move off-campus is privacy. Dorms can be fun, but at times it can be difficult to find some peace and quiet. If you live off-campus, you might have a few roommates…but not hundreds of hall mates. An off-campus home is the perfect place for studying, inviting friends to visit or decorating as you please. You’ll be able to stay involved with university life while gaining some independence. We like to think it’s the best of both worlds.  



Save Money


University expenses can add up, especially if you choose to live in a dorm several years in a row. As a new homebuyer, the initial cost can be daunting; however, you could actually save money by buying a home. Dorm costs are non-negotiable, and you could possibly end up spending more money on meal plans, parking fees, and storage space. Aside from mortgage and utilities, many aspects of home-buying are a one-time expense. If you are planning to live in the area for an extended period of time, a house can be a wise and affordable investment. As you search for your new home, you will be able to determine what neighbourhoods best fit your budget. 



Housing Options 


With on-campus dorms, you have limited choices when it comes to your living space. Many dorms have the same style of architecture and living quality, but there are countless options when it comes to buying a home. UBC Homes is a thriving community with several neighbourhoods, all of which are great options for students and families alike. Our neighbourhoods are full of houses, townhomes and condos that are close to several recreational and shopping locations (and are part of the most beautiful part of the Lower Mainland). With our help, you will be able to choose the best home in your favourite neighbourhood to suit your needs.  



No matter what you are looking for, our UBC neighbourhoods are the perfect places to find your brand-new home. If you’d like to learn more about our neighbourhoods or off-campus living, feel free to contact us at 778-991-0649 or look on our website. You can also browse our listings and compare prices to get an idea of what UBC can offer—so don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are excited to be a part of your home buying journey. 

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Shopping for a home to buy is very exciting. Some people enjoy seeing multiple homes, just hunting around to see what the area has to offer. Others fall in love with the first house that they walk into and jump at the opportunity to make it their own. No matter what kind of house-hunter you are or how exciting the thought of owning your next home is, there is also a lot of stress and anxiety revolving around potential missteps. The reality is that buying a home can quickly turn into a nightmare if you jump into things without preparation or guidance.


There are many UBC homes currently available on the market that will meet the wants and needs of a variety of clients. Before getting out there and finding the one that is right for you, you should review these tips to have a perfect home buying experience.


1. Consider Your Needs

Your wants and needs are the single most important component of purchasing your next home. There are many beautiful properties out there, but not all of them will be best for you or your family. “Wants and needs” does not necessarily mean that you should find the property that is closest to your dream home, but rather one that will make living in the house enjoyable. Make a list of everything that you would like in your new house, as well as everything that you absolutely need. Review your budget with home values on the local market and make adjustments accordingly. Do not confuse yourself by viewing homes without knowing exactly what you are looking for.


2. Get Pre Approved

While it may be tempting, it is not a good idea to start shopping without having a realistic budget. It is easy to sit down and figure out how much of a monthly payment you can make towards a mortgage, but having a preapproved loan will let you know exactly what your lender is willing to provide. Get qualified before you start looking for your perfect home. Do not forget to factor in other major expenses, such as monthly utilities and insurance.


3. Get a Good Agent

A local real estate agent who is familiar with the market will be able to match you with potential properties that best suit your wants and needs. Your agent will also help you during negotiations with the homeowners of the house that you select to place an offer on. If you have never been through the buying process, having this help is especially beneficial. While many buyers initially attempt to start out searching without an agent, getting an agent is highly recommended if you would like to have a smooth home buying experience.   


Find Your Perfect Home

Having a perfect home buying experience leads to a very happy ending—finding your perfect home. There are many UBC homes currently available on the market waiting for you to view. If you would like more information, visit our buying page or contact real estate specialist Sam Huang.  

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Education plays a major part of the real estate market here in the UBC area. The "UBC" in this very website domain of course represents the university grounds for those seeking post secondary education within the proximity of favorable homes in the region. However by no means is the community exclusive to undergrads and grad students. You see, the reason that so many families and expectant couples flock to the area is because of the higher level of education and school catchments that allow them access to some of the best programs in the entire Lower Mainland. It all starts with finding a home near a K-7 best suited for your child/children.

One look at the school catchment page in this website evidences the favorable elementary schools located in a wide variety of UBC area neighborhoods, allowing households better flexibility when it comes to matching the perfect home to the perfect school catchment, unlike the trappings of downtown Vancouver and other extremely high-densified locales in the Lower Mainland.

However the flip side of the coin is exposed when many prospective homeowners consult my services and inquire about the population growth of the UBC area. They wonder how it will impact class sizes and ultimately the quality of education that their children will receive. Fair question indeed. I'm happy to say that one literal cruise around the neighborhoods found here within my UBC real estate listings will answer that question. Our elementary schools have heard your concerns and have responded with immediate plans to expand and improve their facilities. Let's look at a couple of recent examples, complete with visuals.


Pictured: Queen Mary Elementary School

You may have noticed the futuristic looking bubble introducing this article. That is found right outside of Queen Mary Elementary school at this very moment (April 2014). The school and grounds are not only undergoing improvements to enhance the education its young students receive, but it is also undergoing construction for a seismic upgrade. Schools here take education AND safety very seriously, because you as parents do too.


Pictured: Our Lady of Perpetual Help expanding

Another obvious example seen by anyone driving along West 10th Avenue is the work being done to renowned private K-7 school Our Lady of Perpetual Help. OLPH is also in the middle of an expansion to improve facilities and to increase the number of classrooms which in turn reduces the classroom size (students per class) resulting in better education for all within its doors and hallways.

Yes, the UBC area is growing. But what's so great about our community is that while we welcome new households into our fold every month we maintain the tight knit charm of the community while ensuring that those that both reside and arrive within receive the best of all worlds, especially the children - they are in fact, the future.

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...and don't advertise it either...


As the end of January approaches many households begin to plan their up and coming vacations to escape the remaining cold winter weeks or have even started thinking about spring break (for those of you impacted by elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schedules). While vacation time should always be a happy one, being away from your house for a significant amount of time can weigh on the mind. Granted while those of you living in UBC area homes enjoy the benefits of living in a safe community environment, it’s only natural to feel over-protective of your abode when away from it. Thus, I thought I would offer a few useful tips to put your mind at ease while on vacation.

5 Tips to Protecting Your Home While Away on Vacation

1. Don’t Let the Mail Pile Up


One tell-tale sign that the residents of a home, are not home, for a long period of time is a pile of mail spilling out of the mail box or flyers and newspaper subscriptions building up on the front steps. Put your mail delivery on-hold with the local post office if gone for longer than a week or have your trusted neighbors pick it up for you every day or two. Another preemptive option, which is a good idea for other reasons (less environmental paper waste and less clutter in the home) is to convert hardcopy mail to electronic alternatives - have monthly bills and periodical subscriptions delivered online instead.

2. Get Someone to Take Care of the Front Yard


If it’s the spring or summer have someone (friends, family, neighbors kid) mow your lawn mid-vacation. If it’s winter and there is snowfall, have them salt and shovel the walkways and paths fronting your home. This will “keep up appearances”, making your home looked lived-in while you are away on vacation.

3. Use Your Smartphone to Create a Smart-Home and Appear that You Are At-Home


There are a slew of iPhone and Android apps out there that will convert your home into a smart home. Depending on your mobile device a simple visit to the respective app store will uncover apps that you can use to turn your home’s lights off and on, in addition to controlling the on/off status of your TV and stereo. By randomly hopping on your mobile device while on vacation and having a little fun with these controls your home will give off the appearance that someone is within. Just make sure you don’t blast your stereo at 2 AM, waking up your neighbors, because you forgot that you are currently in a different time zone while away.

4. Watch the Water


Turn off the outside water valve, preventing leaks and accidents from your garden/carport hoses. In addition, especially in the winter, you should consider having a trusted friend or neighbor drain the water pipes within the home, or turn them off altogether when gone for a week, so that homes in cold climates do not succumb to frozen (and thus damaged) pipes.


5. Don’t Leave a Key Outside


If you can imagine a hiding place for your house keys outside than others can too. While we are all wise enough to no longer place them under the front door mat the other alternatives such as within outdoor planters, garden gnomes, and the rest are also among the usual suspects. If you need a back-up set of keys keep them with people that you can trust that are located within near proximity to your home should you need them to gain access for whatever reason.


I hope you found these tips useful. Of course, as mentioned above one of the best ways to ensure a safe home while you are away on vacation is by first deciding to live in a neighborhood community where such a thing is of little concern. The UBC area is such an area and if you want to learn more about finding a home in UBC then please feel free to contact my UBC real estate office anytime.

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UBC Homes - Mortage Tips


As a UBC Realty agent, I am consistenly asked by prospective homeowners about how they can save money on their mortgage.

Here in this week's UBC real estate blog, I would like to share 8 Money-Saving Mortgage Tips for homeowners in the UBC area:


1. Increase your payments towards your UBC home to the most you can afford. The upside is that most lenders will allow you to reduce the payment to its previous level if it turns out to be too great of a burden or if your circumstances change.

2. Utilize your RRSP-driven tax rebate as a mortgage pre payment method. Even if you can only prepay annually, make sure your tax refunds are set aside for paying down your UBC real estate mortgage. Many Canadians borrow (at prime) to buy an RRSP to ensure the maximum rebate. When applied to the mortgage principal, the resulting refund is a “gift that keeps on giving.” Combining the refund with the tax-free interest earned on the RRSP over the subsequent years will quickly outpace the short-term interest costs of the RRSP loan.

3. Increase the frequency of your UBC home payments. Make accelerated bi-weekly payments to get a “free” principal reduction equivalent to one full mortgage payment every year.


4. Increase your UBC home mortgage payments a set amount. Round up your payments by adding even a nominal amount of say $10 per payment; the amount of interest you can save is unbelievable. At the end of the month you won't "feel" that small contribution (the old "for the price of a latte" scenario) but your interest will - you win!

5. Use your pre-payment privileges when mortgaging a UBC Home. Make use of double-up privileges where possible. Tell yourself that you will “skip-a-payment” whenever necessary…then skip only when you absolutely must.


6. Take advantage of your lump sum payments when available.  Pay a lump sum towards your UBC realty purchase whenever possible to decrease the principal of the mortgage. Your regular payments will not be allocated as much to interest, which will accelerate the end of your mortgage.


7. With your annual income increase – consider increasing your UBC home mortgage payments. Raise payments in line with increased income on an after-tax basis. You've adjusted perfectly well to your lifestyle on your past income so why not speed up the process on completing your mortgage? Sure, the extra disposable income may be fun to spend in the short-term, but the long-term benefits of being mortgage-free at a quicker pace definitely outweighs the immediate "sacrifices".

8. Stabilize your UBC real estate mortgage payments even when interest rates drop. Keep payments the same when mortgage rates have fallen if the payment amount has not been difficult to maintain thus far. Then, keep it the same, thereby paying down the principal faster.

I hope you found these Money Saving Tips for UBC real estate purchaces helpful. Of course there are many things to consider when planning to purchase UBC realty and that is what I am here for. Contact UBC Homes today and find out how pleasant I can make the experience of buying a home in the UBC area for you and your family.

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Aside from welcoming a newborn into the world, a visit to the hospital is rarely a pleasant experience for anyone, especially when a doctor or nurse pokes a needle in your arm. I certainly never enjoyed this experience when I was growing up.


However at the same time, living close to a hospital can be a blessing if you or someone in your family requires immediate medical attention. It is a blessing indeed for residents living in University Neighbourhood Association & University Endowment Land, as medical assistance is never too far away. As a UBC Realtor I can say that one of the most often asked questions posed to me by family units seeking homes in the area is in regards to the proximity of essential health facilities, beyond that of standard community walk-ins. While there are indeed fantastic facilities ranging from a UBC dental clinic a quick jaunt down Alma street, to a physiotherapty centre in the John Owen Pavilion, and even a holistic alternative health options in the area, our residents enjoy peace of mind outside of these convenient options.


Located on 2211 Wesbrook Mall, in the heart of UBC campus and within close proximity to UBC homes in the area, is the UBC hospital. The UBC Hospitalcr Urgent Care facility offers specialized treatment for non-life threatening medical emergencies by emergency trained doctors and nurses. This is a critical service essential to residents, faculties, and students.


Part of the Vancouver Coastal Health, UBC hospital is equipped with latest medical equipment and dignities instruments to give accurate diagnose to its patient.


The hospital is in the process of expanding as well. The new Djavad Mowafaghian centre for brain health at UBC hospital will be opening in the summer/fall of 2013. This is a new facility that will combine patient clinics and research in the area of neuroscience, neurology, and psychiatry. It is the first time that all the multidisciplinary areas of brain health are put together under one roof.


This is welcoming news as current and future UBC residents will be able to access these medical services.


With every new UBC real estate development in the area it seems that the services provided to the community grow exponentially as well. As a UBC Realtor I am happy to see that the area is indeed becoming a completely self-sufficient entity with even greater potential in the future. UBC homes will continue to provide both current and future residents with up-to-date information not only on UBC condos and the like, but valuable community information as well.


Until next time, stay happy & healthy!

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In my years of working in UBC Real Estate, I have often asked by Buyers “Where should I buy in UBC?” UBC has 5 distinct neighbourhoods and each with its very own uniqueness, character, and personality.    


In this week’s UBC Realty Blog, I’ll give an overview of the neighbourhoods in UBC.


Hampton Place was established in the early 1990’s. This is the oldest residential neighbourhood in UBC.  In Hampton Place, there are a total of 957 residential units located in 11 buildings with each building widely spaced. This area is also close to the Rashpal Dhillon Track & Field Oval, Thunderbird Park, Save-On-Foods, and University Hill Secondary School. This neighbourhood has approximately 2,000 residents living here.  Many of the original residents were retirees and older adults, but today, there are many families with children.  Average 2 Bedroom UBC Condos in Hampton Place run about $630,000.


The East Campus is bound by University Boulevard on its northern border, Agronomy Road on its southern border, and Wesbrook Mall on its western border, and Acadia Road on its eastern border. This is an area favoured by families with children studying at the UBC. The reason that families find it desirable to live here is because of its central location. Also, it has many amenities within walking distances, i.e. Starbucks coffee, a Food court, Staples, Gold’s Gym, and a Grocery store. Average 2 Bedroom UBC Condos in East Campus are about $688,000. However, Buyers can find 2 Bedroom UBC Condos starting price at around $550,000.


Hawthorn Place provides a variety of housing options, including faculty and staff rental housing, faculty and staff co-development housing and family housing. This is a very Family-Friendly neighbourhood. The area incorporates a greenway and 3 parks. Families also enjoy the many activities offered at the Old Barn Community Centre. Pedestrian paths and cycling routes replace parking areas and assist in traffic calming. Average 2 Bedroom UBC Condos in Hawthorn Place are about $773,000.


Located north of the Gage Residences, Chancellor Place is bound by Wesbrook Mall on its eastern border, and Chancellor Boulevard on its northern Border. Restored to its original grandeur, the granite Iona Building stands at the head of this neighbourhood. Duplex townhomes along Chancellor Boulevard are complemented by apartment condominiums in the interior of the neighbourhood. Average 2 Bedroom UBC Condos in Chancellor Place are about $1,042,000, although you will find many 2 Bedroom UBC Condos at Chancellor Place that are less than that.


UBC's latest family housing initiative stretches across 110 acres of South Campus. When completed, Wesbrook Village will be the largest neighbourhood on UBC's Vancouver campus. Over 12,500 students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and members of the general public will live here in a mix of townhouses and apartments. Average 2 Bedroom UBC Homes in Wesbrook Village are about $869,000.


As a UBC Realtor, I am here to help newcomers find their suitable neighbourhood and home. If you are looking for UBC Condos or UBC Townhouses and would like more information, please contact UBC Homes today or call me anytime at 778-991-0649.

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