After tolerating a gloomy apartment for many years, Bryan Hoekstra and Kevin Barnard were ready to trade in their apartment life for home ownership. But for these avid travellers, the thought of a costly mortgage on a high-maintenance home and yard left them feeling discouraged. After significant research, Hoekstra and Barnard realized that a condo lifestyle would grant them the best of both worlds: home ownership without the maintenance, repairs and security issues. For first-time home owners, a condo would provide the satisfaction of home ownership with the financial freedom and simplicity they were used to. After exhaustive research, Hoekstra and Barnard felt confident with a presale purchase of a unit in the Duet building, nestled in the heart of James Bay between downtown and the Pacific ocean, and they couldn’t be happier.
The key to Hoekstra and Barnard’s condo buying success was their strategic pre-planning. As first-time homeowners in their forties, the couple spent many years researching and honing their wish list. After considering both resale condominiums and new construction, the Duet project, by Chard Development Ltd, seemed like the perfect fit. James Bay’s convenient neighbourhood, a reputable developer and the benefits they saw in purchasing a presale home were the initial draws to the 90-condominuim project in the heart of James Bay.
With their fifth new development, Escher on Broughton, currently at a presale stage, Chard has a great track record for getting projects off the ground smoothly, increasing buyer confidence. Like Hoekstra and Barnard’s experience, presale purchasing awards buyers first choice of suites and allows extra time for preparation.
David Chard’s, founding Principal of Chard Development Ltd, source of pride is his commitment to communities. As stewards of the city, Chard Development has made downtown Victoria home for hundreds of people. “Working with a developer that is obviously doing more than just ‘making money,’ we felt confident in our presale decision,” states Hoekstra.
With the advantage of choosing the exact unit that fit their price point, with the added bonus of selecting finishings for the unit, the couple was first in line at Duet for the presale. “The most important research we did was on presale purchasing and we are so happy we went with this process,” says Barnard. Their families had presale concerns, but the couple felt confident based on Chard Development’s reputation. “We made a significant deposit with Chard and it never occurred to us that it wouldn’t be safe,” says Hoekstra. David Chard spoke with the couple directly about the market, property values and the low-level risk involved in the Duet building.
Though they didn’t realize it at the time, doing a presale purchase allowed the couple to take the time they needed to downsize and declutter from a larger space and to be financially ready for their purchase. “Planning ahead made the whole purchase possible. We got a helpful tip about getting a personal loan from the bank that could be paid off before their deal closed – not for the deposit specifically, but to allow us to free up some money to get prepared,” says the couple.
After years of living in a dark apartment, the couple is embracing their new condo bathed in natural light. The concrete construction increased their purchasing confidence and the walkability of the prime location to work, parks, beaches and groceries has changed their lives. “We love the strong community feel of James Bay and the building, with its rooftop terrace, has made it easy to connect with neighbours,” says Barnard.
“Not only can we barbecue on the rooftop with friends but we enjoy daily yoga on the terrace which has really changed our lives,” says Hoekstra. Since moving to Duet, the new homeowners are enjoying the fruits of their planning which included purchasing all new, space-saving furniture in a vibrant palette to make the most of their new space.
Not often a term associated with Generation X’ers, downsizing was an imperative part of the couple’s transition to their condo. Familiarizing themselves with the amount of space they were acquiring and decluttering was a cathartic experience for Hoekstra and Barnard. The couple urges first-time homeowners to do thorough research in order to find the right fit for their lifestyle. They emphasize the importance of understanding exactly what you are buying: what are the building’s amenities, storage capacities for bikes or kayaks, common spaces and green spaces that can increase your living area. Ensure you have a budget for furniture that will work well in your new home and inquire about maintenance and long-term value. “We are confident with our caretaker at Duet, he is always on it,” says Barnard.
For Hoekstra and Barnard, their experience has been nothing but positive. From the sales team that still waves them in for a chat to their new neighbours, the couple is loving their new home. “Even our cats are happier, they love the space, especially lying in the sun filled windows.” Not only does all the walking add to their activity level but the daily rooftop yoga has been an unforeseen benefit. “We love being in our kitchen together and enjoying al fresco dining on the rooftop terrace.”