The following testimonials were written by just some of my happy sellers and buyers. They have all been kind enough to give me permission to show you their correspondence. Their letters and words are very gratifying. It seems that my down-to-earth and honest approach has earned me many friends - I think that's fantastic!
The whole sales process went so smooth, so fast.
Vancouver real estate…We finally bought in!
The Vancouver real estate market is pretty addictive, you know. My writing schedule has gone out the window, I’ve only just got working on my children’s book again, and I’ve generally been exhausted and stressed out. Why?
Because we bought a condo in this gorgeous city!
The whole process has been a learning curve at lightning speed. In the UK, real estate moves in months. In Vancouver, real estate moves in days – or in our case, hours.
We started looking to buy in early October. By early December, the deal was done. Here’s how the whole thing played out.
The money part
First stop, a mortgage broker. It seemed a good idea to know how much of a mortgage we could get, before we started looking for real estate.
Having no clue how to possibly choose a mortgage broker, I took a recommendation from a colleague and contacted Michelle Byman on October 5.
Michelle was great. Immediately she laid out everything we needed to provide to get a mortgage and recommended three different realtors.
She was also completely unflappable. Even when we felt like we were flying by the seat of our pants, Michelle came through for us. More on that later.
Too many realtors
Next, a realtor. Here was our first mistake: arranging to meet all three realtors Michelle recommended. We thought we would be able to take time to choose one. Turns out, in Vancouver, realtors move as fast as the real estate market.
The first realtor we met brought details of potential properties with her and expected to begin visiting open houses immediately. Being too polite (too British?) to say no, we followed suit.
Then we met Linda Burchell, whirlwind realtor and parking ninja. We had a lot in common, and it felt like she was on the case and on our side. We had our realtor!
Which of course meant we had to break up with the first realtor. We sucked it up and did this in person, after we looked at the perfectly fine real estate she’d found for us – but I really wish we hadn’t had to.
We also had to cancel our meeting with the third realtor, which came back to bite us later, when he recognized us at an open house he was selling and we were viewing….Awkward.
The first offer
Ready to rock, we embarked on a rigorous regime of having Linda trawl through Vancouver real estate listings, find homes we might want to see, schedule visits to open houses – then drive us around every few days to check them all out.
That is where her ninja parking skills came in. No matter where we were in Vancouver, no matter how busy the traffic, she always seemed to find rock star parking right outside every open house!
We looked at our first real estate with Linda on October 21. On October 24, we decided to put in an offer for a place in Mount Pleasant. Offers were due on October 27. We had only three days and it was a nervewracking, stressful experience.
First off, Vancouver real estate is so blazing hot right now, no one is putting any subjects or conditions on their offers. That means no subject to financing, appraisal or inspection.
As newbies, this felt extremely risky. It IS extremely risky.
Assuming – and it felt like a big assumption – Michelle found us a mortgage after the fact, if the lending bank appraised the property to be worth less than what we paid for it, we would be on the hook for the difference.
Even worse, if Michelle couldn’t find a mortgage for us at all, we would be on the hook for the entire purchase amount.
Of course, Michelle couldn’t advise us to go for that – it’s the kind of crazy madness only Vancouverites would even consider, right?
But it was also becoming clear that finding a mortgage after the event is increasingly common in the Vancouver real estate market…
So Michelle talked us through it, we considered the risks, she considered how difficult it would be to find us a mortgage – and in the end, we felt like it would probably be OK.
But then, what about the inspection?
Thank the blazes for Trina Skare.
Trina is one of the few female home inspectors out there, and came highly recommended from Linda. She was also available immediately, which meant we could at least get our potential new home inspected before we put in a no subject offer.
Meanwhile, I scrambled to get a bank draft for the deposit and read through the last few years of strata council minutes to look for anything dubious. Like I knew what I was doing.
On inspection day, Trina did a fantastic, thorough job – almost overwhelming me with the level of detail included in her report. I felt a lot better about putting in the offer when she told me everything was in great condition.
Finally, we came to offer day. Linda sent it in, with no subjects (flying by the seat of our pants then.) I also wrote a letter to the owners, explaining who we were, and how much we wanted to buy the place. Maybe it would help?
Alas, it wasn’t to be.
There were several offers, the whole thing became a bidding war, and after a second round in which everyone upped their offers, we lost out. We later realized this is now the new normal in the crazy world of Vancouver real estate. List low, watch the multiple offers roll in and let the bidding war begin.
Honestly, it took me a while to get over that first loss. The place had seemed so perfect. It seemed like the owners liked us. It seemed like we were in with a chance. I’d already started imagining living there. Sigh.
But four days later, on October 31, there we were, deciding to put in another offer on another place, this time in Fairview.
After losing out once, this felt a bit like a rebound house, but it had a lot going for it. We had two days to get the offer ready.
With practice under our belts, on November 2, we went for it. No subjects. Another nice letter.
Again, we lost out, in yet another bidding war. We were starting to feel pretty disheartened with Vancouver real estate.
Looking for a place was taking up so much of our free time. We saw and messaged Linda more than most of our friends – and when we did see them, the house hunt was all we talked about.
(They were probably bored as all hell, but thankfully they indulged us. As you are doing right now. So, thanks. I appreciate it.)
All in all, we seemed to be getting nowhere and for a while, it felt like we’d exhausted our efforts.
Love at first sight
Two weeks went by. A myriad of apartments flashed past.
A couple of places almost had us reaching for a bank draft – but after a day of intense discussions, that made us feel like we could have hammered out a viable Middle East peace process, we decided that neither was really right for us.
Then everything changed.
At about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday November 14, we walked into an awesome condo on Pine Street. The mountain and city view was amazing, the living area was open plan, it had two bedrooms and two bathrooms – and the whole thing had just been renovated and looked brand new.
A potential offer amount immediately jumped into my head. We looked around for about 20 minutes. I tried to look unimpressed to put off other potential buyers. By the time we left, we were sold on the place.
And when were offers going in? By 7 p.m. that evening – coincidentally the same time the puck was set to drop at a Giants’ hockey game to which we had tickets that night. We had less than five hours to get our shit together.
Here I can’t help but look back on our two previous failed offers as training for this moment. We knew exactly what to do, we didn’t get ruffled about it and we acted decisively.
There would be no bidding war, we would go as high as we could with no subjects, then go to the hockey – and screw it if we didn’t get it after that. Maybe the Giants’ would win, hey?
Our offer went in. The puck dropped. And we waited.
At 8:04 p.m. – some five and a half hours after we first saw the place – Linda texted to say we had bought it, for the amount I first imagined. At this point the hockey became a blur. (Which is a good thing as the Giants started losing, badly.)
Real Vancouver real estate
Drinks were drunk, excited phone calls made and a zillion messages sent. In just a few hours, we had bought a condo in Vancouver. I couldn’t quite believe it. We actually owned some Vancouver real estate.
Since then, I’ve been like a crazy whirlwind organizing everything – a deposit, a mortgage, a lawyer, home insurance, mortgage insurance, movers… the list goes on. And it sounds far too grown up.
Finally, on December 7, the purchase closed and this beautiful apartment was finally ours. We moved in two days later.
Sitting here at the start of 2016, I still have to pinch myself every day. It all happened so fast, I think I’m almost in shock.
Now we just have to pay the mortgage…
Our Vancouver real estate A-team
I want to say thanks to the team of people who helped us achieve this crazy dream in such a short space of time – Michelle Byman, Linda Burchell and Trina Skare. We couldn’t have done it without them. If you’re looking at Vancouver real estate and you need a mortgage broker, realtor or home inspector, you can find their details below. We highly recommend them!
With a gem of a realtor like Linda, we had a stress-free experience
"There was a development that we really liked but the strata allowed one pet only (we have 2), the listing agent specified no pet restrictions on the listing so we fell in love with the property, but couldn't buy because of the restrictions. Linda was really great with this challenge, she explained all our options to manage this situation such as talking to the strata and explaining. In the end, Linda helped us find the perfect place for us and our kitties! Another challenging situation was that some properties were listed at too high compared to other properties that were the same. Linda was amazing at helping us negotiate a fair price.
We would rate our experience with Linda as A+ . Being first time homebuyers we were quite clueless, but she helped us manage every step of the way. I have always heard that buying a home was stressful, but with a gem of a realtor like Linda, we had a stress-free experience. We felt that we knew everything we needed to and there were no surprises. Thank you Linda!"
- Vanessa S. and Juan A.
Linda gave us superb, selfless service 24/7
"What I enjoyed most about working with Linda was simply working with her. She gave us superb, selfless service 24/7 and we have referred two people to her since our purchase in November 2016."
- Ann and Marshall
Thank you for all the care and attention you have given my little pack and I
"I just want to thank you from the bottom of my (our) heart(s) for all the care and attention you have given my little pack and I. If it wasn't for you we would still be trying to get boxes together for a showing! (so we could be ready). I admire your dedication and integrity and that you truly care for everyone's needs. You are truly special and I am so thankful we bumped into each other over the years. Hope for many' not accidental' bumps in the years ahead."
Wouldn't consider buying/selling real estate in Vancouver without her!!
"Linda has been our realtor for three real estate purchases and two sales, and my husband and I both agree that she is head and shoulders above the rest.
Linda brings a level of thoroughness and thoughtfulness throughout the process, where other realtors leave you to figure out the details, anticipate problems, and resolve confusion or issues. She's been there every step of the way -- even those times when we were just contemplating a change and didn't end up proceeding with anything -- and she doesn't just disappear after subjects are removed.
She is a fantastic and tireless advocate for her client's interests throughout the whole process. She has truly become a trusted advisor for us. Having had interactions with other realtors in our various transactions and seen how they work, we wouldn't consider buying/selling real estate in Vancouver without her!!"
I wholeheartedly recommend Linda Burchell to help you with your real estate needs
"I bought my first condo through Linda on a pre-sale in downtown Vancouver in 1998. She was very patient and helpful with all my ‘new homeowner’ questions, and referred me to a mortgage specialist; law firm to complete the sale; and made me aware of all the required real estate details that a first-time buyer needs to know.
- Terry H.
You're an asset and a treasure to the real state profession.
"We did not just meet a real state agent, we met a friend. Linda, you are helpful, gentle, understanding to our needs, accommodating, absolute expert in your field and you get back to our questions asap.
-Marcelle & Roger
Understood my needs as a buyer/seller.
"I have worked with Linda now for several years on both the purchasing and selling of real estate in the downtown Vancouver condo market. Her expertise has never failed me as she has guided the process with knowledge of the market, understanding my needs as a buyer/seller, while finessing all the numerous details of strata minutes, inspections and final contract negotiations.
She is a gem and a solid real estate agent who always had my best interests first and foremost in closing the deal. Honesty is her middle name and I have trusted her with some very tough negotiations and will do so again anytime I need to buy or sell property. I highly recommend her."
The whole sales process went so smooth, so fast.
"Linda, the wholes sales process went so smooth, so fast. You were so honest when we first met and you recommended waiting before listing. Your positive reactions to all situations put me at ease. I really appreciate your total input. I hope the young couple are happy there."
Thank God Linda is my realtor
"Every time I go into an open house and meet the open house realtor, I thank God that Linda is my realtor."
-Eunice and Sean
Simply one of the best!
"Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication. We found the perfect home for our family because of your perseverance and direction. In the middle of an injury and surgery (!) you still kept up with one hectic schedule of removing subjects - wow! Thank you so much! We hope you enjoy some much deserved rest in the next little while and have a nice dinner on us. We truly appreciate your professional + outstanding work.
We are really privileged to have you guide us through these tough decisions. Thanks again for your phenomenal work and we will definitely continue to recommend you to others as you are simply one of the best!"
-Tim, Azin & Kaveh
Great Enthusiasm and Perserverence
'Great enthusiasm and perserverence which both provided proof of your many years of experience. We greatly appreciate your tolerance, knowledge and patience. Thank you very much Linda."
- Carlie and Ben
You Made It Fun!
"Again I cannot thank you enough for helping me find my forever home!
Indeed meeting you at the corner was serendipitous. Your advice and professionalism was amazing, and you made it fun."
- Collen O.
I have recommended Linda many, many times.
"Her fantastic ability to find the best properties to look at on a tour - Linda made my real estate experience very easy and a pleasant experience - I have recommended Linda many, many times. She is excellent at what she does."
- Susan O.
We cannot thank you enough!
We can’t thank you enough for your guidance and your support during the sale of our condo. We love communication and you are the Queen of Communication! You kept us in the loop every step of the way and since we live in Thailand, that’s a really important aspect of having a real estate agent. We can’t just talk when a potential buyer comes to view the suite.
Thank you for being the best real estate realtor
Thank you for being the best real estate realtor! Your professionalism was outstanding throughout! You always went beyond your normal duties to solve some pressing problems which you encountered on my behalf. Time was of the essence and you met those challenges with calmness and efficiency.
I am grateful for the friendship you extended to me and I remain a friend wherever I may reside."
- Yours truly, C. Fuyin