Blog

  • Alpine by Beedie
    Surrounded by lush forest, Alpine is ten contemporary single-family homes in the Uplands community of the prestigious British Properties. Elevated multi-level private sanctuaries feature light-filled interiors and spacious terraces to take in stunning south-facing views of the ocean, city skyline and beyond. Alpine is an exclusive opportunity to live in design-driven two and three-storey residences conceived by award-winning architects BattersbyHowat. Surrounded by nature yet close to top schools, exceptional shopping and world-class recreation, Alpine is the peak of modern mountainside living.
  • 2022
    The barge is still chilling, though real estate hasn’t let up—as the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported last year’s sales as record-breaking. Home buying activity, albeit through a pandemic, has been resilient and remained a top priority for residents in the second year of nobody knows what’s going on. Home sales in the region totalled 43,999 in 2021, a 42.2% increase from the 30,944 sales in the year prior. A 73.6% increase over 2019. Staggering numbers, though it seems we are nearing an inflection point.
  • Happy Holidays
    In trying to make sense of current events, I tend to defer to stoic philosophy. Never has it been more important to focus only on what you can control. That has served me and everyone I’ve had the privilege of working with this year in spades. There is much to look forward to in 2022, and I hope it is a year in which you thrive. From my family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
  • Antidote to Chaos
    Sometimes we forget to stop and appreciate just how good we have it here on the West Coast. Some of the most beautiful real estate in the world. This house is located in the Quilchena subarea of Vancouver West. The discovery of homes such as this, is one aspect I love about the profession. Even moreso, working with people that find the same joy in the process.
  • Investor Boom
    A revealing report by Teranet suggests that investors now make up 25% of Ontario homebuyers. The number of mortgages taken out by investors doubled in the last year, as per the Central Bank. The “extrapolative” demand is being attributed to the expectation that prices will keep rising, a.k.a. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
  • Cooling Off
    The BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) intends to introduce a mandatory “cooling off” period for real estate services in 2022. The first Canadian jurisdiction to enact legislation for all residential real estate sales.
  • NFTs for Real Estate
    NFTs have been taking the world by storm, giving more power to content creators than ever before. NFTs use Blockchain technology to establish a verified and public proof of ownership—a way to represent anything unique as an Ethereum based asset. Naturally, this technology could solve many inefficiencies in real estate transactions, and ultimately provide more transparency.
  • The Nature of Real Estate Negotiation
    The Real Estate Negotiation Institute (RENI) is the first and leading negotiation training company in real estate in North America. Their flagship course is the Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE®) designation program. It is a culmination of knowledge and expertise from world renowned schools like Harvard and Oxford University in England. The Canadian RENI operation is spearheaded by Suze Cumming—director, facilitator, and founder of The Nature of Real Estate—with over three decades of experience in the real estate industry. Fascinated by human nature, she conveys that syncing with the nature of things is essential for high levels of success in all parts of our lives.
  • The Redevelopment of False Creek South
    One of the areas under consideration for redevelopment, is False Creek South—80% of which is owned by the City of Vancouver through its Property Endowment Fund, made up of co-op and non-market housing, leasehold stratas, and market rental homes. The remainder of the land is owned by other levels of government, the Squamish First Nation, or private owners. There hasn’t been any new construction of housing since False Creek South’s inception in the 1970s and 1980s. Much of the land was leased by the City via 60-year leases, and with most of the leases expiring in the next 15 to 25 years, existing residents are rightfully experiencing significant stress after more than a decade of meetings with the City as per Councillor Colleen Hardwick. Hardwick recently filed a motion regarding the future of False Creek South, requesting that the City immediately proceed with lease extensions and renewals for all strata and co-op leaseholds in the neighborhood respectively.
  • Buying Farmland in British Columbia’s ALR
    The ALR is a “provincial land-use zone where agriculture is the priority use.” The reserve comprises 5% of BC’s total land base, and is the area with the greatest agricultural capacity. When buying property in the ALR, along with a home inspection, it’s recommended to get a well test, septic test, soil and tissue sample. A plant tissue analysis is used to detect low nutrient levels in plants before they are seen by the human eye. The test results are an indicator of plant nutritional health and a basis for diagnosing whether existing problems are nutritional in nature. There are a number of different uses for land in the ALR, which shows why such a high value is placed on properties within this zone. The possibilities for experimenting with new types of business are plenty. If the land is in the ALR, land uses are restricted and agriculture is the priority use, as stated in the Agriculture Land Commission Act and the Agriculture Land Reserve Regulations.
  • Vancouver’s Growth Since the 70’s
    Pictured above is an aerial view of Downtown Vancouver and West End in the 1970’s, facing south, with Burrard Street and Granville Street bridges, and law courts under construction. What’s striking is not only how the density has significantly increased over the years, but the amount of greenery that has been added in neighborhoods like the West End—part of the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. The city’s green buildings goal and targets require all buildings constructed from 2020 onward to be carbon neutral in operations—implementing the greenest building code in North America. As of July 2010, all new building rezonings in Vancouver are required to meet the building industry’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standard for environmental performance. One of the more notable financing tools and incentives to green existing buildings, is the development of the Home Energy Loan Program, which provides homeowners with affordable financing for energy efficiency upgrades. The money saved on energy bills can significantly offset your loan payments.
  • City of the Future
    The utopian city—named after the Greek word telos, meaning “higher purpose”—has a target population of 5 million people by 2050, supported by a reformed version of capitalism. The economics of how it all works is called Equitism, described as “inclusive growth”. This would enable its residents to participate in the decision-making and budgeting process. The type of land ownership would be based on Georgist principles, where anyone would be licensed to build, keep or sell a home, but the city retains ultimate ownership of the land. It’s akin to leasehold land in False Creek, or the University Endowment Lands—an unincorporated area that lies to the west of the city of Vancouver which has no mayor or municipal government. While it may seem farfetched, Lor selected famous Danish architect Bjark Ingels to design the metropolis, adding further credence to the project.
  • The Park Theatre in Cambie Village
    I had the pleasure of going to a theatre again over the weekend—the first time since Covid hit. Park Theatre is one of Vancouver’s oldest, which opened in 1941, and passed through multiple owners since being acquired by Cineplex Entertainment. What I loved is how they managed to preserve the charm of movie night. Still somewhat a hole in the wall, but surprisingly well-maintained through a $300,000 renovation made by its previous owner. It features an 18 x 36 foot screen, and a small concession stand that will transport you back to the golden age of cinemas. Park Theatre is a landmark in Cambie Village, also known as the “Heart of Vancouver”, in one of the city’s primary heritage boulevards. It’s connected to main transit lines, including the 99 B-Line and the Canada Line Skytrain. You feel a real sense of community in Cambie, with places for residents to live, work, shop, and play. The city’s Cambie Corridor Plan provides a framework to guide change and growth over the next 30 years, with plans to add over 30,000 new homes to double the population.
  • Fifteen Fifteen at 1515 Alberni Street
    Coming soon to the coveted Coal Harbour neighborhood is a visually striking development offering a new paradigm of living. Fifteen Fifteen is located just across the street from another up-and-coming architectural masterpiece, Alberni by Kengo Kuma. Designed by globally renowned architect, Ole Scheeren, Fifteen Fifteen is characterized by glass-enclosed cantilevers reaching out towards the Harbour, North Shore mountains, and city, drawing the natural setting into the privacy of personal space.
  • JOYCE in Collingwood
    I had a chance to check out one of Westbank Corp’s latest developments, JOYCE, at their exclusive one weekend opening celebration. Located in Vancouver’s Collingwood neighborhood, JOYCE brings a high degree of artistry and beauty to one of the city’s most multicultural communities. The expansive views of Vancouver’s skyline, West Vancouver, and the North Shore Mountains from the rooftop garden are incredible. The development is transit-oriented, conveniently located next to the Joyce-Collingwood Skytrain Station. It’s surrounded by several lakes, schools, and parks such as the 222-acre Central Park.
  • eXp Shareholder Summit Takeaways
    eXp World Holdings, Inc. capped off its 2021 shareholder summit in the EXPI Campus, with world-renowned speakers from all walks of life sharing their journeys to success. The list included names like Grant Cardone, John Salley, Jamie Kern Lima, and Tim Storey. Even The Magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff was in the house to play tunes for a COVID safe avatar dance party. What resonated most with me was the common thread found in every major success story. It always comes down to hard-work, discipline, routine, and consistency. Daily dedication to achieving what it is you set out to do, without compromise. These are some of my favorite moments from the summit.
  • Urban Fringe Communities: Marpole
    Marpole is one of Vancouver’s oldest communities, split up into four sub-areas of Granville, Hudson, Oak, and Cambie. It’s a bustling gateway from the south that visitors first encounter via the international airport (YVR). The neighborhood has an eclectic mix of shopping, entertainment, and housing in the form of apartment buildings under 5 storeys (50.1%), newer mixed-use buildings up to 12 storeys (9.1%), single-family (20%), and detached duplex (11.7%) according to 2016 census data.
  • The Virtual World of eXp Realty
    eXp Realty, The Real Estate Cloud Brokerage, is one of the fastest-growing global residential real estate companies, and the largest by geography in North America. The international LLC was founded in 2009 by Glenn Sanford, and is a subsidiary of eXp World Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPI) which currently has a market cap well over $7.4…
  • How to Route Emails with Action Mailbox
    Action Mailbox is a feature introduced in Rails 6 that enables you to route incoming emails to controller-like mailboxes. It opens up interesting use cases for how you can deal with inbound email in your own application.
  • Winter at Beaver Lake
    The Beaver symbolizes good work ethic and determination, with a strong sense of family values. The Beaver has a great understanding of nature and working in harmony with his surroundings, he is very industrious working towards goals and gaining a sense of achievement. – Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
  • Managing Subscriptions with Stripe Checkout
    Software as a service (SaaS) nowadays makes it easy to integrate e-commerce solutions into your application, and nothing comes close to the capabilities of Stripe. Founded in 2010 by Patrick and John Collison, Stripe has democratized online payment processing for internet businesses around the world—handling financial infrastructure for some of the largest companies like Amazon,…
  • Victory Square
    “You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.“ – Winston S. Churchill Once grounds for the provincial courthouse—Government Square was renamed to…
  • Sea to Sky
    “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” – Socrates The scene in the photo above gives me great solace, with all the uncertainty in the world right now. I captured the shot on a recent trip to Squamish—one of my favorite places…
  • Digitization of Mortgage
    mort-gage(old french)noun 1. Death Pledge CMHC released a publication on Mortgage Data Standards–analyzing the impact of initiating a system of data standards in the Canadian mortgage industry. One aspect of the data standards framework I’m paying close attention to is what the acceleration of digitization means to the future of mortages. The overarching premise is…
  • Opendoor
    From laying off 35% of its employees in April, to becoming a publicly traded company valued at $4.8 billion via merger with Social Capital Hedosophia in September, Opendoor has been the talk of the tech world as they reinvent how people buy and sell homes. Opendoor’s co-founder, Ian Wong, spoke about the company’s meteoric rise…
  • Shaping the Future of Proptech with GIS
    “A framework to organize, communicate, and understand the science of our world.” – Esri Global real estate is an asset class more valuable than all stocks, shares, and securitized debt combined, at $228+ trillion. There are remarkable technologies pushing the boundaries of the industry’s evolutionary curve—Internet of Things, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing, drones—yet…
  • Transferring Data in Postgres
    “We believe that databases need to excel at more than simple selects to be useful for complex tasks, and our positive experiences with PostgreSQL has done nothing but reinforce that philosophy.” – David McNett Migrating data hardly ever comes without headaches and the odd “oh shit” moments, but after getting the hang of it, you…
  • SaaS + Fintech
    “Once one software solution demonstrates it is valuable, the customer base will consolidate around that company for all its software needs.” – a16z a16z released an article on how SaaS businesses can scale to new vertical markets by directly embedding financial products into their software. Founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz (author of What…
  • Outsourcing Design
    Good designers are hard to come by––it can be a costly process to find the right candidate, and you may end up paying for work you aren’t satisfied with. Now that we basically all live on the internet, meeting in-person with design teams to hammer out a design brief no longer seems like an appropriate…
  • Journey to Nowhere
    “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” –…
  • Streaming Real Estate Data
    Big data in real estate is a prime use case for real-time stream processing—a programming paradigm that allows us to instantaneously respond to data as it arrives. It is the antithesis to batch processing, whereby all data is loaded into memory before it is delivered and processed. The real estate profession is truly a matter…
  • JWT Authentication
    Implementing authentication for third-party access is no small feat, but is imperative in order to compete in a complex API economy and expand business capabilities. With every application, securing protected resources always poses a unique challenge, particularly considering how rapidly technology evolves. New solutions come along and customers expect a level of consistency across apps,…
  • Multiple Databases with Rails 6 and RDS
    Rails 6 shipped with the ability to use multiple databases in one application, making automatic connection switching as simple as adding a connects_to method in the respective class. To go a step further, we’ll set up an Amazon RDS instance, which benefits team members by providing consistent access to the same database—which could contain a…
  • IRAP Funding
    Launch Academy presented a webinar on everything you need to know about the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)—a cross-Canada network of 255 industrial technology advisors, with $300 million in support for more than 3,000 development projects annually. Having gone through the process myself, it was a good refresher on how to acquire financial support for…
  • AWS Lambda Functions for Python and Ruby
    I love to program in Ruby as well as Python, and AWS Lambda functions provide the perfect solution to combine both language’s capabilities without additional server configuration. The aws-sdk-lambda library makes serverless computing workflow dead simple, by providing a gateway that connects to a Lambda function that will run Python code and return the results…
  • Background Processing with RETS and Sidekiq
    Managing large quantities of real estate data is computationally intensive, and well-suited for background processing. The task involves importing thousands of MLS® listings into a Redis in-memory data structure store, using an open government API for geocoding, and association with other models, therefore a lot can go wrong, and it’s important to isolate these functions…
  • Python for Real Estate
    “Maintainable code is more important than clever code.” – Guido van Rossum, creator of Python During this lockdown, I’ve been spending time taking online courses, specifically in the areas of Data Science, Machine Learning, and Python. My go-to platform right now is Coursera—I managed to complete three university-grade courses within a week for free. As…
  • One Day at a Time
    “Just keep in mind: the more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.” – Epictetus The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) opened today—a government program that provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks as temporary income for Canadians affected by COVID-19. In a wise move to prevent system overload,…
  • Staying Focused Amidst a Pandemic
    “Think of the life you have lived until now as over and, as a dead man, see what’s left as a bonus and live it according to Nature. Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting?” – Marcus Aurelius
  • HEY
    The creators of Basecamp are set to release what promises to be a delightful new email service, called HEY: It’s a redo, a rethink, a simplified, potent reintroduction of email. A fresh start, the way it should be. HEY is our love letter to email, and we’re sending it to you. Coming April 2020 to…
  • 75Hard
    Today begins “Phase 3” of Andy Frisella’s 75Hard—a mental toughness program that spans a year, consisting of a daily regimen, and a tactical guide to winning the war with yourself. The tasks are simple when taken at face value, but it’s the intent and consistency you put into it, which ultimately determines what you get…
  • Year of the Rat
    Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. – Marcus Aurelius Year of the Rat The Lunar New Year took place on January 25, 2020, and marked the beginning of the Year of the Rat; first of all zodiac animals in the 12-year cycle.…
  • Ruby 2.7.0
    As per tradition, a new version of Ruby was released on Christmas Day. Out of the 4,190 file changes since 2.6.0, Ruby 2.7.0 introduces some notable improvements.
  • Colliers PropTech Accelerator
    “Data is the new oil.” – Debbie Gamble Powered by Techstars, and based in Toronto, the Colliers PropTech accelerator had its 2019 demo day showcasing a number of up-and-coming companies attempting to modernize the $200+ trillion asset class. There were products in multiple categories that leverage the capabilities of today’s technology; Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence,…
  • Jekyll
    When it comes to blogging platforms, WordPress is hard to beat, claiming to power over 35% of websites, and recently announcing a $300 million Series D from Salesforce. Alternatively, Static Site Generators like Jekyll and GatsbyJS are becoming more prevalent, as they are less opinionated and more developer-friendly. They offer greater customization, simplicity, and ease of deployment with free…
  • Dubai’s Iconic Skyline
    Returning to one of my favorite cities after a number of years, it was incredible to see how rapidly Dubai has evolved into one of the most iconic destinations in the world, with its innovative neo-futurism architecture, and the ‘biggest’ and ‘best’ of everything.
  • Green Roofs
    Pictured above is the green roof on the Trump International Hotel and Tower Vancouver. It appears no detail has been overlooked, which is to be expected when the market value of its residential units is $1,600+/sqft. Providing a view of something more aesthetically pleasing than your typical tar and gravel roof, living rooftops also have many functional…
  • Shanghai Sprawl
    I was going through some old photos, and found this one taken from atop the Oriental Pearl Tower when I first visited Shanghai circa 2013. I’m still in awe at how many people inhabit the city, somewhere north of 24 million, one of the most populous in the world.
  • Fujifilm
    “Photography is a love affair with life.” – Burk Uzzle There is something about the image quality of Fujifilm’s new X100F that turns even the mundane into art. Having upgraded from the standard Canon DSLR, I wanted something more portable yet loaded with features, and the X100F doesn’t disappoint.
  • Airbnb Regulations
    A recent meetup brought together Vancouver’s Airbnb community, hosted by Aaron Zifkin (Regional Director – Americas Operations) and Alex Dagg (Public Policy Manager, Canada). The event was geared toward shedding some light on where the regulations stand when it comes to listing your place on the company’s website, which currently has more than 2 million listings…