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Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

Old Jul 14th 2010, 6:16 pm
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Default Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

Hello there!

So after some advice on what to do / look for on a reccy trip to both Vancouver and Calgary. The trip is booked for late September / early October (bargain canadianaffair tickets!!) we dont have that much time off work unfortunately, so its a two week affair with plans for 1 week in both. We have been to Calgary before but only for a couple of days and never been in Vancouver, so its going to be fairly busy!

The idea is for us to see what city we like the most, including suburbs, people etc. Cost and job stuff obviously come into it as well.

Current thoughts are:

1. Try and hire a tour guide of some description for a day, not to tell us anything about history etc but to just show us high and low lights off the place, see good areas to live maybe and give us a general feel of the city

2. Visit a few "realtors" to get info on renting (more important) and buying

3. Visit a few job agencies to see what they have to offer, get advice on the current job market etc.

4. Maybe volunteer for a day? not even sure thats possible just thought it would give us an opportunity to talk to some locals

Anybody got any good suggestions or things that they did which were particularly useful in these kind of trips? or things they wish they did?

Were going to be driving between Vancouver and Calgary so stop off points are also of interested but to be honest I think were more likely going to end up close to one of these two cities.

Any info greatly appreciated

Cheers!

Andy
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Old Jul 14th 2010, 6:18 pm
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Default Re: Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

My experience with realtors is that they couldn't give a crap unless you are seriously interested in buying in the near future, although they might be a bit more desperate nowadays.

My suggestion would be to simply have a look around some of the neighbourhoods, most of the new construction is in the SE down around 22X and in the NW of the city.
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Old Jul 14th 2010, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

Originally Posted by fasea View Post
Hello there!



1. Try and hire a tour guide of some description for a day, not to tell us anything about history etc but to just show us high and low lights off the place, see good areas to live maybe and give us a general feel of the city

2. Visit a few "realtors" to get info on renting (more important) and buying

3. Visit a few job agencies to see what they have to offer, get advice on the current job market etc.

4. Maybe volunteer for a day? not even sure thats possible just thought it would give us an opportunity to talk to some locals

Anybody got any good suggestions or things that they did which were particularly useful in these kind of trips? or things they wish they did?

Were going to be driving between Vancouver and Calgary so stop off points are also of interested but to be honest I think were more likely going to end up close to one of these two cities.

Any info greatly appreciated

Cheers!

Andy
You are driving between the 2 cities too? Wow. Busy trip. So you're going to lose at least a day doing that. Stop offs I have no idea, I'm sure someone will come along soon to say.

My advice is to get out and walk around as much as possible - it's hard to really get a feel for a place just from a car. Take transit. (I'm talking about Vancouver here). Do you know your budget for renting/buying? That will probably help you decide where you're going to end up buying. www.mls.ca

The worst area of Van is the Downtown Eastside. Everyone knows about it. It's also a major transit/traffic route so hard to miss. It's highly unlikely anyone would tell you to buy/rent there. Good areas to live - really depends what you're looking for, what your budget is etc.
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Old Jul 14th 2010, 7:09 pm
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Default Re: Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

Originally Posted by fasea View Post
1. Try and hire a tour guide of some description for a day, not to tell us anything about history etc but to just show us high and low lights off the place, see good areas to live maybe and give us a general feel of the city

I don't think this is a great idea. Get a good guide book. If you ask an individuals opinion all you are getting is one person's opinion. You can see on here how different people have widely different opinions about apparently non controversial things. Just because person X thinks an area is good doesn't mean you won't hate it.

Let us know what you want in a home and what you can afford and we'll tell you the best places to go and look to find it.


2. Visit a few "realtors" to get info on renting (more important) and buying

Find an area you want to move to first. The value of a realtor is their local knowledge. Also, as steve_ said above, some realtors will lose interest quickly if they do not see a commission in the offing. Others can be much more helpful. Few realtors deal with rentals. Craig's list is the best source to find out what is available at an what price. Completely agree that renting for a year is a very good idea.


3. Visit a few job agencies to see what they have to offer, get advice on the current job market etc.

Agree.

4. Maybe volunteer for a day? not even sure thats possible just thought it would give us an opportunity to talk to some locals

I don't think this a starter. Go to a coffee shop, hang out on the beach/in the park. It is not difficult to end up in a conversation. Vancouverites tend to be very proud of their city and many will be pleased to tell you about it.

Anybody got any good suggestions or things that they did which were particularly useful in these kind of trips? or things they wish they did?

New developments have show homes open most days of the week. Open houses for second hand homes tend to be between 2-4pm on the weekends. It is a good way to see neighborhoods and the types of homes on offer.



Were going to be driving between Vancouver and Calgary so stop off points are also of interested but to be honest I think were more likely going to end up close to one of these two cities.

It is a full day drive (10-11 hours non stop) from Vancouver to Calgary. No time for sightseeing.


Any info greatly appreciated

Cheers!

Andy
.
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Old Jul 14th 2010, 8:29 pm
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Default Re: Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

Originally Posted by fasea View Post
Hello there!

So after some advice on what to do / look for on a reccy trip to both Vancouver and Calgary. The trip is booked for late September / early October (bargain canadianaffair tickets!!) we dont have that much time off work unfortunately, so its a two week affair with plans for 1 week in both. We have been to Calgary before but only for a couple of days and never been in Vancouver, so its going to be fairly busy!

The idea is for us to see what city we like the most, including suburbs, people etc. Cost and job stuff obviously come into it as well.

Current thoughts are:

1. Try and hire a tour guide of some description for a day, not to tell us anything about history etc but to just show us high and low lights off the place, see good areas to live maybe and give us a general feel of the city

2. Visit a few "realtors" to get info on renting (more important) and buying

3. Visit a few job agencies to see what they have to offer, get advice on the current job market etc.

4. Maybe volunteer for a day? not even sure thats possible just thought it would give us an opportunity to talk to some locals

Anybody got any good suggestions or things that they did which were particularly useful in these kind of trips? or things they wish they did?

Were going to be driving between Vancouver and Calgary so stop off points are also of interested but to be honest I think were more likely going to end up close to one of these two cities.

Just a warning with hiring a car (if you have not done so already) The oneway drop off fees are likely to be very high considering you are taking the car out of Province.
Any info greatly appreciated

Cheers!

Andy
A good suggestion was made about popping into show homes. It's a great way to find out the different styles of homes available. I would also ask about what upgrades have been put into the homes and the total costs of them.

Another place to look for rental properties in Calgary is rentfaster.ca

Although this is a reccy, try to do some sightseeing. Once you live here, life tends to get in the way of tourist stuff


At the end of the day, no-one can influence you on where is best for you. Just get out and about as much as you can to get a feel for each place.

Hope you have a successful trip.
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Old Jul 14th 2010, 9:22 pm
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Default Re: Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

Thanks for the advice.

In terms of what were looking for in a home. Nothing major in terms of size, 2 bed preferably. Got two cats and a plan for a dog when we get there, so close to a park, but near the city center?

A flat or condo will do us fine, a small house maybe. I think location is probably more important to us to be honest.

Money wise? I guess around $1200 - $1300 or so a month? we have paid £850 a month here so I guess thats the equiv.

Buying is probably a way away yet, so not so bothered on house prices...

Ta

Andy
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Old Jul 14th 2010, 9:37 pm
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Default Re: Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

Hello

Hope you have a good trip, just got back from BC myself.

In a previous tourist trip I have done the Vancouver to Kelowna hop by flying (having family there), then we all set off later from Kelowna, staying in Golden en route to Banff. Banff being only a couple of hrs from Calgary if I recall (my driving, so could be wrong).

On the new devpts this time, I saw a few showhomes myself but one thing to be aware of (I was new to this so may have the details wrong), new homes have a tax to pay that 'pre-loved' ones don't. @12% it is significant. ( I think, a google of HST for new homes might help confirm).

Also, I found diff developers had diff price exclusions - unfinished basements, only roughed in for CA, lots of 'extras' not included inc. fires etc.

I browse this site regulary:http://www.realtor.ca/index.aspx?cul=1

Hope this helps a little.
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Old Jul 14th 2010, 10:01 pm
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Default Re: Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

Originally Posted by fasea View Post
Thanks for the advice.

In terms of what were looking for in a home. Nothing major in terms of size, 2 bed preferably. Got two cats and a plan for a dog when we get there, so close to a park, but near the city center?

A flat or condo will do us fine, a small house maybe. I think location is probably more important to us to be honest.

Money wise? I guess around $1200 - $1300 or so a month? we have paid £850 a month here so I guess thats the equiv.

Buying is probably a way away yet, so not so bothered on house prices...

Ta

Andy
You should be able to get an apartment in the West End for that sort of money, though 2 beds might be pushing it.

The West End is very central - between the downtown business district and Stanley Park. It is a great place to live. It is convenient for just about everything and you could get some great views.

The pets might be a problem though. Quite a lot of rental units do not allow pets. Try searching Craig's List http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/apa/ and check the box for cats.

I just checked this now and there is a one bed in the West End that has been posted today and also a one bed + den at 10th and Hemlock (also a good area). So it is not impossible.
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Old Jul 14th 2010, 10:04 pm
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Default Re: Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

Originally Posted by JonboyE View Post
You should be able to get an apartment in the West End for that sort of money, though 2 beds might be pushing it.

The West End is very central - between the downtown business district and Stanley Park. It is a great place to live. It is convenient for just about everything and you could get some great views.

The pets might be a problem though. Quite a lot of rental units do not allow pets. Try searching Craig's List http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/apa/ and check the box for cats.

I just checked this now and there is a one bed in the West End that has been posted today and also a one bed + den at 10th and Hemlock (also a good area). So it is not impossible.
I reckon all Vancouver newbies should stay in the west end, at least for a little while.
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Old Jul 14th 2010, 10:15 pm
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Default Re: Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

Originally Posted by Alan2005 View Post
I reckon all Vancouver newbies should stay in the west end, at least for a little while.
That's what we did. No regrets. I love the West End.
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Old Jul 15th 2010, 3:05 am
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Default Re: Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

Hi
We did a very similar recce trip to the one you're planning when we came out in 2005, starting in Vancouver, and travelling to Calgary, then back to Van again.

We decided to make 2 night stops between the 2 cities, just for a slower pace and so that we could take in a few attractions en route, as we had 2 relatively young kids with us who couldn't take the hours of driving.

We stopped off in Kamloops and Golden on the way to Calgary, and Revelstoke and Kamloops on the way home. We booked ahead by a couple of weeks with most of our overnight stops as we were travelling in mid summer, and stayed in Travelodges, which were cheap and absolutely fine.

While we were in Calgary for a week, we were shown some example homes by our future realtor, which really helped us get a feel for what we could afford. Our realtor ran a relocation company so was happy to show us around, and we had been in contact with him for several months before our trip, so we had already established a working relationship with him.

Despite what many on this forum will say, there are many decent realtors who are happy to do this and not all realtors are in it just for the sale but are happy to impart knowledge and advice about the local property market when they can. ( I'm actually married to one now!) Maybe one day those clients may return and use that realtor's services, maybe not, but that's all part of the job and happens all the time.

There are some great places to visit on the road between Vancouver and Calgary, not to mention fantastic scenery, and the accommodation doesn't have to cost the earth either. We loved 'Hell's Gate airtram' - touristy but spectacular, and the towns up around Schuswap Lake are interesting and worth a stop too. There's Rogers Pass which is spectacular too. Our only regret is that we didn't do a stopover in Kelowna, which is definitely worth a detour. I'm sure others will be along to point out other places of interest too.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old Jul 15th 2010, 3:50 am
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Default Re: Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

We're doing a similar trip in early Sept, but we're also checking out Edmonton! I lived in Canada for 18 months 5 years ago, the drive from Vancouver is nice ... but long! If you have time I would suggest

Vancouver - Kamloops (4 hours) - not much here, but unless you want to do an 8 hour trip straight to Jasper, it's the midway point!

Kamloops - Jasper (4 hours) - stay at the Jasper Park Lodge if you can afford, or Maligne Lodge as a 2nd option

Jasper - Banff (3 hours)

Banff - Calgary (1 hour)

Good luck with your trip, there are some vacation rentals in vancouver and calgary if you prefer them over hotel rooms!

Have fun!!!!
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Old Jul 15th 2010, 4:34 pm
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Default Re: Reccy to Vancouver and Calgary

My personal opinion of Edmonton is that it's nicer than Calgary because there is more foliage and it just generally looks better, plus it's a conurbation rather than a monolithic entity like Calgary. BUT - it's bloody cold. I went up there on Victoria Day most recently and it was 5 C with sleet whereas the weather in Calgary was pretty good. During a bad winter in Calgary it can be pretty wearing, the thought of living somewhere that is even colder would have me swinging from a lamp post. Air links from Edmonton are also not as good as from Calgary. And you can get away without a block heater in Calgary, I'm pretty sure you'd need one in Edmonton.

Personally I think the best place to live in Alberta (without being a poser who lives in the moutains) outside of the greater Calgary area (Okotoks and Cochrane are really nice) is Lethbridge. But everyone else thinks the same so there is a housing shortage down there at the moment.
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