(Just a side note but I am writing this on a gorgeous sunny afternoon in a parking lot overlooking the ocean while my son sleeps in the back of our car – what bliss, it is like my own ocean front hang out!)

Two weeks ago I had a Bucket List Moment. Now I don't have a Bucket List so really what I am saying is I was doing something really cool I always wanted to do. And it turns out I am pretty pleased I got to do it at least once in this life.

I was standing beside my husband at a Canucks hockey game (Canucks vs Nashville Predators Game 5) waving a white towel and screaming my lungs out, and I had this realization that I had wanted to do this for a long time. I have wanted to be in the arena waving a white towel pretty much from the second I saw the crowd doing this on tv for the first time at a Canucks Game in 1982. Roger Neilson, then Coach of the Canucks, started the tradition by waving a white towel on a hockey stick in mock surrender, protesting over the calls the refs were making. So yes, the towel waving thing that everyone seems to do now (but not very well Nashville! Really? Orange towels, get with the program!), was started by the Canucks.

I absolutely loved the game even though the Canucks lost. They won the series in the next game, but it would have been nice for a win while we were there. The whole atmosphere and friendliness of the crowd was over the top, and not something I experience regularly. My husband, as a die hard Canucks fan, was in absolute heaven to be there, and I was thrilled to be with him. We sloshed our beers about, ate over-price food, lept to our feet at every goal and chanted Go Canucks Go as loud as we could.

Semi-final tickets were not cheap. I got them on Ebay for less than the official NHL resale site. But everyone asks, how much were the tickets? Guess what? Expensive. The overnight trip was expensive but I am not going to ruin the moment by telling you how much on this post.

Joy comes in unexpected places I tell ya, and when it is something that is a treat, something I will remember for the rest of my life, something unexpectedly momentus for myself and my relationship with my sweetheart, it is priceless.


I have decided to take up blogging about personal finances again, mostly about the debt we are still in. If you care to join me you can go over to B is for Debt.

grief is a sneaky thing

Grief is a sneaky thing. I think  I am ok and then it taps me on the shoulder in the middle of going about my life, and I am helpless to do anything but feel. Mahone died six days ago. I hated having to make that call but he was so sick. He wasn't my buddy anymore. I thought I had started the grieving process, but really you can't when someone is there, you can only buffer yourself in order to be able to make the decision you need to. I have a cold empty spot in my stomach that just aches for my good buddy dog. That dog drove me nuts at least once a day but he was so full of life and energy that I too couldn't help being better off because of it. If he was here he would be by my side because I am crying so much. He was always there. We had some tough times he and I, and there are things I wish I could have done better for him - trained him better, paid more attention to him, brushed him more often, took him more walks. When I told Dad last week I was going to have to put Mahone down he kept saying "It's for the best, he is just a dog" all the while crying right along with me. You know in your head that dogs have a short life span, but there is grief just the same.
And because he was a dog I feel I should be able to move on, but there you go, in the middle of a sunny, kid filled, energy filled day I was struck down with sadness so powerful I can do nothing but cry. It sucks.

Your Team

Canadian Mortgage Trends had a post about what they would look for in a mortgage broker; excellent resource! I have been looking for a mortgage broker here in BC over the past month or so. I had found 2 great brokers in Ontario who had preapproved us, but wanted someone closer to home that knows the BC market. I started with someone at Dominion Lending Centres because they recently had one an award as mortgage broker of the year.

The person I talked to initially seemed very competent but lost my confidence on a few simple accounts over a few weeks: she didn't phone me to tell me that, based on our numbers, she thought could qualify for a mortgage; she didn't return my calls (after 6 days I called her and she didn't apologize); and finally, she had me doing her job. For this last point she had me calling appraisers to find out how they would appraise a refinance 30 days after purchase.

Yesterday I decided I needed someone better and called a woman from Mortgage Centre in Vancouver who has a great web presence. I had bookmarked her blog simply because of the volume of good information it contained on investment property mortgages. She was very personable, returned my call immediately, talked with me about all my options, and had an online mortgage application that was very to use. She crunched the numbers and emailed me with an answer last night at 11 so I knew as soon as I woke up that our numbers looked good.

Real estate investors talk about the importance of team, and I am always stunned how much of a difference an excellent team member can make compared to someone who isn't. A good team member can find deals or products that exceed expectations, and, as we get closer to a purchase, allow us to meet our goals for this purchase.

Howdy all. Decided to stroll back over here for awhile. Although have to say am liking the conciseness of Facebook, there seems to be a lot of people who just shoot out random sentences into cyberspace.

From today forward I am done talking about debt and am here to talk about my adventures in real estate investing. I have always been interested in this topic but have been getting serious about it for the past 6 months.

We currently have enough downpayment to purchase a property for up to $160,000. Tough market to buy into on the island here in BC where house prices tend to start at $200,000. Condos are possible, as are, as I found out today, mobile homes, but we really feel more comfortable with our knowledge of houses.

And that is why my brain is full. I have a tendency to jump around looking for deals. I do a lot of web surfing and quite often find that the deals online are really not deals at all when seen in person. I also still tend to jump around looking for different types of property: duplexes, mobile homes (this week as I said), triplexes etc.

I am doing a lot of learning though, and experts seem to agree that one reason people start to learn about real estate investment and never apply their knowledge is their fear. This is true with me in part, I have pulled out of one or two deals simply out of fear recently. However, lately it is indecision and lack of focus that is slowing me down. I am searching for the perfect deal and quickly lose interest if I don't find my high cash flow, high equity property.

So I hope doing some writing might serve to focus my thoughts and efforts. We currently have an excellent realtor in a small town on the island. This town has really gone through some hard times. But the real estate market had hit an upswing, followed by a drop and currently a stall because of the global and local economy. It is affordable, but we have confidence that things will continue to improve since the town is diversifying and there are strong signs of an improving economy: new shops being built, new WalMart, new housing developments, houses being fixed up.

One key for us was that we needed to be able to invest in a town we could easily visit. One course I took really tried to push the students to invest across the country, but this only added to my sense of fear every time I came close to purchasing a place. It is tough to do, and I feel more confidence when I can walk through with my realtor.

On Saturday we are going up island again to view some properties, including one our realtor says is a good find because the place is almost in foreclosure and is in decent shape. We may get it for a good deal.

Hope so! Need something to keep me focused :)

Recent financial posts

Where am I?

I have decided to take a break from this blog and return to my more personal blog here:

Here you will find me posting on a wider variety of topics, including finance. Some of my thoughts will also be on motherhood, academia, self-employment, craft endeavours (this was originally my craft blog), and other personal happenings.

So come on over, I hope you can update your subscriptions and still peek in on my life once awhile. Having a personal finance blog has been fun, but limiting enough right now that I am not blogging. So to keep the motivation up, and to document a broader spectrum of my life, I am making the switch for now.

It has been great to meet you all, and I know I will keep following PF blogs in my internet readings. See you at the new site!

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