#14: Chris Di Fazio | Vancouver Condo Team of Oakwyn Realty

with Matt Parker

Chris brings with him 10+ years in the sales service industry.

He has worked with Moosehead Breweries, Beam Suntory, SAP and The Yacht Week before turning his focus to his true passion of real estate.

Chris’ proven buying/selling formula is customized to reflect the needs of every client. Whether you are a first-time buyer, investor or young family Chris’ strategies are proven to find you the right property in this very competitive Vancouver market.

Chris also speaks fluent Italian and French.

Chris Di Fazio
(778) 919-9355
chris@vancouvercondoteam.com

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Episode Transcript:

Matthew Parker 0:04

Hey, Matt Parker here. Very excited. Thank you so much sitting down with Chris de Fazio thank you for being here, Chris.

Chris Di Fazio 0:12

Thanks, Matt. Thanks for having me on.

Matthew Parker 0:14

little intro for Chris. Chris is the CO owner of the Vancouver condo team. And they also have a very popular website Vancouver presale calm and they're with Oakland Realty. So he's a he's a wonderful resource, and we're going to get a lot of great information today. So Chris, let's just jump right into it. I like to start off more of a fun question. What's one thing that not many people would know about you?

Chris Di Fazio 0:45

In my previous life, I was probably or hope or think I was a martial artist. So I try to

Matthew Parker 0:53

Yeah,

Chris Di Fazio 0:55

I enjoy it as a practice and I do it on my own or do it when the gyms are over. But in a previous life, I must have really been in that bad zone. So

Matthew Parker 1:09

don't so that's funny. Because I know I know, especially with my wife, I go I'm a hockey player. She goes, when was the last time you played actual hockey? It's a good point. That's a good point. I'm not a hockey player. I played what was the what what martial art was it?

Chris Di Fazio 1:33

I enjoy kickboxing? So? That's okay, I met the thing I enjoy but yeah, just just the it's a cool, I guess it's a good test of yourself and physical situations that make everything else a little bit more simple. Right. So when you're training and kind of taking yourself to that, that that beyond what you thought you were able to do then it makes doing real estate or other aspects of life. A little

Matthew Parker 2:02

Yeah, no thanks for sharing very cool. So that that kind of gets us into the real estate side of things. What got you interested or started in real estate as a professional as a career?

Chris Di Fazio 2:15

Yeah, for sure. Um, I think two things. One, my I'm from Toronto, you know, not born and raised. I was born in Montreal and my family moved to Toronto and then move while we are in Toronto in my kind of early 20s and late 20s basically drove my 20s we bought, my mom helped me buy my first place and I was petrified with the process and didn't know what you know, I was kind of following her lead and we bought a one bedroom condo for I think, $283,000 back in 20. I don't even remember the timeframe maybe like, eight, nine years ago. So kind of going through that process. I got, you know, interested piqued my interest, a little bit on the transaction and negotiation and it was kind of a thrill. Then obviously getting my first place like okay, that seemed pretty fun. And we did well on that as well. But then I took a course in sustainable building I was selling I think I was selling software at the time and I was just looking to do something a little bit different and a little bit more hands on in front of people rather than just inside sales. And I took a 10 week course on sustainable building and really enjoyed it and figured Okay, well how do I, what what skill set Do I have that I can I can dovetail it into maybe your career and share some of these things, some of this knowledge that I've just learned so so I started that and then in the meantime, we moved to Vancouver, and I was doing all I did all my courses and in Ontario, so I finished all my other courses came here, got a job for a year and then jump kind of two feet in got the push from the folks that opened realty just to do it full time. That was about six years ago.

Matthew Parker 3:53

Oh, cool. Yeah, I always find it interesting how everyone gets into sort of either the mortgage world or The real estate world because for me, I grew up around it. So it was very, it just made sense. So it was an easy transition. But I find it fascinating anyone that chooses on their own to jump into just that, that, you know, on your own into the deep end kind of situation. So congratulations

Chris Di Fazio 4:18

on sales. When you're a little kid you're not known.

Man, right? Yeah. He developed a skill set. And then yeah, hopefully you enjoy.

Matthew Parker 4:31

Yeah, then cuz that gets us to the next question I have is why do you love what you do? What about it sort of gets you up in the morning?

Chris Di Fazio 4:41

I mean, that's a good question. I think if you ask any realtor, they always most of them will say it's, it's the people that you're trying to help. And it's cliche but it's, it's, it's super true. Like just being able to see the I just gave you an explanation of you know what got me into real estate that very first transaction, you know, understanding, you know, what needs I had at that time single bachelor in Toronto, much different than a young family man with, with a kid at home, you know, just figuring out what that problem solving for clients figuring out what their needs are trying to forecast what their needs will be, and trying to find something and get them up the property ladder, I think is a good challenge. And it's it doesn't come without, you know, lots of ups and downs and lots of lots of obstacles. I use an analogy quite often with my clients, and it's like game snakes and ladders. So there's many ways to win the game, right? Not everyone's going to hit that that homerun ladder or you kind of hit it off one roll and win the game. So the goal is to get, you know, especially our generation, there's many little ladders that you can get and still get to that end destination with avoiding the pitfalls, the snakes. So that's kind of how I try to summer, boil it down. And yeah, I Apply that every day for my clients. Yeah, that's

Matthew Parker 6:04

a that's a great point. I mean, to me, it just sounds more of like, like transition phases of ownership, especially in somewhere like Vancouver where you're probably not going to get right into the dream home right away. You might have to, you know, build with the market over time. And we've seen so many clients do that. And it's such a great, I always say get in to the market as soon as you can, hopefully, and then just grow with it. So you're not, you're not out of it. It's as you get

Chris Di Fazio 6:35

pressure. You're like it for a sports analogy, or you're kind of like a good referee. Right? Do you, you know, the kids or the family doesn't know why they're doing so well. But like, you're doing your job and you're staying kind of in the shadows and just making sure that your clients are, you know, on that pedestal and making sure they're they're getting ahead and they're getting to what they need to have, right.

Matthew Parker 6:58

Yeah, that's so cool. You You were doing this though, do you see yourself in any other industries? Is there anything that you find, you know, exciting out there that you'd like to that you would have liked to try?

Chris Di Fazio 7:10

If I had to tap into my, like, nine year old self, I would say it was probably I used to love these to love like the scores of movies. And I'm like, okay, there must be someone picking music to fit the scene. Right? So, I know that must have been a job. And when I was younger, it was definitely something I took note of. I used to make, you know, watch my favorite movies and then figure out what songs they were and make mixtapes with those songs. So I would say something, whatever that title of that job would have been kind of my childhood dream.

Matthew Parker 7:46

Okay, cool.

That's, that's really, that's, yeah. And, you know, imagine those movies without the music. It wouldn't be so exciting.

Chris Di Fazio 7:57

Star Wars job, they all have the same question. Or like he's like classical music tied to set the scenes of the moon gets the juices go. Now,

Matthew Parker 8:09

exactly as we're chatting, it's may 1 today. So sort of not at the ad not at the beginning of the COVID situation sort of been, you know, a few weeks now. We're seeing sort of effects on the market in terms of activity, potentially. Do you have any advice for anyone that's, I know that your your company handles a lot of presale presale purchases and also resale as well. Do you have any advice anyone for anyone may be looking to get into the pre sale market or potentially list their home in the next few months in terms of what you're seeing out there that you can provide to any potential homeowner or purchaser?

Chris Di Fazio 8:52

For sure.

I think let's let's cut on the buyer side. I would say be specific and assertive. So everyone wants you know, everyone sees the bad news everyone sees the media with, you know, markets going to draw, it's going to go down by XYZ amount of percentage, I think the key is, yes, it's definitely a favorable time to buy in the next three to six months. I don't think it's because it's going to be at the cost of the sellers, because technically, anyone who's going to be selling in the next, you know, three to six months, or it can be people that need to move out that property ladder, or life is happening, and they need to continue to figure out what space they need for their living situation. I think you would agree that space is at a premium. Now, you know, just if we have to, if this is a new norm, where economies get shut down for lengthy periods of time, and people have to work from home, watch their kids from home, or entertain their kids from home more importantly, spaces at a premium, right. So I think being assertive as far as defining what your needs are so far And definite needs and separating that from the five nice to have. So I think any buyer working with me, I make sure that they've compiled those two lists and be specific about that. And then by being assertive, I just mean being organized, having your, your financing in order, and doing your due diligence on the area of the building. And being being assertive with with with your time and knowing exactly kind of what that would look like, right? There are some barriers now into just seeing properties, right listings are going to be quite low for the next little while. And even physically getting into the property is quite difficult because oftentimes sellers don't want a lot of people in their place. So I think you're gonna see a little bit of pre qualifying before that, and yeah, if you're, if you're assertive in this type of market where there's a lot of ups and downs, I think you're going to be able to do well over you know, a three five year period. So I think I think that's the best advice I can give to any buyers and any sellers right now. It's just yeah, have your property into Tough condition make it as turnkey as possible. That's what most people are looking for in this market.

Matthew Parker 11:06

Yeah, no, it is interesting. And you know, none of us have have the crystal ball to know exactly what what will unfold. But I agree with you in the sense that be prepared, because the more prepared we are, you know, the more efficient and the more aggressive you can be as a purchaser especially. And also, I also agree potentially with the next three to five years having potential for value to do just fine because, you know, inventory will be low interest rates will probably be low. And we'll eventually get through the current situation. And then you know, when that happens, I mean, we saw in any past economic challenges, we've seen it, you know, build over time again, whether it's 2008, or any other times historically, so, patience and prepare. And and that's all we can Really do and no, I agree. 100%. So, great advice. Thank you any properties or any transactions that you've been involved in over the years that stand out as the most memorable to you whether it's a property itself or just a situation that you want to share on?

Chris Di Fazio 12:15

Yeah, I guess, I guess most recently, just my last deal was probably about five weeks ago. And this was when the news was kind of degree devolving The situation was evolving into what it is now, right? You didn't know no one knew there's no this is when people were racing to buy toilet paper. So it was kind of when the pandemic was really getting picked up, you know, by the media that should have been and provinces were walking down and I had just gotten this listing this awesome listing here and Olympic village with a great view. And yeah, it was it was it was last week of open houses that we had here in Vancouver, and we were able to get all the open houses done. We were very busy. We we ended up getting five offers and We ended up going getting something that was subject free. And that was when you know, there's a lot of uncertainty. So I think the trick with that one was just sticking to our original plan. You know, there's always a plan in place with, what type of pricing you're going to use and what kind of strategy you're going to try to position the property with. And when all this new news was coming, we didn't deviate from that. We stayed on the plan. And I think giving people buyers some certainty during that, that tumultuous period, made them feel a little bit more secure about what they were purchasing. So I think that was the key and definitely the most recent, memorable one just because of the situation and yeah, there was a happy ending which we're fortunate about, but it was definitely a tough transaction just from the moving parts.

Matthew Parker 13:50

Yeah, and the emotions and just everything involved. It's it's heightened these days in it than it normally is and it always is an emotional time anyways. Whether you're buying a You know, you're selling your home, you're buying a new home. It's it's so important for clients that, yeah, it can be very challenging just emotionally so. Yeah, no, I like that. Because I mean, I always like to say to clients too, it's it's the value, there's really only important that a few times during the time that you have that property, it's when you buy it. Yeah. And when you sell it, and and if we want to restructure it to access equity or capital out of the home for other purposes, and I mean, if it goes up and down over the lifetime of owning it, it's it's, that's okay. They really don't need to look at it every single day. Because it will change over time. It'll probably trend where we want it to trend which we've seen historically. So yeah, I always talk to clients on more of what's the plan how long of term of a property is this for us? Because that way we can plan better to make sure it's the most economical decision. So that's why I said that, you know, expectations and setting it up where, you know, what is the long term goal of this property where if you're buying it in a very uncertain time, it might be just fine because you'll be there 510 however many years so, you know, what happens in the next six to 12 months won't necessarily affect you to a large degree from a from a ownership standpoint,

Chris Di Fazio 15:23

for sure. And one would argue that no, real estate is it's a flexible asset, right? It is harder harder because it's a fixed asset. So you do have to buy it or sell it at a specific point in time. But even throughout that time, there's many different things you can do. You could always rent a property, you know, you can always pull pull equity out, like you said, to to fund other things. If you see some opportunity. You could live in it yourself. So there's lots of different ways that you can use the asset in that time frame until you can reach that point where it makes sense to then move on from it or or capitalize on On that purchase.

Matthew Parker 16:02

Yeah, especially today with interest rates again being so low. You know, it's not, it's not a bad decision depending on your situation, if it's financially feasible to do those kinds of things. Now we're on the house rich podcast. So I'd like to talk to clients about house rich more of a fun way and especially, the reason is, is more from a Vancouver Lower Mainland standpoint, a lot of people think house poor, or mortgages or high property values are high. But, you know, for the most part, our clients are very well situated fine cash flows, you know, very good, because I like to focus more on that cash flow style approach versus, you know, what can I qualify approach and so that's what I say how a stretch it's more of having a situation where we can still live life, we can still have fun, but we can have, you know, the home that we want to be in and hopefully utilize that asset to create a investment vehicle going forward by re advanced ability, accessing equity out for future purchases all that or positioning us for that next stage in homeownership is so valuable too. When I say house rich, what what do you think of what comes to your mind?

Chris Di Fazio 17:16

Definitely in the same line that you're thinking, originally. I'll give you my post kind of goes in house rich idea. Okay. And that is, you know, is your house. Does your house enrich your experience? You know, what, in the terms of does it have intrinsic value? Does it have an open air space, which has never been even more important than today, right. If you have a family or even just for your own well being you're able to cook, cook outside just while the sun is shining. I think house rich is kind of changing what people look at housing as an option. And I think you just need a lot of intrinsic value within that. So Good location that easy to access transit, those are all super important. Those are the staples of being house rich and making good investments. But I'm also looking at it from the angles, does it enrich your life? Now, do you have the space needed for your family? Do you have the space needed for your pets? I think people are going to value different aspects of different houses moving forward with this new reality in mind, right with possibility that you may have to be in your house for a month at a time. Great, right. So I think there's probably a lot of people looking but the thinking is changing a little bit as to what cost rich means. But definitely, you know, the staple is a vehicle to get to that forever home. Let's make some motors analogy. But right now I'm thinking like trying to focus on Okay, what are what's important to you? What's, what are the needs? And then how do we address those needs and let's like keep our mind open as to where we can find that because there are some pockets of areas and The Lower Mainland that people may not be aware that that offer was they're looking for. So I think that's the big challenge moving forward is just placing people into these pockets that really will enrich their lives.

Matthew Parker 19:14

It's a great point because I, you know, the question I love to ask first off is, where do you want to be? Like, where do you see yourself? What kind of lifestyle do you want? Like, what kind of property is that? So I think you just you just nailed it there where this is probably changed a lot of people's perception on what that is, or, or what their, you know, goals are in life these days are knowing what's important to them now versus, you know, pre pre COVID. Right, as probably changed for for quite a few people. So, yeah, great point. Great point. Chris, thank you again, it's been an absolute pleasure. Great advice. I know everyone's gonna love it. Where would be the best place to contact you or reach out to you if you're looking to it? If anyone's looking to buy or sell a property,

Chris Di Fazio 20:02

yeah, the best place would be Vancouver pre sales comm if you're interested in finding out what the pre sales market has to offer, and then our team has mentioned before as Vancouver condo team, so Vancouver condo, team calm those would be the two best resources.

Matthew Parker 20:18

Wonderful. We'll include that in all the show notes and all the material again, grateful to have you here. It's been a pleasure. You stay safe and and we'll talk soon.

Chris Di Fazio 20:28

Awesome. Thanks so much.

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