I'll be the first to admit that I am disorganized. When I think of organization, binders, sticky notes, highlighters, and lists come to mind. Following a linear path in planning has always been difficult for me and I'm sure I'm not alone. In this post, I want to share how I spent nearly no time (pros and cons) planning and executing my move from Vancouver, BC to Montreal QC, whilst renting out my first property and purchasing my second property all under 6 months.

This is part 1 of a the moving cross country series.

Why move?

Well. There were lots of reasons. I lived in Vancouver for 26 years, from age 16 to 43. Moving to Canada from Hong Kong was not my choice. Loads of people left around that time fearing China's takeover in 1997.

Vancouver BC is a really beautiful place. There hasn't been anywhere I've visited during my travels that could compare to the quality of nature and the city's immersion within it. High, majestic mountains as the backdrop with ocean and inlets surrounding the land. Every day was a postcard image. The air is fresh, and produce is abundant from both land and sea.


As a single income, no dependent, professional woman, living was actually not easy. Excluding income tax (I am not sure how other countries calculate personal tax but Canada's method always boggle my mind), the cost of living on the West Coast has become unsustainable for a lot of people.

The average house price for Vancouver in August 2022 is $2 million, and $775,000 for a condo. The average median income In 2017, for a family, was $84,850 per year. I am horrendous at math, but you don't need to be good at math to figure out there is no one a two person household at that median income could afford anything near a house. Or a two bedroom apartment.

How much do you need to live in Vancouver?

Too much.

Rent or Mortgage Cost

Again, not good at math. What I'm good at is having Asian parents, who insisted that I bought my first condo in my 20s at a carbon price of $220,000. There is literally nothing to be had at that price now. With that first condo, I was able to sell it and buy my second one in the Olympic Village for $460,000. I graduated from a 500 sq ft shoe box, to a 630 sq ft shoe box and moved nearer to the water. 7 years on, the condo that I bought for $460k is now selling at roughly $700k. It's a one bedroom with storage, a solarium, a balcony, 1 bath.

(This is where you would do some mathematics). If you are unable to buy, monthly rental for a 1 bedroom is roughly $2,500. I currently rent mine out to a pair of new lawyers for less than that). They make enough trust me, but who has $150k floating around for down payment?

Food & Drinks

A cocktail is $15+ and a glass of wine is roughly the same. I would say the cheapest cocktail at a decent place will be $12, and a drinkable glass of wine is $11. (5oz).

If you are a vegetarian, your weekly grocery bill if you shop smartly (meaning corner grocers if there are any in your hood), Chinatown, bulk – $40-55pp. If you are a carnivore, I'd say probably another $20. (I am NOT good at mathematics!)

A plate of food at an average sit down restaurant is $25. Lunch under $15 is cheap and not almost impossible under $10 (a slice of pizza you can get still, yes).

Because I cannot math, I would say if I go out with a friend for dinner with a drink or two, I would pay $100 at least. I do have to note – I am not a financially disciplined person in any sense and I don't live particularly frugally, nor do I live particularly frivolously.

Packing, boxes, shit

Car or no car?

Moving with a dog

Renting or Buying

Renting out

Buying property (without seeing it in person)