"What areas have a high Beer Score?" is a question that I've never been asked.  But I wish someone would, because unlike the "What are the neighbours like?" it's a question I would look forward to answering.


Victoria has a varied and vibrant craft brewery and brew pub scene.  There are beers being produced in nearly every community, and further there are some bars and restaurants that specialize in bringing the best regional and international beers to our little corner of paradise.  Living in a beer district could very well make all the difference to a beer lover.


I am a big fan of the growler.  A growler is a 64 oz glass bottle, (jug?), that you take to a brewery or brewpub and have filled with the beer of your choice.  You can buy them at the breweries, they typically cost about 5$.  Filling them typically costs around $10.  This is a great deal, you get roughly 5 beers for $10, but it's five quality, fresh, wonderful beers! Perfect to take camping, to the beach, a BBQ or a dinner party at which local craft beer may well be more appreciated than wine.


According to Victoriabeers.com, (great site, go there), there are 11 breweries and brewpubs with growler stations offering an astounding 68 varieties of freshly brewed local beer.  It takes some time to work through this vast array of local beer, but it's good to have goals.


So what neighbourhoods offer a high Beer Score?  Downtown condos would generally score well, within walking distance of well known pubs on Government St. that feature a multitude of taps, for example Garrick's Head and the Churchill combine for over 100 taps.


But for straight up easy access to fresh brewed beer you can carry home in your own growler, the area in and around the intersection of Bay and Government wins hands down being within easy strolling distance of Moon Under Water, Hoyne, Phillips, Driftwood and Vancouver Island Breweries.  Chinatown would be a close second with easy access to Vancouver Island, Phillips, Swans and the Canoe Club.


Unfortunately there really isn's a whole lot of housing stock to choose from at Bay and Government while there are lots of choices in and around Chinatown, from new condos to converted lofts, micro lofts and historical buildings to funky townhouses and heritage spaces.  So while it may be a slight runner up in raw Beer Score, when adjusted for housing stock and proximity to the entertainment district offering exceptional beer drinking environments, Chinatown should be on the list of areas to look at for the beer aficionado!


So there's the answer, in case anyone does ask.

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More often these days I am running into real estate buyers who are committed to the idea of not using a buyer's agent, but rather trying to navigate the real estate process by themselves and dealing directly with a selling agent only.


The motivation for this sort of choice seems to be either that they think that they'll get a better deal on the property dealing directly with the listing agent, or that they will be better able to source and select properties that suit them without an agent steering them with their own biases and agenda.


In both instances I cannot imagine someone being more mistaken in their understanding of how real estate actually works.  In both instances buyers are setting themselves up for failure and disappointment.

If you're going to climb Everest, you're going to need a Sherpa.  You can certainly have a go of it without one, but the odds are your frozen corpse on the side of the mountain will become a warning for others to avoid the path of foolish pride.


If you're going to dive the great barrier reef you're going to need the services of a local dive master.  Even Jaques Cousteau had local dive masters with him in his explorations as he was not so foolish to believe that he could possibly understand the terrain, dangers and opportunities that each new dive site presented, regardless of how good a diver he was.


If you're going to sue someone you're going to probably want to bring a lawyer with you. The old adage that a person who represents himself in court has a fool for a client is a cliche precisely because it is true.

See the pattern here?


If you're going to buy real estate, you're going to need someone on your side.  You're going to need someone to guide you over the crevasses and to point out the dangerous currents, to keep you safe from the liabilities involved in a potential transaction that you likely aren't even aware exist.


Dealing directly with a listing agent as a buyer certainly does have its benefits, for the seller and the listing agent!  It's quite similar to relying your partners divorce lawyer in court, great for them, not so good for you.  Any deal that can be had with a listing agent can likely be bettered by having your own zealous representation in a buying transaction. More importantly it offers you the safety of having someone that does real estate for a living looking out for your interests.  You may think you know what you're doing but I can assure you that a seasoned buyers agent will have at least ten times the experience you do and that experience can often be priceless.  In buying real estate you are an amateur, and as the saying goes if you think using a professional is expensive, wait until you decide to use an amateur.


And that's the kicker really, because the cost of the buyers agent is almost always covered by the seller.  The myth that if you deal directly with the listing agent the selling commission will go away is just that, a myth, it doesn't go away, the listing agent gets to keep it, and he thanks you.


Take some time to learn and understand what agency and dual agency actually means. Take the time to find an experienced, professional buyers agent who will be on your side throughout the process and upon whose expertise you can rely.  To do otherwise is like putting on a meat suit and going hiking in bear country.  It's just not a good idea.

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