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HofVan Real Estate Group always puts the information needs of our clients first. Read these blog posts for tips, suggestions and other newsworthy notes to help sellers and buyers in the Lower Mainland real estate market.


Chatting with the Owner of Burnaby Modo Yoga

Operating for almost a decade, Modo Yoga in Burnaby Willingdon Heights is a community favourite, especially during these stressful times. This location is part of an international chain of yoga studios that has locations all across Canada, the US, and even in Paris, France! Although each location remains unique and dedicated to its local community, they are all guided by the same six pillars or principles: Be healthy. Be accessible. Be green. Be community. Be peace. And live to learn.

Modo Yoga Burnaby operates in much the same way. The people that visit come here for its welcoming, warm, and inviting environment for yoga enthusiasts, experts and beginners alike. Thanks to the talented and highly trained teachers, the yoga classes at Burnaby Modo Yoga are well paced and easily accessible. This makes it easy to start your yoga journey and see results! With any location, it’s the people that make the experience. Here, both the teachers and the staff guarantee a positive experience that will relax and nourish the mind, body, and soul. They truly care about the community they work in.

We reached out to co-owner and teacher, Julia Cowan, to tell us a little bit more about Modo Yoga and why she loves the neighbourhood. It’s clear from what she tells us that Burnaby Modo Yoga is so much more than just a yoga studio: it’s your home away from home.

Can you tell us a little bit about Modo Yoga?
We have been in The Heights since 2011! That means we’re now in our 10th year of offering hot yoga, fitness classes, and community to people from Burnaby and the surrounding areas. A great part of our location is that we’re easily accessible on Hastings and Beta by car, transit, foot, or bike. We have been named Best Yoga Studio every year since 2012 which is probably why people call us their home away from home.

Right now, we’re facing the hardest moment of our time as a studio community because we were closed for several months due to COVID. Currently, we have to operate at less than 50% capacity to ensure we maintain the very important physical distancing.

What is your favourite thing about Burnaby Willingdon Heights?
Burnaby Heights is such a wonderful, established community with many generations of families living and working here.

We’ve watched the community change since we first opened our doors back in 2011. There’s a strong tight-knit feel here, and many buildings have been updated by local contractors who care about their neighbourhood. In addition to that, there are parks and amenities all within walking distance. The Heights is also so close to downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver. It’s just 20 minutes from our door to the mountains, snowboards on!

However, we couldn’t just nail it to one favourite thing about our neighbourhood. We love it here because of the:

  • local independent businesses
  • tight-knit family community
  • amenities like parks, swimming pool (Eileen Daily), library, and grocery stores that are all easily accessible
  • a nice mix of residential and commercial buildings that make it convenient to work and live
  • Hat’s Off Day, a yearly street festival bringing everyone out to socialize!

Our favourite thing to do in The Heights is to take a yoga class and then head out to one of the amazing local restaurants. If you’re looking for some good eats, our favourites are Chez Christophe, Take Sushi, and Kamamarui.

What little known secrets can you tell us about living or doing business in this area?

People in The Heights are so loyal to the businesses they love and local merchants are friendly and truly care about the community.

Finally, if you could sum this neighbourhood and community up in 5 words, what would they be?
, Vibrant
, Accessible, 
Loyal, and 

Thank you Julia for giving us such a wonderful picture of Burnaby Willingdon Heights. Modo Yoga Burnaby is currently open for both in-person and virtual yoga classes. Build your body-mind connection in your favourite studio or from the comfort of your home! Visit their website for pricing and to book classes online. We know you’ll love it.

Do you have an interesting story to tell about your neighbourhood? Let us know!


Tips for Taking a Virtual House Tour in Burnaby

Take a look at the Real Estate Board of Vancouver’s home buying statistics and you will see that despite this new normal keeping us all indoors, home buying is peaking pre-pandemic levels. First-time homebuyers in Burnaby have cited several factors that made looking for a new place enticing in these times: record-low mortgage rates, a desire for more space after the fatigue of lockdown, a sense that they have a competitive advantage while the market was quiet, and the freedom, given remote work, to move further away from their offices in Vancouver.

But keeping safe should always be a priority, especially when you’re making that life-changing home purchase in Burnaby. If you’re thinking of looking for a house now, virtual house tours are the way to go. It may not be the same as going to an open house, but it is definitely helpful and way safer. Here are some tips in checking out new spaces while staying in your own home.

Make your dream house bucket list
If you’re looking for a house in Burnaby, you most probably have an idea of what you want to get. A real estate bucket list, so to speak. How many bedrooms? Is having a backyard and a front lawn important? What’s your budget? These details would also be helpful for your HofVan real estate agent, so we can prepare their own list of houses that would fit your criteria. Contact us today to get the process started.

Review the property listings before the tour
Think of it as reviewing for a major exam – you have to be prepared! It helps to know all the nooks and crannies beforehand so that you can check up on them on the actual virtual house tour. At HofVan, our listings can include photos, videos, and even floor plans of the space for you to study. Feel free to take a look around!

Prepare for the virtual tour
So you’ve made your list, checked it twice, and even did a pre-tour before your real tour. Now, you prep for your call. We’ve all had hundreds by now, but it never hurts to take at least 30 minutes before your schedule to manage potential technical interruptions. Make sure to be in a quiet space where you can easily hear each other, or set up your headset, to make sure that you’re not disturbing anyone. Then, check your internet connection if it’s stable and fast. It won’t hurt to restart the router to ensure the best possible connection.

Take notes and ask questions
Now that you’re on the tour, make sure you give the agent your full attention. Writing things down not only can help you remember them better, but it can also help you focus on the task at hand and not the million other things that might be happening in your house. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, too. This is your potential new home, after all. Every detail is important! Imagine you were there in person, what kind of details are you missing out on due to being behind a screen? I know that I always check the shower pressure whenever I view a new home, you’re more than welcome to ask the real estate agent to do the same!

Take your time
As well-prepared as you are, it will help to take multiple tours of the space, especially if you’re having a hard time deciding. Seeing things the second or third time around gives you more perspective, and you might discover parts you might have missed. Take as much time as you can, and be patient with yourself and your agent. If you rush into decisions, you might end up regretting your choices in the long run.


Living in Burnaby and Memories of Greece: With Socrates in the Heights

In this local business feature, we were really lucky to have spoken to the owner of one of the most lauded restaurants in Burnaby Heights: Socrates in the Heights. Alex Zoubos, owner and experienced chef, tells us his story and that of his restaurant, while also giving us an insight into life in this great part of North Burnaby.

If you haven’t been to Socrates just yet, be sure to head over for dinner. You might just find a free table for their Valentines Special evening! On February 13th and 14th, Alex and Socrates will be serving up a special three-course menu including a delightful kalamata olive tapenade, thalassinomakaronada (which is a staple Greek seafood pasta), and chocolate and greek yoghurt cheesecake – book us in please Alex!

You’ll find Socrates at 4651 E Hastings St, head to their website or instagram page for more information.

Let’s get into it!

The Story of Socrates in the Heights
I was really interested to hear about how Alex came to start his business in Burnaby, what followed was a bit of a trip down memory lane and my own fond memories of Greece. “As a child, I vividly remember spending time in the Tavernas on my visits to Greece. There is something really special and really different about Greek food, I remember eating the best grilled meat of my life over there.”

Greek cuisine is well known for the incredible flavours and colourful plates Alex told us. “Fresh flavours really bring Greek food to life. Just the simple addition of fresh lemon juice to grilled meat made me think wow, yes, this is how meat is supposed to taste.” We certainly couldn’t argue with that!

Alex told us about so many other parts of the cuisine that are unique to Greece, such as a range of fruit beverages. “There are these really great Lemonda and Portokalada (lemonade and orangeade) that are unique to Greece, kids absolutely love them!”

All in all, it is the combination of fresh produce and flavours, meat that comes straight from the butcher and on to the grill, and the methods of which these are combined that Alex appreciates most about Greek food.

The student becomes the master
Alex spent a lot of his career working alongside his father in the kitchen of his restaurant for 23 years. After their really successful time together and having felt strongly that he wanted to recreate the memories of Greece, Alex set out to forge a path on his own.

“I wanted to be different from the other Greek places in and around Vancouver. I felt strongly that there were standards that needed to be elevated in Vancouver and I wanted to try to bring the quality of Greece here to share with our neighbours. I’d been learning from my father for 23 years, who had been cooking traditional Greek food for 25 years before that! It was time for me to start something on my own.”

The stories of Socrates’ success
Alex has a passion for sharing what he loves with locals and tourists alike. It is a testament to the quality of their food and service that they have managed well during these really difficult times. “I just love to see and hear people enjoying themselves, the most important thing for me is that people are enjoying what they are eating and they see it as really good value.”

The modest prices position Socrates in favour of most budgets, Alex and his team can also offer larger scale catering to weddings and functions (when it is safe to do them again of course!). Locals often describe the value for money as a real winning factor to Socrates. Added to this are consistently fresh food, great portions, and a wholesome, family atmosphere that have really put Socrates on the map.

When asked about the amazing reviews that keep on rolling in, Alex commented “I’m really overjoyed with all of the great feedback we’ve been getting so far, it is really humbling. At the end of the day, this feedback is the only thing we care about, it lets us know that people are happy and appreciating the things that we are doing.”

“It encourages you to keep pushing the standards. We want to be known for Burnaby’s freshest Greek food.”

The community of Burnaby Heights
We love Burnaby Heights, it really is one of the great neighbourhoods in Vancouver. Not only is it really diverse and home to amazing restaurants such as Socrates, but it has a real community feel which can be lacking in other areas of Vancouver.

We asked Alex what his favourite things about the neighbourhood are. “I’ve actually only been in this neighbourhood for two years, so I’m still quite new here, but it has been a really great two years. I’ve found it to be a really friendly neighbourhood, you know it is busy, but it feels almost like a city of people within a city. There is such a vibrancy, people around are really friendly and all of the local businesses support each other.”

“In five words? Friendly, supportive, lively, diverse, bright.”

We want to thank Alex for his time and opening up his world to us during his busy schedule. Just can’t wait to head down there soon and tuck into the Souvlaki!

We love sharing stories of our communities. If you’d like to share one with us reach out to us! For more information on Burnaby and support working through the real estate market, contact us today.

Until next time!


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