Home search: Burnaby scientist does due diligence

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      For many young adults, buying a home is a daunting task.

      With prices in Metro Vancouver up almost 50 percent during the past five years, they’ve been forced to realize that they might have to find their dream property elsewhere.

      Nick Felch knew he had to make some compromises to realize his goal of purchasing a home in town.

      “It’s just being responsible,” Felch told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.

      Felch, who is in his early 30s, also recognized that he had to act quickly.

      He got into the market just before new lending rules—ones that make it harder to get a mortgage—took effect last year.

      Felch may also have spared himself from the prospect of higher interest rates.

      Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, has indicated that the American central bank may increase interest rates a number of times in the next few years, which could cause rock-bottom rates in Canada to go up.

      Felch used to rent in Port Moody, and he now owns a condo in Burnaby.

      “I was being very diligent saving money for a couple of years while still living my life and doing the things that I love to do,” Felch related.

      He continued going out, but not too often. He didn’t give up vacations but opted for less extravagant trips.

      Felch is happy that he planned ahead by seeking out a mortgage broker and a real-estate agent.

      “I got in touch with them and, you know, just sort of got them on my radar, and that was the crucial step that made it possible for me to make this all happen,” he said.

      According to Felch, mortgage broker Meghan Graham was “invaluable”. Graham advised him to secure a mortgage before the new borrowing rules became effective.

      He also praised realtor Jay McInnes, who “within hours had a full list of potential places”.

      “Having spoken with them [Graham and McInnes] before, they already sort of knew this was coming and were able to, at a moment’s notice, be there instantaneously to help me,” Felch said.

      Felch had always wanted to be a homeowner.

      “I had a very well set out goal from when I graduated from university,” he said. “First, you have to graduate, then find a job, find a place to live, and so for me it wasn’t too difficult, because I knew this was my eventual goal.”

      Felch knew that timing was essential. “I wasn’t thinking about purchasing a home until I got a job that was long-term and of the level that I felt secure enough to invest,” he said.

      About two years ago, he started working as a scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada. It is a job that he likes, one that he sees himself doing for a long time. Making the next decision, to purchase a home, came easily.

      “It was the obvious choice in my future, going forward,” Felch said.

      Felch is settling in well at his new home. He moved in last December, began furnishing his apartment, and has since become more familiar with the neighbourhood. He feels good.

      “It’s fantastic,” he said.

      Like many who are new to a place, Felch went through some adjustments.

      “It was a bit of a transition,” he recalled. “It didn’t feel like home right away because, obviously, you move into a place, and from where you’re used to living to where you’re now living, it’s quite different.”

      The first-time homebuyer knows the demands of keeping a property. He said that it may be more expensive to buy and maintain a home but that it’s worth it in the long run.

      “The sense of ownership and the security far outweigh having to, you know, fill out leases, deal with landlords, and have an unsecure place to live in,” Felch said.

      For him, owning a home makes sense.

      “When you’re paying a mortgage, you’re investing in yourself, not investing in your landlord,” Felch said.