Home search: About to be mortgage-free

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      Jordan Dovale expects to fully pay off his Vancouver home before he turns 31.

      He’s 27 years old.

      “It’s incredible,” Dovale told the Georgia Straight by phone about his good fortune.

      At a time when homeownership seems out of reach for many young people, Dovale has done well.

      According to a survey conducted for and cited in a 2016 Bank of Montreal millennial-homebuyer report, affordability is a huge concern among first-time purchasers.

      Almost a third (29 percent) of Canadians aged 19 to 35 who were sampled in the poll indicated that they don’t believe they’ll ever be able to buy a home.

      Dovale was 20 years old and making decent money doing manual labour at a Vancouver grain elevator when he told his parents that he wanted to move out.

      “They’re like, ‘Well, you have to buy a place,’ ” he related. He worked long hours, doing 60 days in a row at one point, then taking a day off before doing straight 20-day shifts.

      “I almost doubled my salary with overtime,” Dovale said.

      That was 2009, and the next year he bought a presale condo in the Brentwood area of Burnaby. He moved into his newly constructed home in 2012.

      About two years later, he was riding home on his bike when he passed a presentation centre for a presale condo development in East Vancouver.

      He dropped in to check it out, and because its Hastings-Sunrise location was near his work, he was interested. His plan was to rent out his Burnaby condo later and live in Vancouver.

      He had money in the bank for a deposit, so in 2014 he bought again. “That kind of cleaned me out, but I just, yeah, gave them all my money and that was that.”

      Construction was still going on at the Vancouver development in 2016 when prices for condos like his Brentwood place shot up.

      “It was like, ‘Well, you know, I don’t know if I’m going to see this kind of price increase in a while,’ ” Dovale said. “Like, there might be a time in my life where I want to, like, buy a house and have some kids, and I can’t just bounce around from place to place, taking advantage of the real estate, so I’m thinking, ‘You know what? I’m just going to sell it.’ ”

      He got in touch with realtor Adam Chahl, who later prepped his Brentwood unit for sale. According to him, Chahl also made good use of social media to market the condo, and before long they were getting multiple offers.

      Dovale made a six-digit profit, and he sank almost all of that into the Vancouver property. Mortgage agent Aimal Pamir did the closing payment on the Brentwood unit and opened a loan for Dovale for the new condo, where he currently lives.

      “Now my mortgage is so small, like, I will be mortgage-free before my 31st birthday,” he said.

      Dovale makes double payments on his mortgage, or about $700 every two weeks.

      Nowadays, Dovale walks to work, saving money on gas and car insurance. He is near bakers, butchers, grocery stores, and a couple of bars.

      “It’s just luck,” Dovale said about how he did it.

      According to him, he was at the right place at the right time. “I bought low twice and I sold high once.”

      Although he has his own place, Dovale noted that he has some concerns about the future.

      “I’m a single guy right now, so what I do worry about is that if in the future I want to, like, have kids and settle down, it’s that I can find a house that I can afford. That’s a big thing for me,” he said. “I don’t really want to have to sell this apartment that I’m in. I’d like to keep it long-term.

      “But I think, just the way that things are going,” Dovale continued, “I’m going to have to, and I’d also like to work in Vancouver. So what I do think about is that if I do ever, like, have a family, like I said, I’m going to have to move out to the Fraser Valley.”