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16 Oct

Yes You Can


Posted by: Naushy Saeed

This story is from the Fall edition of Our House Magazine

Moving on up from condo to house, these young homeowners prove age is just a number

For Jordan Rothwell and Karissa Roed, the timing to find their forever home couldn’t be more perfect. The couple, who recently moved to Mission, B.C., are expecting their second child and are ready for the family to grow.

It’s quite the responsibility for Jordan and Karissa, aged 23 and 24, respectively. But it’s a challenge the young couple has been preparing for since they first resolved to get into the housing market a couple of years back. And the pair see their story as motivation for what other young people can achieve if they set their minds to it.

“If younger people would just set goals for themselves, especially when it comes to buying property, it’s such a blessing when you do it. You’re instantly further ahead as an adult when you do it,” Jordan says.

Their property story began when Jordan’s grandfather offered to match the couple’s savings for a down payment on a condominium. So Jordan and Karissa went about saving money wherever they could. That meant a lot of sacrifice—especially missing out on trips and events they might have attended.

“It basically became an addiction for a while, just saving up every penny to try and get to the point where we could go in and buy a condo,” Jordan notes.

It paid off. By 2014, they saved up $5,000 and, with matching funds, moved into a two-bedroom condo in Port Coquitlam, B.C.

Fast forward a couple of years, and Jordan and Karissa were looking to upsize. By then, they had some equity, in part because they bought their condo at the right time, taking advantage of the hot Metro Vancouver real estate market, and were ready to move into their forever home.

Once again they looked to family, partnering with Karissa’s mother and stepfather to purchase a 3,000-square-foot, six-bedroom house in Mission for $605,000. Jordan, Karissa and their young family will live upstairs, while her parents will take the ground floor.

The couple couldn’t be happier in their new home. “It’s definitely nice moving from a condo to a house,” Karissa says, adding they have nearly double the square footage as their old condo, along with a backyard for her children to play.

Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist Pauline Tonkin says she couldn’t be more impressed by the couple’s smart financial habits. Tonkin helped them secure a mortgage for their first condo and wasn’t surprised to see them make a jump to a house.

“I wasn’t concerned for them because they really do the right things. They really get it,” Tonkin says. “Age is not indicative of how people handle finances.”

She describes the couple, especially Karissa, as very diligent at considering all the costs involved in the purchase. The pair wanted all the details, something Tonkin says isn’t often the case with young buyers.

Besides securing the proper financing, Tonkin helped Jordan and Karissa through the process, giving them a “road map” to where they wanted to be. It was help the couple appreciated. “When you’re buying a condo or a house, it’s such a blur,” Karissa says, adding that their mortgage broker was someone they could trust and call at all hours if they needed to.

Jaclyn LaRose has enjoyed similar success as a homeowner. This spring, she sold her first condo to upsize to a bigger one in Surrey, B.C., close to her work as a schoolteacher.

LaRose was 26 when she and her sister decided to buy their first place with a little help from their parents. Her parents didn’t like seeing them throw away money on rent, she explains, so they helped out with a five per cent down payment for an apartment in nearby Coquitlam, B.C.

“I definitely considered at the time that I was young because I hadn’t been thinking about it for a few more years at least,” she says.

Not having even hit the age of 30, Larose is now on her second home. She said she has friends who believe it’s impossible to get into the market, especially in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. But she also points out those friends are looking in prime spots where the prices are highest. LaRose chose to look a little further afield to get into the market. She’s gone from a 500-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment to a two-bedroom with more than 800 square feet.

While Larose points out there is a sacrifice related to home ownership, she now feels lucky to be in her position. “It’s just about getting in when you can,” she said. There are places out there where you can get in.” And now that she has home ownership all sewed up, she’s able to focus on her career and personal goals.

“For the short term I feel settled,” LaRose says.

Back in Mission, Karissa and Jordan have settled into their new home. They are also way ahead of their peers and looking forward to the future. A lot of people his age look at owning a home as something they’re not supposed to do, or able to do at their age, Jordan says. But he doesn’t see it that way at all: “If you just stick to your guns and build a goal of what you want to accomplish… you’ll get there.”