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Making the leap: your first home as an investment in your future

Thirty years and $300,000. Those rather intimidating numbers combined with a commitment to a piece of property and the responsibility for its upkeep can make buying your first home a daunting prospect.

While it does take a big leap to first make that commitment, doing so can literally pay off in spades as a solid investment for the future.

Derek Denier, a Nelson-based mortgage broker with Mortgage Financing BC says if you’re ready to settle down and build a life in the Nelson area you should consider buying a home one of the best investments you can make – if you do it right.

“Instead of giving your money away to rent, if you have some pride of home ownership you can build value into your property,” Denier says. “And combined with appreciation and principal pay down over time it will really pay off in the end.”

For those who are questioning whether buying a home is right for them, Denier says the best sign is how they care for their rental property.

“It’s the people who really look after their rental properties that are great candidates for home ownership,” he explains. “If you do that for a rental property and you’re a great tenant, you’ll be a great home-owner. You see people accumulate wealth and grow their net worth just by looking after their homes,” Denier says.

If you need another incentive to surmount that uncertainty around home-buying, consider that some properties come with mortgage payments that are on-par or less-than current rents in Nelson.

A recent report by the Nelson Committee on Homelessness showed the average rental cost for a bachelor suite in Nelson is $800 to $850, and people should expect to pay about $1,000 and $1,500 respectively for a two or three-bedroom place.

New local real estate developments like West Creek Village offer units starting at $225,000 for a two bedroom and $284,000 for a three-bedroom.

A recent mortgage estimate from one bank places the mortgage payments on the two-bedroom units at $1,045 per month with five per cent down over 30 years at the current fixed interest rate, and as low as $845 per month with the same down payment and a variable interest rate.

West Creek Village project manager, Pat Davis said the development was done with value in mind.

“We negotiated even harder than ever to get good prices on material and good rates on labour so we can keep our price at a level that gives people exceptional value,” Davis says.

Prices aside, though, Davis says quality was a huge component in West Creek Village,

“We didn’t skimp on anything,” he says. “We’ve got nice floor coverings, upgraded light fixtures and upgraded cabinets . . . materials that will stand up over time.”

He added that the units all feature a number of green upgrades, including energy efficient lighting and windows, and low-flow toilets. Like all new homes the units are also protected by the provincially-mandated Home Warranty Protection Plan.

“In the entry-level market, you’d be lucky to find a small 80-year-old home that would require a lot of maintenance,” Davis said. “This is new construction. So there’s no worry about mold, a cracked foundation or having to redo the plumbing. “If you can afford the monthly payment, you’re not going to have any surprise bills.”

So for those who love Nelson enough to make a long-term commitment to the community, buying a home need not be such an intimidating thought. Do it right and it can be a life-changing investment in your future.