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July 01, 2018

Getting it all

Mortgage-free millennial shows us all how it’s done

Darlene Casten

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Kym doesn’t dream, she does.

The 25-year-old has a career, a three bedroom, two-and-a-half bath townhome at Gablecraft Homes’ The Timbers in Sherwood and no house payments.

That’s right, this millennial is mortgage free.

So here’s how she did it.

Kym bought her first condo while taking a nursing program at UBCO in Kelowna as a teenager. The two-bedroom, two-bath 1,224-square-foot apartment-style flat was near the city’s downtown. When she graduated they sold the Kelowna condo and because the spacious apartment was in a prime location it gave her a decent windfall for her next home purchase.

For the next three years, Kym lived with her parents in the northwest community of the Hamptons.

“I lived at home and saved,” she says.

In 2016 Kym started a house hunt, but nothing seemed to be a fit.

“I didn’t find anything that struck me at that time,” says Kym. “I decided to save my money and wait until I was ready to commit.”

Some life changes, including a career change from home care to becoming a medical esthetics device trainer, helped her get clear on what she was looking for.

“I was looking for a townhouse,” she says. “I wanted three bedrooms, two bathrooms. I looked primarily in the northwest — in Sage Hill, Kincora, Sherwood, Evanston and Nolan Hill.”

She ruled out a single family home so she could pay cash.

“I really didn’t want a mortgage,” she says. “A single family home would have been $500,000 and I would have had a mortgage and I really didn’t want a mortgage.”

A few months with a realtor helped her narrow down her search.

It was when she looked at a townhouse at The Timbers that was for sale by owner that she realized she was getting close. The unit didn’t have everything Kym was looking for so her realtor contacted The Timbers area sales manager Scott Preston.

“He was super helpful,” Kym says of Scott. “He came in on his day off to show us the place and he’s always willing to help, and answer our questions.”

Scott also was able to pinpoint exactly what Kym was looking for the first time.

It had three-bedrooms, to allow her to have a guest room and office space, two-and-a-half bathrooms and two walk-through closets for her plentiful wardrobe.

“I went home and called my dad and said I think I found the place,” she recalls. “I put down a deposit the next day.”

The townhome Kym wanted, which included the only two-car tandem garage in that building, was priced in the mid $300,000s and was going to be ready for possession in a few months

The traditional colours suited her taste and existing furniture — a brown leather sofa and wood and leather dining room set.

On the main floor her dining room opens on to the galley kitchen, with a large island that provides extra storage and counter space, and then into the living space and powder room. With windows at either end, Kym says she enjoys tons of natural light and has the ability to open the windows to get a cross breeze.

“I wanted a certain open floor plan,” she says. “It was nice it was a new build. It felt like a clean slate. So I could make it my personal space.”

She’s made it her own with bold wallpaper — an Indian elephant print in her powder room and an unapologetic ‘girly’ pink floral feature wall in the guest room.

“I really wanted a few statement walls in my house,” she said. “I just to put my own spin on things. It took me months to choose what wallpaper I wanted. I got samples and would put them up and see how I felt about them a few days later.”

Geometric décor, like a glass and brass terrarium, bring a strong modern touch to the home.

“I feel my style would have to be quite simple, but feminine at the same time,” she said.

The upgraded finishes, like the medium-width laminate flooring, shaker cabinets, quartz countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms and stainless steel whirlpool appliances and gas stove added to her enthusiasm.

Her living room looks out over a natural park, where she often goes for walks.

“I really like the walking paths in the ravine and that’s protected space so they are never going to build,” Kym says.

Fitness is a way of life for Kym, who has memberships at two local gyms. Her love of healthy eating is also supported at neighbourhood grocery stores like City Market, Loblaws’ urban/international and natural market in nearby Sage Hill.

“City market is a really cool place,” Kym says. “I go there if I even just need one thing. They offer cooking classes and have a dietician. I took a free cooking class that was put on by the dietician.”

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