I honestly didn’t think I’d ever be a homeowner. I’m a stubborn guy and I only wanted to own a home that was going to be perfect for every aspect of my life. I’m basically the person you yell at when you’re watching House Hunters. But when we finally bought our first home last year, in my dream neighbourhood, I couldn’t have been happier. I honestly didn’t know investing could make me feel so happy.

As you know, investing in Calgary’s market can often be tricky to navigate. But if you think home ownership is for you, then now’s probably a good time to start looking. Especially when it comes to living in a neighbourhood that might have been impossible a few years ago.

And whether you’re a first time homeowner like I was, or you’re looking to downsize, Servus can help. They understand your needs and can make the mortgage buying process simple and easy to understand.

Servus actually has this cool program for first-time home buyers where they pay you to borrow from them. Depending on the mortgage you get, you would receive a cash incentive that could be used to:

  • Furnish or decorate your new home
  • Pay for unexpected closing costs (legal fees, appraisals, taxes, etc.)
  • Make an additional lump sum payment on your mortgage
  • Save for a special event such as an anniversary, wedding or child on the way
  • Purchase investments, open an RESP or make an RRSP contribution

And trust me, when it comes to buying your first home, take all the help you can get.

One of the best parts of shopping for a home is imagining the possibilities. That and going to open houses of homes that you know you’ll never afford in a million years. When you look for a house, it can seem like you have too many choices. But where you are in life will likely dictate what kind of neighbourhood you’ll want to live in.

Here are some of my favourites:

For people looking to return to the city

A few years ago, you’d never tell people to drive through the East Village, let alone live in it. But thanks to one of the biggest urban revitalizations North America has ever seen, the East Village has become one of the city’s best neighbourhoods, and it’s just getting started. Designed for people who like urban living, but still want to enjoy quiet nights and great restaurants, the East Village is perfect for people who maybe have spent some time in the suburbs and are excited to get back downtown and see what they’ve been missing out on.

For people looking to be social

You can’t go wrong as long as you’re within stumbling distance of 17th Ave. While I’ve never lived right in the Beltline, it’s probably one of my biggest Calgary-regrets. The area is packed with people, bike lanes, restaurants and more coffee shops than you’d ever be able to visit. The other good thing about the Beltline is that your friends are never far away. Whether they’re waiting for you to join them on the Ship and Anchor patio, or they’re looking to come down to your ‘hood for a fun night out, if you love a social life, this is the place for you.

For young families

Photo by Ricky Romero
My favourite thing in the world is when my friends say they are moving to one of Calgary’s lake communities. Being from the east coast, I miss the water every day, so I totally get why so many families flock to neighbourhoods like Lake Bonavista or Midnapore, Chapparal, Arbour Lake and Auburn Bay. Heck, I’m happy if a friend of a friend moves out there, because I know I’ll eventually end up being invited to enjoy the lake. On those hot Calgary summer days, there’s nothing better than a dip in the lake. If your kids are lucky enough to grow up in a lake community, then they’ll probably thank you for it for the rest of their lives.

For people who hate commuting

This is definitely where I fall in, which is why I love the neighbourhoods of Kensington, Sunnyside and Bridgeland. All of them work for however you like to get around. If you want to drive, you have lots of easy access to major routes. But if you’re a fan of biking, walking and using transit, then these neighbourhoods justifiably receive top marks! Being able to hop on your bike and get where you’re going without worrying about traffic jams or rush hour will pay you back in more ways than one.

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So what’s your dream neighbourhood? In Calgary there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for your first home, or maybe your forever home, check out what Servus has to offer and start asking your friends to help you pack!

Mike Morrison