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May 01, 2019

Arriving home

Low-maintenance lifestyle is key for ARRIVE townhome buyer

Darlene Casten

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Sometimes going back can be a step forward.

Case in point is 30-year-old Curtis, a three-time homeowner, who says condo living isn’t just for downsizers and first time buyers.

After experiencing the responsibilities that come with single-family home ownership, Curtis moved back into a townhome.

Curtis started out home ownership with a townhouse and then followed the road most travelled by moving into a single-family home.

At that time the real estate market was brisk and prices were high. He turned his attention to Airdrie, where prices are lower and you can get more home for your dollar.

“It had cheaper houses, it was a cheaper market,” he explains.

However the housing market was still hot and there wasn’t a lot to choose from so he ended up buying a five-bedroom, four-bathroom home and quickly found it was a lot of responsibility.

“It was way too big for me,” he says.

He hired a neighbourhood kid to shovel the walk, but found the cleaning and yard and house maintenance too much work. He said all the obligations of home ownership were not for him.

“All their laws are too much,” he says.

Curtis started looking at moving back to a townhouse in Calgary with the help of his mom, Paula.

“I wanted a more relaxed community,” he explains.

They spent a couple of weekends driving around all day looking at show homes.

“It was quite a lot of work, going from builder to builder and all the different show homes,” he says.

Keeping the privacy of a single-family home was important for Curtis.

“I wanted a townhouse,” he says. “I wanted a garage for my car. I wanted a corner unit – you get more. It’s brighter and you only one have one neighbour. I wanted the privacy I had with the house, so I tried to replicate it with getting a corner unit.”

At first he was looking in new northeast communities like Sky View Ranch and Redstone, which he thought would fit his budget. However, he was still finding that a corner unit was out of reach.

During a visit to a ARRIVE at Sage Meadows show home, they found out about a late development to an existing ARRIVE townhome in Evanston and the $300,000 price tag for a corner unit was in his budget.

Purchasing with Partners Development Group was much different than his experiences with other builders, he says.

“The company has been really accommodating,” says Curtis. “Everybody I’ve dealt with was really great. I told them they should be building everybody’s homes, if this is how they do it.”

His salesperson, Ismahan Omer, was different from others he spoke with, he adds.

“She was always up front and honest,” Curtis says.

Paula agrees Ismahan was great to work with.

“She was so helpful,” says Paula. “She’d find the answers really fast and she was throwing out ideas to help his realtor get his house sold.”

When his possession date had to be moved, she was able to work with the builder to make it happen, Curtis continues.

He moved in on October 7 and says it was easy to get settled.

The 1,300 square foot, two-bedroom, three-bathroom condo was a better size and eliminated the yard work that had gotten away from him in Airdrie, says Curtis.

Because his home wasn’t totally furnished, he didn’t have to eliminate much in the move, but says he is still trying to get organized.

“I threw away a couch, a bed, an old barbecue,” he says. “It was a pretty empty house.”

Not having to worry about yard work has given him more time to keep up with the interior.

“I have been doing a lot more cleaning,” he says.

Curtis both works from home and does a lot of gaming with friends from around the province, so his computers, televisions and gaming systems dominate much of the main floor.

He also has room in his bonus space for his Zwift, a multiplayer cycling game that allows the player to set their bike up to their gaming system and train and compete online.

Moving into the townhouse is part of a lifestyle change that includes better fitness, he says. He’s also already checked out the YMCA at Royal Oak, where he plans on doing some swimming.

What he likes best is that he still has privacy. His patio overlooks Carrington Park, a small playground and skate park, and what he suspects will be a pond in the summer.

“I have no houses in the back, so I always have the blinds in the back open,” he says. “It’s almost like you are on an acreage.”

Moving back into a townhouse has been a great step forward for Curtis.

“Its been good,” he says. “I love it here. It’s so good being back.”

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