After an educational journey involving several countries and provinces in recent years, Janna Plewes is excited about making her home in one of Edmonton's First Place developments.
She's was one of the early buyers for First Place homes in the Caernarvon neighbourhood, where units will be approaching completion in November 2013.
"I came to Edmonton to work with the City in February 2012 and am very happy with my job," say the 30-something social worker. "I plan to be here for a while, and the opportunity to buy my first home was very appealing to me."
First Place homes sell at market rates, but portions of the mortgage related to the land cost are deferred for five years, providing an attractive level of affordability. Owners cannot rent out the property for the period of the deferral, and a condo board ensures exterior maintenance is top-notch.
"That was another bonus," says Janna. "The condo fees are less than half of what I saw in other developments."
She also likes the design of the project, built on a vacant school site declared surplus to school board needs. "I like how First Place homes improve community life in general, and especially neat to have community input into the design of the project. That's fantastic, and something the typical development doesn't involve."
Janna worked with the builder to choose interior colours and upgrades that would really make it her own home, and she can't wait for moving day.
"You are really building your future and your life with a home like this," she says. "I have led a rather nomadic life while working across Canada and internationally and completing my Master's, it's a big deal to settle down for five years. But this program is set up for young professionals who want to settle in Edmonton, and it seems geared for me. It's a good fit for me and where I'm at in my life right now."
Janna will revert to the full mortgage obligation in five years, when she expects to have savings and an income situation that will help her manage the transition. In the meantime she likes the comfort of a new-home warranty on the three bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home, the expectation of a nine-minute commute to downtown Edmonton, and the pleasure of being able to keep her kayak and bicycle with her, rather than parking them at friends' places.
More bonuses: Janna will qualify for financial incentives for her energy-efficient appliances, and she'll be living in a project built by Landmark Homes, a construction company with a "green" reputation for its constructed methods and materials.
For more information on Caernarvon's First Place homes, and other First Place projects planned for Edmonton, please visit edmonton.ca/surplusschools.