Isabel Echavarria and Andres Gutierrez, together with their children Santi and Sophia, say owning a home gives them a sense of belonging.

Andres Gutierrez & Isabel Echavarria

Landed immigrants see home ownership as the key to success

For new Canadians, Andres Gutierrez and Isabel Echavarria, becoming real estate savvy in an unfamiliar country took persistence and bucket loads of determination. The couple, who work for the Canadian Red Cross, moved to Calgary from Columbia eight years ago via Montreal. Their goal was to purchase a comfortable home for their young family; they have a six-year-old daughter and a
five-year-old son. Another priority was finding a home with enough space to accommodate visiting relatives. They purchased the O Plan, an optional four-bedroom, two-storey Chalet townhome by Hopewell in the southeast community of Copperfield.

CREB®Now: What was the impetus to move from renting into home ownership?

Andres Gutierrez: We had been paying rent for six years and it was money going out the window. One of the things that had kept us out of the market was the high price of real estate. Now, it is a little bit more affordable. We had some savings, so we said: ‘let’s stop throwing money away and settle down.’

My advice is this: buying a house here in Canada is the key to your success.

CREB®Now: Why did you choose the community of Copperfield and Hopewell’s Chalet Homes?

Andres Gutierrez: Initially we wanted to purchase a single family home so we hired a REALTOR® to take us around. But our budget was quite limited and we really couldn’t find anything in our price range that we liked. We looked all over – Chestermere, Airdrie and in all of the communities in Calgary. We decided we wanted to stay in the southeast corner of the city, because we knew it. We had rented in Cranston for six years and after looking at resale homes, we decided we wanted something new, something fresh, a home that we could put our energy into. We liked what we saw with Hopewell. We didn’t need to go anywhere else. It’s a great design that works for our family. What really sold us were the finishes and standards.

CREB®Now: Do you have any advice for new Canadians wanting to buy a home?

Andres Gutierrez: My advice is this: buying a house here in Canada is the key to your success. Even though we are landed immigrants and my kids are Canadian, owning a home gives us that sense that we belong. It gives us ownership and security. It says: I am here and I am here to stay and raise my family.

But before you start investing, you need to have a plan. Sit down with an advisor, someone who can help you lay (out) your plan. And know that it will take time. It took us two years to get everything in line for our mortgage and to find our house. But don’t give up – you need to pursue your dream and look until you find what you want.

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