As a husband, father and president of the Kerby Centre, Zane Novak has some big milestones under his belt, but his first home purchase still ranks as one the most notable experiences to date.

“We bought a new three-bedroom, four-level split bungalow in Cold Lake in 1989 for $86,000,” said Novak. “That first house is a significant step in one’s life and having our first child born during our time there made it all the more memorable.”

Since the house was under construction when Novak made the deal, he and his wife were able to select many aspects of the interior, such as floor coverings, light fixtures and a wood stove. He also did a lot of work himself, installing a charcoal-black driveway and building a deck and fire pit in the backyard.

“From our deck we could see right into trees and bushes, and at least one morning a week, there would be a black bear in the yard as I was having my coffee,” he said.

“I would advise young people today to ensure they research agents and find one who can answer questions that you didn’t even know to ask.”

That’s not to say everything was smooth sailing for Novak. At 28 years old, he found the homebuying process a bit intimidating.

“I had to do a lot of self-educating at a time when the Internet was quite rudimentary. I would advise young people today to ensure they research agents and find one who can answer questions that you didn’t even know to ask,” he said.

“As in any aspect of life, a lack of knowledge will cost you money. Involving the right agent and mortgage broker, people who possess experience in the marketplace and have your best interests at heart, can make the experience more comfortable and save you thousands, especially as a first-time buyer.”

In many ways, Novak’s role with the Kerby Centre gives him a unique appreciation of homes and their impact on our lives. Located in southwest Calgary, the centre is a not-for-profit organization committed to enhancing the lives of older adults.

“Owning a home is even more cherished as people age and come to value that sense of community and security,” he said. “The majority of older adults and seniors prefer to age at home, as many of them have lost friends and find that a home is their touchstone, their anchor and their safe spot. As critical as that first house purchase can be, it’s equally important to age comfortably in your home.”