This is the last installment of a four-part homebuying series for new Canadians in partnership with the Epoch Times. Each month, the series has explored hot-topic issues such as understanding market trends, processes for buying a home, determining factors that influence house prices and more.

Emigrating to Canada six years ago, China born Yi-Chen “Nicky” Liao has made Calgary her home.

As both an immigrant and real estate agent, Liao has particular insight into the local housing market for newcomers to Canada, and shared some of that wisdom, along with a few Calgary particulars, with CREBNow.

CN: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Liao: I am from a Mandarin speaking background, but all my post-secondary education was in London, England.

CN: How often do you come across newcomers in the city?

Liao: Newcomers to Calgary consist of a majority of my clientele. They trust me for being honest with them and educating them on the nuances of the Calgary market.

CN: What’s the first thing a newcomer to Calgary should do when starting the search for a new home?

Liao: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. should be one of the first websites they start with. Information in eight different languages is available and the resources are well researched and reliable. The City of Calgary website also provides lots of useful resources, including community profiles (that can) enhance newcomers’ knowledge in the neighbourhood they’d like to settle in.

CN: What’s the best advice you can give someone new to the city looking for a home?

Liao: Obtaining current research on Calgary’s many communities and getting a pre-approved mortgage from a lender are both equally important to save newcomers a lot of time without unnecessary frustrations. Prioritizing what you need in a home helps. A trustworthy REALTOR should be able to help you through your first purchase in Calgary.

CN: What’s the best thing about living in Calgary?

Liao: Calgary is such a young, exciting, thriving city. It’s safe, family-oriented and full of opportunities.

CN: What, if anything, is Calgary’s greatest weakness?

Liao: Let’s be honest, the winter can be unbearable sometimes. But luckily, we’re blessed to have Chinooks to break up the cold weather.

CN: What’s the best way to spend a day off in Calgary?

Liao: When the weather permits, spending a day off in the Rockies to refresh the mind is always a treat. If the weather gets too harsh, strolling in the mall, enjoying some great food, or simply seeing a movie can also be relaxingly pleasant.

CN: What’s Calgary’s best-kept secret?

Liao: I am a member of the Rotary Club of Calgary, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary (of) serving communities locally, nationally and internationally. It contributes back to society by helping people in need around the world, and has accomplished numerous projects. for example, End Polio has been one of Rotary International’s leading projects, and Rotarians have helped immunize more than two billion children against polio in 122 countries. Rotary, along with its partners, has reduced polio cases by 99 per cent worldwide since the first project to vaccinated children in the Philippines in 1997 and is now close to eradicating polio.