Newly graduated Montreal couple find all they want in a new townhome by Cantiro in the new southeast community.

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They weren’t planning on buying a new southeast Edmonton home.

Actually, they weren’t planning on buying at all. Being recent university graduates, they thought they would be renters.

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Taking this back a step further, Edmonton wasn’t even on their radar. But that’s when everything changed for Séverine Lee-Fun and Chaitya Rao, two Montrealers who now find themselves as first-time Edmonton homeowners.

“We’re very happy as we never thought we’d own a house almost right after graduating from university,” said Lee-Fun. “We assumed our plan would be similar to most of our friends who are renting right now and saving up to have their own place. We feel very lucky that things fell into the right place at the right time for us.”

Among those things that fell into place was a cheaper cost of living here, and that what they were paying in rent in Montreal is comparable to their mortgage payment here.

So just how did they end up in a brand new three-storey Cantiro townhome in the Hills at Charlesworth, a popular newer community that is nearing completion?

As the couple puts it, it was unexpected as they weren’t really thinking about leaving Montreal.

“We both thought we may move to Ontario at the furthest upon graduation if we don’t find jobs in Montreal,” said Lee-Fun. “It was actually me who found Chaitya’s (Edmonton area’s) internship opportunity online and asked him to apply for it. Like the house, things fell right into place for us and we are very happy to where it got us.”

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Heading West

The dominoes started falling when Rao was accepted into that mechanical engineering internship a few years back.

Then renting in Fort Saskatchewan, they found themselves spending practically every weekend in the southern part of Edmonton at Ikea in South Edmonton Common or at the outlet mall on the airport’s doorstep. “We were pretty big on shopping,” said Lee-Fun.

But it turned out there was more to Edmonton and Alberta than just the retail therapy. Both found that they liked what the province had to offer.

“To be honest, we really loved living in Alberta,” said Rao. “It was our first time coming to the west; seeing the mountains.”

Amongst some back and forth between Edmonton and Montreal — Rao had a year of university to finish, and his internship landed him a full-time job pending completion of his degree — the couple returned last summer and decided it was time to house hunt.

We kind of looked everywhere,” said Rao. “One thing Séverine really wanted was a new build, a brand new place she can call hers.”

That new build almost landed them in Chappelle Gardens in the southwest but things didn’t work out. But by chance they found something similar in The Hills at the end of last August, and by mid-November they took possession of Cantiro Homes’ Tailored 18, a 1,450-square-foot townhome with three bedrooms and 2½ bathrooms.

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The townhome’s features include three floors of living space above ground, oversized windows on every level for natural light, an expansive second-level balcony with metal railings and a double car rear-attached garage. The townhomes are fully landscaped and have no condo fees.

Lee-Fun and Rao were drawn in by the size of the townhome as others they saw came in around 1,100 to 1,200 sq. ft. But that wasn’t the only drawing card. In no particular order, they liked the double-car garage as others were single-car garages or had two tandem spots, there’s a flex room on the main floor, which they’ve turned in a guest bedroom, and that these townhomes were not nestled together with other townhome buildings all around them. They also like The Hills’ close proximity to the Anthony Henday.

“Everything here is perfect for us, it’s just what we were looking for,” said Lee-Fun. “It almost feels like a single-family home,” added Rao.

Last Chance

It was named Edmonton’s best community in both 2022 and 2023, and The Hills is up for the award again for 2024 from the Canadian Homes Builders’ Association Edmonton Region’s Awards of Excellence in Housing.

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Its Sustainability Plaza, meanwhile — the community’s main park, which includes an ice ribbon, playground and salvaged-material warming huts — won the Royal Town Planning Institute International Award for Planning Excellence. If you’re interested in buying new at The Hills this could be your last chance.

The community is now selling its final phase, said Etta Fung, Cantiro’s area sales manager.

The townhomes, like the one bought by Lee-Fun and Rao, are quite popular, said Fung, noting they start at $380,000, including GST.

“The Hills is really reaching that 90 per cent completed mark,” said Fung, adding that Cantiro Homes only has a small number of homes left, though other builders would have a bit more inventory.

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