Location, Location, Location
When moving to a new home, location truly does matter. Even your dream house might not seem as perfect if the neighbourhood isn’t a good fit. If you want to make sure you find a good location for you and your household, consider all the factors that make up your ideal community.
Even if you want to move to a rural property, it’s important to note how far away you are from shops, schools, hospitals and community centres. New developments are great, but they often put the cart (the home) before the horse (the services). When buying new, find out the plans for the whole community.
For established neighbourhoods, look for walkable areas with green spaces, shops, restaurants, schools and more.
For condo (and single-family home) buyers, what your windows face could be a deciding factor. Do you have a waterfront or skyline view? Does your backyard face a ravine or green space? If there is a small price difference between a unit with a view and one that faces another building, take the view if you can manage the cost.
What your window faces can also affect your comfort. If you are very close to a neighbouring property, you might feel like you have little privacy and have to keep your curtains closed most days. Focus on your quality of life.
But if having a view doesn’t matter much to you as long as you’re close to amenities, you’ll have more options. Also, be careful not to pay a premium for an amazing view if there is a possibility that another development could be built in front of you. Look at the surroundings and judge accordingly.
Access to transit
More and more cities are placing a greater importance on their transit system and getting more people on it. If you are a one-car family, a non-driver or just someone who wants to drive less for economic or environmental reasons, access to transit will be an important factor when choosing a neighbourhood.
Are you near a bus stop or transit hub? How often does the system run, and how late? Are there reliable rush hour, weekend and evening services? If transit is important to you, do your homework before settling on a neighbourhood.
Traffic, noise and activity
When visiting houses, you should go during different times of day — weekdays, weeknights and weekends. See what it’s like at rush hour and on a Sunday afternoon, as you don’t want to be sold the promise of a quiet neighbourhood if traffic is a nightmare at peak times. Alternatively, you don’t want to be promised a lively, happening neighbourhood when it’s sleepy at best.
While you might not find a place in your price range that checks all your boxes, it’s important to research and assess different areas so that you have all the facts before putting in an offer.