Finding the Perfect Neighbourhood
Choosing the right neighbourhood is an important part of finding a home. If you love the house but hate the neighbours, or have the perfect kitchen but have an agonizing two-hour commute, you’re never going to feel completely comfortable living there.
Your best bet is to figure out if your neighbourhood is a good fit with your family before you start looking for a home there (or certainly before you put in an offer). Spend some time there; take a walk through the streets, visit local shops and restaurants, and pick up a community paper to get a sense of the area’s personality.
Here are few questions that can help you figure out if a neighborhood is right for you:
How does it look?
What does the area look like? Do homes look cared for? Even in moderately-priced areas, pride of ownership helps keep property values up. Keep an eye out for signs of neglect like overgrown lawns, houses in need of paint and vacant lots (which can be zoned for commercial use, or end up getting used as dumps). On the other hand, if an area has a lot of neglected-looking homes but you notice that a number look like they have been recently renovated, that may be a sign that the neighborhood is becoming gentrified; buying a home there and fixing it up can be a good long-term investment.
Who are your Potential Neighbours?
Take a look around and see what kind of people are living in the area. If there are a lot of retirees it could be much different than young families or professionals with young children. As well if there is a high population of students or rentals then you could be looking at the local party spot. There can be a wide range of individuals living in the area and it's good to get a sense of the community and see if it is a right fit for you.
How long of a commute are you going to have to make if you move into this area? It's great to take a look at how close different shops, restaurants and recreation facilities are to you and see if it fits in with your lifestyle. The commute will end up being one of the biggest decision factors for many people and this should be easy to figure out with a quick Google search.
Is it Safe?
Is it a safe place to live? Vandalism and deterrents like “Beware of dog” signs or bars on windows can mean there’s a high crime rate in the area. Keep an eye out for graffiti, too – it could be a sign of gang activity. Check with local police for info about crimes in the area; they’ll also be able to tell you about how active area residents are in terms of crime prevention and community policing. Also, use your gut and be intuitive while you are there, you should get a good sense of how it feels and trust in your instincts.
What's the School District?
Are there schools nearby? If you have kids, proximity and quality of schools is a major consideration. Talk with people who live in the area, and call local schools or check online to get test scores and ratings. Figure out exactly where schools are located to see if your kids can walk or if they’ll have to be driven or bussed.
Is there Potential Growth?
You always want to be thinking resale value even if you plan on living there for a long time. It's important to take note of the area and any potential growth that could be coming. Getting in on the ground floor can be great for increased profit as you buy at a lower value, watch the neighbourhood flourish around you and the values will increase, that's always a good thing :)
Don't Stress, I have you Covered.
This may seem like a lot to take in and really there is so much more not mentioned here but the good news is you found The Invested Agent. The whole point of using my services is that I handle all of this for you and can help guide you in finding a neighbourhood you like and feel at home in. I truly am invested in my clients and want the absolute best outcome for them at every turn, it only makes sense and it's the only way I know how to do business. Good neighbours, great amenities, nice schools and cool shops can make or break how you feel about your house or condo. Give me a call and we can go over exactly what you are looking for and I will start hunting for you right away.