When we are looking for our dream home, we are not just looking for a well-appointed kitchen, beautiful flooring, or a spacious living room – we are also looking at the bigger picture, and a great neighbourhood is just as important as a great house.
Finding the perfect neighbourhood will ensure you enjoy living in your new space – consider these tips:
Know What You Want – The first step to finding the perfect neighbourhood is knowing exactly what perfect means to you. Identify your priorities and ‘must-haves’. Make a list of what you want and decide which points you are unwilling to compromise on. Be aware of what you do not want and what your current area lacks. Consider things like schools, accessible transit, local businesses and even specific things like where you want to be walking your dog in the mornings or where you will be buying your morning cup of coffee.
Be Informed – Once you have a good idea of what you want – do some research. The easiest way to get pertinent neighbourhood information is by speaking with an experienced Realtor®. You can also do your own research by looking on Google Maps and looking up schools, amenities, local businesses, etc. Property values in a particular neighbourhood will also be a good indicator of how prominent the area is.
Visit the Neighbourhood – A neighbourhood might look good ‘on paper’ but you will not really know if you like it until you see it for yourself. After speaking with your Realtor® and collecting all the information you need, narrow down your favourite options and spend a few days touring the areas.
Take a Good Look Around – When you tour the area, what do you see? Are there people walking around outside? Are the homes well taken care of? Are there flourishing businesses and well-maintained public spaces? Visually survey the area and look for any signs of disrepair. First impressions are important – you should feel good about the neighbourhood as soon as you get there.
Listen – While you walk around, stop from time to time to just close your eyes and listen. Do you hear loud traffic? Airplanes flying overhead? A train passing? It is easy to get caught up in all the sights of a neighbourhood and not really notice all the ambient noise that surrounds it. Pay close attention to any noise pollution that is apparent in the area.
Visualize Yourself There – Can you picture yourself living in the area? Visualize your daily routine in each neighbourhood – what will your drive to work look like? Where will you walk your dog in the mornings? How far will you be traveling for your morning cup of coffee? Where will your kids be waiting for the school bus, or how far will they be walking to school? Think about all aspects of your routine. Does everything just seem easier in a particular neighbourhood?
Visit Often – In order to get the complete picture, visit neighbourhoods at different times of the day and make sure to scope out the area on a weekday as well. A neighbourhood might seem serene at 2pm on a Saturday, but a Monday morning visit might reveal heavy traffic and commotion. Drive through the area at night – do you feel safe? Ensure that you feel good about the neighbourhood at all times of the day.