When you buy a home, you are also buying a neighborhood, the place where you will spend most your social time and where your children will attend school. Before making an offer on a property, you need to check out the neighbourhood and figure out if it’s right for your lifestyle.
Let’s review the best ways you can measure a neighbourhood’s appeal to determine if it’s the right place for you to call home.
Create a Checklist
First thing is to make a list of the things that matter to you. Some are mostly concerned with commute to work where others want the vibe brought forth by local restaurants and bars.
Here are some items for your checklist but be sure to customize it based on what you want from a neighbourhood. This list includes features that people with children should consider.
- Quality and quantity of schools, including daycares
- Social or family programs, including recreational sport leagues, music classes, art classes, libraries, after school programs, etc.
- Walk Score, which measures the walkability of a neighbourhood. This means can residents walk to do their errands and do walking routes exist to local amenities.
- Public transportation, including access to the subway, streetcars and buses.
- Nightlife, which includes cinemas, theatres, bars, cafés and restaurants.
- Green space, including parks, parkettes, dog parks or even hiking trails.
Adjust this list to what you are seeking in a neighbourhood. If you can cross off the majority than a neighbourhood might be a good fit for your life.
The internet is rife with information specific to neighbourhoods. Yelp can give you an idea of the local restaurant scene. Greatschools can help you understand the quality of local schools. Dwellr uses Census Burea Dara to provide statistics on community.
Be sure to leverage the information provided by their online resources to get a better idea of a neighbourhood on your list.
Speak to the Locals
The best way to measure a neighbourhood’s livability is to visit it. Spend time in the popular spots and visit the schools to speak with the administrators.
It’s wise to strike up conversations with the local to get a more personal and honest view of what it’s like to live in the area. You can strike up conversations with people in the coffee shops or restaurants but we would also recommend speaking with the people who work in the area—postal workers, bartenders, store owners, to name a few.
Keep an Eye Out for Red Flags
When neighbourhood shopping, here are a few red flags to be aware of:
- Lack of new developments. This can be proof that the neighbourhood is not experiencing growth.
- Low housing prices. Make sure you look at regional data to see how homes in the area are selling.
- General friendliness. This one is more subjective but try to gauge whether the residents are friendly and what the experience is like patronizing some of the establishments. This can ultimately be very telling.
Happy Home Hunting!
Searching for your next home is a daunting task but understanding what to expect from a neighbourhood can simplify the decision-making process. It will also ensure you aren’t surprised by something local after moving in.
Reach out to us if you are ready to discuss your mortgage options. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.