Location, Location, Location! This old adage is at the centre of your decision-making when it comes to finding your new home. So how do you evaluate a neighbourhood for consideration when you’re searching for homes for sale?
First, Drive Around
Take a leisurely drive through the neighbourhood you’re considering, during the day and at night. Think about how the area makes you feel, and its proximity to places you’ll frequent or places you’d rather avoid. Consider your commute from this location, and visualize yourself living in the neighbourhood as you get to know the streets and shops.
Research Property Values and Future Growth
If property values in the area are stable or increasing, buying a home there is likely a good investment. It is better to buy in the best neighbourhood you can afford, not the best house in a less desirable area. Learn what you can about possible future construction and consider how long you plan to own the home before reselling. Is construction likely to be ongoing at that time, potentially lowering your resale value? Or are you likely to resell after new higher-value builds are completed, strengthening your investment?
Presence of Arts and Culture
It can be beneficial to buy in a neighbourhood that contains or is near to museums, galleries, theatres, opera houses, seasonal festivals, and other cultural amenities. Even if these aren’t places you can see yourself enjoying, they add quality to a neighbourhood and therefore offer a bit of protection for your investment.
School Quality and Educational/Income Profiles
Check out the local schools and what they offer. If the standardized test scores are high, and the school offers many opportunities for extracurricular activity, child care, and parent involvement, the neighbourhood is likely in a higher-quality school district. This may not matter to you now, but it could in the future if your family grows or if you plan to resell. Education and Income Profiles for specific areas are also useful to help you determine if you will “fit in” with the neighbours and if the community is likely to be well-managed.