Wanted: The Perfect Neighborhood
We all want to find the best location for our new home and have neighbors that we can get along with. Sometimes that is easier said than done!
It is impossible to fully know what your community will be like until you actually move in and start connecting with people. There are ways, however, to help you narrow down which neck of the woods will suit you best.
The easiest way to start is online. You can begin by mapping out your dream housing market. Check out any adjacent up-and-coming neighborhoods. These new areas will most likely have better deals but will also grow into an idyllic neighborhood as the population grows outside of the popular places.
The many realty websites out there help you search listings that are in your ideal neighborhood or location. The top websites in Canada for housing are www.realtor.ca, www.remax.ca and www.comfree.com.
You can also check out the city or town website for information on your ideal neighborhoods. Look for transit information, local restaurants and shopping centres.
Local newspapers usually have online forums where you can check out what the talk of the town is and get a sense of what the community is like.
Once you have researched and compiled your top 5 neighborhoods, go for a test drive. This is the best way to get an idea of what the area is like. Listen to word of mouth as well – if a certain neighborhood already has a bad rap it is best to look elsewhere.
While you are cruising around the neighborhood, ask yourself some questions:
Do people have pride in their home?
If the homes and yards are well-maintained this is usually a good indicator that the community is invested in their homes. Dishevelled homes and yards are a sign that the neighborhood may be declining and not a place where you should be investing thousands of your dollars.
Who’s hanging out?
Pay attention to who is outside. Would you feel comfortable saying ‘Hi’ to everyone? Are people outside doing yard work or are there packs of skivvy teenagers lingering?
What’s close by?
You want to make sure that you pick a location that can serve most of your needs. Check out what shops are close-by and test out some of the restaurants. Also, keep in mind what your commute time will be in rush hour.
What is it like at night?
Boy oh boy can things change when it gets dark. Drive around the area in the evening and see what goes on. Is it still quiet?
Most importantly, have fun while looking for your ideal neighborhood. Enjoy the scenery, rather than letting it stress you out.
Do you have any good or bad neighborhood stories to share with us? We’d love to hear about them!