For many people, buying a house is an exciting journey. While it may be tempting to jump right in and start looking for your dream home, remember that the neighbourhood you select for your family is just as important as the house. Luckily, you can follow the “5 As” to help determine if a neighbourhood is a great fit you and your family!
The first step is affordability. While many neighbourhoods will have homes throughout a range of prices, understanding what your expectations are is a good place to start. If you know that you want a backyard for your kids to play in and the cost of a detached home in a neighbourhood is beyond your price range, it may be a good idea to shift your focus elsewhere. If you’re unsure of your price range, we have some great tools available to guide you in as little as 30 seconds!
Public transit capabilities and nearby schools are always talking points when it comes to buying a house. Bus routes and school choices are certainly important for many home buyers, but there are other amenities that may be forgotten about. Are there banks and grocery stores close by, or even within walking distance? If not, your everyday errands may be spent sitting in traffic. What about nearby entertainment? Does the community have a recreation centre or a large park? And what about restaurants? Some people may want to live in a neighbourhood with a great social house or pub, and some may want to avoid spaces like that altogether. Prioritizing these amenities and doing a little research can maybe change your perception on a neighbourhood before you even look at a listed home.
Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. It is tough to quantify certain visual aspects of a neighbourhood, however, aesthetics go beyond that. How clean are the sidewalks? How well maintained are the parks and city properties? Communities prove that they care when they are kept clean and tidy, whether by the city, the people themselves, or some combination of both.
Neighbourhood and community are often used interchangeably. Throughout this article we have used both terms to describe the same thing. But in reality, a neighbourhood can exist without community. While we have spent this last year mostly on our own, soon we can return to the associations we were used to. If a home buyer wants their neighbourhood to feel like a community, they should look for a neighbourhood with community centres to take classes and join clubs, libraries, parks, and quiet streets with ample space to get out and mingle with neighbours.
Availability is likely the last box you need to check off when deciding on a neighbourhood. With the exception of new developments, most “prime” neighbourhoods likely won’t have a lot of availability. If people love living there, they won’t want to leave! Obviously this is not a very scientific breakdown, but if people are constantly moving in and out of a neighbourhood, there may be a reason! Luckily, everyone has different tastes, needs, and expectations, so if you’ve decided on a neighbourhood to shop within, don’t let the lack or abundance of listings get in the way of finding your dream home!
Armed with these neighbourhood scouting tips, we hope your house hunting journey is a successful one! We can pre-approve you for a mortgage to help make the process even easier. We’d love to have you join our mortgage family!