Choosing The Neighbourhood That’s Right For You

Last Updated on Tuesday, 5 June 2012 08:08 Written by Stefan Tuesday, 5 June 2012 08:08

When buying a home, the neighbourhood you select will not only play a pivotal
role in your family’s life, but in the resale value of the property.

One person’s ideal neighbourhood however may vary greatly from another’s.
But, regardless, there are some needs and wants that generally do not change.
The distance from your new home to schools, churches and shopping, for example,
will not only affect how you and your family settle into your new home, it
will also draw or turn off a perspective buyer.

A good first step is to enlist the services of a REALTOR who works in the
area you are thinking of moving. REALTORS are very familiar with the communities
in which they work and can answer many of the questions you will develop during
your search.

Check the lifestyle

A home is a part of a larger community. And some are more desirable than others.
Some communities are geared more to young families, others to older adults
and still others to singles or an eclectic mix of residents.

Never buy in an unfamiliar community or neighbourhood unless you have spent
some time there both during the week and on weekends, day and night. Drive
and walk around. Talk to store owners and people you meet on the street. Ask
what they think of the neighbourhood.

If there are vacant tracts of land where you plan to buy, check with local
authorities to see what the proposed land use might be. The last thing most
homeowners want is the development of a mall or a high-rise office building
across the road from their newly-purchased property.

Don’t let particular things in a home that appeal to you override its location
and potential subsequent resale value. When analyzing a potential property,
ask yourself if you can imagine living — not just in this home — but in this
neighbourhood for quite a long time.

Remember that someday you may have to sell your home to someone else and things
that may not be important to you — such as distance to schools, shopping,
doctors and work — may be important to other buyers.

Location, location

In addition to finding the right neighbourhood, consider the immediate homes
around the particular property you want to buy. Are they well maintained
and worth the same or more than the home you are considering?

Is the location a quiet area or a major traffic thoroughfare? What kind of
privacy does the backyard provide? Does it get the morning or afternoon sun?
If there is no house behind you, who owns the property and how will it be developed?

Homes located further away from the centre of an urban area are generally
cheaper. Are you prepared to invest the time and money it takes to commute
and how long of a commute are you prepared to commit to? Is there public transit
and good access to major highways nearby?

If you have kids in school, what kinds of schools and services are available?
Will your kids have to be bused to their school? If a school is close by, will
they have to cross any major intersections?

Being close to a school, on the other hand, may have some drawbacks — few
owners want the noise and disturbance of being located right next door.

Finding malls, grocery and specialty stores in urban, residential areas is
rarely a problem. But in neighbourhoods further away from urban areas, you
may need to drive to the nearest convenience store. And getting to the local
grocery store, pharmacy and other support services may require an even longer

It’s great to be located near parks and recreational facilities, but few homeowners
appreciate the high cast of tennis court lights beaming into their back yard.
If the home you are considering backs onto such property, drive around the
area and see how often the baseball diamonds, soccer fields, swimming pools
and skating rinks are being used and when.

More serious concerns are having such things as gas stations, airports, railway
tracks, commercial developments, major highways and cemeteries very close by.

Finally, if your heart is set on finding that one-of-a-kind 150-year old Georgian
home, you’re not going to find it in a newer development. If you want large
bedrooms and bathrooms, narrowing your search to an older part of town where
homes are generally smaller, may prove disappointing.

Before making any decisions, think of your lifestyle and how a particular
location would enhance or detract from it.


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