Household Tips

How Do You Choose a Neighbourhood?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Did you read the recent National Post piece on emerging neighbourhoods in the Toronto area? No house is an island: you're going to have to interact with your neighbours, and with your surroundings, at some point. So finding your dream home in the middle of a wasteland isn't really all that helpful. Here are some tips to find the neighbourhood that’s right for you.

Talk with the people who will share your home - most likely, your family. This sounds basic, but it's surprising how many people forget this very simple step. Set aside some time: go out to dinner, have a nice brunch, or find some space in your weekend to have a serious (but still dreamy!) conversation about what's most important to you in a neighbourhood. Is it staying on the opposite side of the city from your in-laws? Is it being close to them? Is it the schools? Is it the commute? Is it having a big yard? It's best to be open and honest about everything you want, and then to find shared priorities.

Take a walk in the neighbourhoods you're interested in. It's easy to miss details when you're in a car or on a bike. If you're seriously considering making an offer on a house, take a walk around the neighbourhood after the open house. Can you easily find services like grocery stores or libraries? Is it a place you would feel safe walking your dog at night?

Decide if, or how, kids will fit into your decision. If you're buying for a family, draw up a list of things you need close at hand for the continued well-being of your kids as they grow up. It might mean being close to grandparents. It might mean being close to dance classes and community pools. It might mean being near certain types of schools. Ask your kids what they want. Get them on board with this change, and the change itself will be easier.

Consider moving to a neighbourhood with a designated Business Improvement Area. BIAs are a sign of community investment in the future, and they're often tight-knit. These areas will have regular events for you and your family to participate in, and they'll offer opportunities for you to improve your own neighbourhood as part of a team effort.

If you're still uncertain, check the coffee shops - yes, I’m serious! Coffee shops are a huge indication of where a neighbourhood is going.

Ultimately, the easiest way to feel great about your neighbourhood years from now is to feel great about it the moment you move in. Part of that is having a clear vision of exactly what you want, but the other part is not getting rushed into a decision. You'll feel better about your choice if you can make it without reservations. Handle the emotional side of the equation, and the rest might just follow.


If you're thinking of buying, selling or leasing a home, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email at any time. I'd be happy to help!

 

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