When you’re ready to enter the housing market as a first-time home buyer, one key part of the home-buying process is choosing the right neighbourhood to live in. After all, your neighbourhood choice can have a significant impact on the types of property that are available to you, the cost of homeownership and your overall enjoyment of your new home and community as mentioned by Duffie Osental from Home Trust.
But how can you tell if the neighbourhood is right for you? We look at some signs to help you decide.
1. It fits your needs and lifestyle.
When looking for a neighbourhood to buy a home in, it pays to think about how a potential area fits your needs and lifestyle. If you enjoy the outdoors, for instance, you will probably want your neighbourhood to have easy access to parks and hiking trails. Or if you’re new to Canada, perhaps you’d want to have a cultural centre nearby.
2. You like the environment.
When you explore the vicinity of a potential neighbourhood, it’s a good idea to ask yourself if you’re happy with an area’s character and feel. For instance, do you want to live in a quiet suburb of detached homes or do you prefer the buzz of the big city?
A good way to get a good feel for the environment is to spend some time walking or driving around at different times of the day and imagine yourself living there. Does it feel like home or is there something missing?
3. You’ve considered your transit options.
Your transit options in a new location may have a significant impact on your expenses and quality of life, so think about what you need to get around in your day-to-day life. For instance, if you feel like you need a car, you will need to add insurance, maintenance and gas costs to your monthly budget.
4. You are comfortable with the cost of living in the area.
The cost of living is the cost of things like housing, food, taxes and healthcare in a given area. This information will give you a better understanding of how much you need to be earning to live in the neighbourhood you’re eying.
One good resource for this information is a real estate agent, who will often have expertise in certain geographical areas. Another great resource is a mortgage broker, who will be able to give you an idea of how much your monthly payments might be in a given neighbourhood.
5. You like where the neighbourhood is heading.
When choosing a neighbourhood, do some research on any future developments that are being planned and ask yourself if that’s something that you’d like to see. For example, are there any new additions to the nearby parks that will be built over the next few years? Are new train lines, bus stops or roads coming soon? It’s prudent to also weigh out the pros and cons of each new development – a new train line and station nearby, for example, may add transit options but it can also result in noisier surroundings.