When buying a home, there are some key factors to consider before you jump on the internet or into your car to begin your research. Get out a piece of paper and start writing down yours and your family’s criteria.
(1) Your budget
Knowing what you can afford is critical and you should never waiver from this amount. Determining the right budget will also help you to eliminate neighbourhoods that may be out of your price range right now.
(2) Your list of non-negotiables
Make a list of the features that are really important to you and never compromise. When Renée and I were looking for a new home, one of my "must-have's" was a swimming pool. The home I grew up in had a pool and I spent countless hours hanging out there with my friends. Cooking and family dinners are important to Renée so one of her core desires was an eat-in kitchen with lots of counter and storage space.
(3) Your housing requirements
What type of home do you really want? How many bedrooms do you need? Is a home office on the main floor a must or is a rec room in the basement for the kids more important?
(4) Your lifestyle needs
How close do you want to be to your work, family and friends? How important is it to have convenient access to day care, schools, restaurants, public transportation, etc.?
So what makes a neighbourhood special to you? The options are endless.
- An up-and-coming neighbourhood where the entry prices are lower?
- Older neighbourhoods with mature trees and established gardens ?
- Or a newer development where you can start from scratch?
- Quiet streets or a busier, active area where popular "walking streets" are just a short walking distance away?
- Close to parks, conservation and walking trails or a skateboarding park?
- Near big box stores or local boutiques and Farmer's market?
The best way to make sure you’re going to like your new neighbourhood is to spend time there. Be there on a Saturday morning to see what’s happening. Shop in area stores. Pick up or subscribe to the local newspaper. Visit nearby parks and ride the local bus. It's a good idea to spend some time walking through the neighbourhood during the day and evening to get to see its highs and lows.
Happy neighbourhood hunting!