Even before dreaming of the kind of home that you hope to buy, you can make your search for one easier by identifying where you would like to live: would you choose the suburbs, a new subdivision or an established neighbourhood?
Try to identify two to three neighbourhoods that you think you might like. Then gather up the family and visit these areas. Drive and walk around these areas on several occasions at different times of the day (including after dark) and on both weekdays and weekends. Try to imagine yourself living there. Talk with people who live in the area if they are out on the street when you're walking about; ask them for their opinion of the area. And see if the neighbourhood "feels" right. You'll know instinctively what feels good and what doesn't.
Perhaps the following suggestions will help you as you explore.
- Does the neighbourhood have the following services? (Shops, Recreation Facilities, Restaurants, Medical Services etc.)
- Do you want to be in a neighbourhood that's close to other family members?
- If you require babysitting or daycare, are they available?
- Is it important for your children to have other kids of a similar age to play with and are there signs that kids live in the area?
- Will you be able to commute to work easily?
- Do you have access to major highways?
- Is public transportation available nearby?
- Can you see evidence of "pride of ownership" in the houses?
- Is the neighbourhood known to be a "safe" neighbourhood?
- How noisy is the street during different times of the day?