I get it – you want the perfect house. Maybe it’s a dream kitchen, a beautiful yard, or a giant soaker tub. Often, the things we look for are cosmetic and sometimes even easily changeable. However, they are all we focus on. And while I want you to find your perfect home, there are some things to consider about your new neighbourhood as well. Let’s talk about the personality of your neighbourhood, and what to think about besides your perfect house.
Is there a strong community?
Although it isn’t everything, an active community league can demonstrate a lot about your new neighbourhood. Block parties, fundraisers, and gatherings can give you significant insight about your neighbourhood, and what matters to those around you.
When house hunting, this is also a great time to go for a drive in the neighbourhood and see how many people are out in their yards, going for walks, or being social. Depending on what you are looking for in a community, these little snapshots of daily life can reveal a bit about the personality of the neighbourhood. It also gives you a chance to check out the local coffee shops!
Is it convenient?
You’ve probably already considered proximity to work or to a good school for the kids. But what about other amenities that reflect the life you want to live? If you love long meandering walks, you might want to consider access to the ravine or parks. Are you are a foodie? Consider where there are good eats in close range to your new neighbourhood. If you have trouble going a week without a new book, a good bookstore and a quiet coffee shop might be in order. Whatever it is, you are more likely to choose your neighbourhood – and your home – if the things you value most are close by.
Is it noisy?
Not everyone wants to wake up to birds chirping. And not everyone wants to live above a bar that plays live music every night. You should figure out where you are on the spectrum of noise and decide what you want, because this is hard to change after you’ve moved in. Do you like a lively area with lots of activity? Then you want to make sure to check it during a weekday and the weekend and see if it suits you. If you want peace and quiet, you might want to visit on a lazy Sunday and during rush hour on a Friday before a long weekend.
Are you by a major roadway? If you have enough mature trees and sound barriers, it might not matter. Is that quiet, idyllic area adjacent to a busy hospital? It might be quiet now, but what is it like when there are emergencies? How close are you to that fantastic pub or the train station? These are all things to consider. Not just in terms of convenience, but in terms of noise. No, you don’t want to make all of your decisions based on noise, but it’s one of those things that is hard to change once you are living there, so it’s best to know what you are getting into.
How accessible is it?
In some neighbourhoods, parking is at more of a premium than others. When you find the perfect house, it can be easy to convince yourself that you only really need the one spot for street parking. However, if you are someone who loves to entertain, or if you have a teenager, you might want to spend more time considering the parking situation. If you are a public transportation person, then you will want to investigate how easy it is to navigate from your new neighbourhood, especially during work hours. And speaking of that Friday before a long weekend – how accessible is your home when everyone is eagerly trying to get out of town?
It’s nearly impossible to find the perfect house, or the perfect neighbourhood. What is important is to consider what things you can change and what things you cannot, and what will make you frustrated or make you feel at home. The environment around your home might not seem as important as the one inside, but truly – the right neighbourhood can make or break the love you have of your home. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should work for your needs.