Choosing a Neighbourhood - Buying
It is important that the neighbourhood you choose to live in is well suited to you and your family. The following is a list of considerations and possible problem areas:
The quality of air, water and soil is a top concern as a polluted neighbourhood can be detrimental to both your health and property value. Ask your real estate agent, neighbours and local media about any known environmental issues in the area.
The home you are considering may be tidy and attractive inside and out, but how does it compare to the surrounding area? Explore the neighborhood, keeping an eye open for signs of neglect (overgrown lawns, houses in need of paint, trash and junked appliances littering yards). No matter how diligent you are in the upkeep of your property, a run-down neighbourhood can drive your property value down.
Check with the local police department to find out if the home you are considering is in a safe neighbourhood. Police may be able to provide statistics regarding break-ins and other crimes.
If you have children, the proximity and quality of schools is an important consideration. Talking to neighbours with school age children can be helpful. In some areas schools will provide data (such as average test scores) that can aid you in determining a school's quality.
Convenient access to public transportation and/or major highways can mean the difference between a pleasurable and not-so-pleasurable commute to work.
Amenities like a grocery store, parks, recreational facilities, post office, dry cleaner and a doctor's office can make life easier if they are located nearby.
By researching the selling prices of homes in over the past decade or so, you may be able to predict future trends. Your real estate agent may be able to provide helpful data.
Avoid unpleasant surprises by finding out what utility costs are before you decide to purchase. Fees for water, electric, cable tv, phone and gas vary greatly by region.
Noise and Nuisances
It can be hard to get an accurate impression of a neighbourhood in just one visit. Be sure to return to the neighbourhood at different times of the day and night. Listen for traffic noise, barking dogs, low-flying airplanes and any other noises that could bother you as a resident.