When looking for your dream home, it’s not enough to just look at the property itself. You also need to check the neighbourhood’s foundations.
Envision the future you want for your family, especially if you plan on making the neighbourhood a home for a long time to come. Speak to your family about what they want before you fall in love with a gorgeous place that won’t afford them their dream lifestyle. Do they see a slow, relaxing life behind a white picket fence, where they get to know all the neighbours? Or do they want to be in the mix of things? It doesn’t help if you have a beautiful home that isn’t in a neighbourhood that “works” for all of you.
Get the “hole” truth
Always dig deep into any property you’re considering – forget about the potting spade, think more along the lines of a mining-scale excavator.
Enquire about the crime rate. Visit the local schools. Speak to agents about the surrounding homes’ property values or get these online. Check with the local municipality to see what kind of developments are in the pipeline.
Importantly, don’t make your judgement of a neighbourhood based only on the few minutes you spend looking at the property. If you’re really serious about a purchase, spend some time in the area to really get a feel for what living there would be like. Take a drive, go for a run or bicycle ride, or take the dog for a walk and immerse yourself in the atmosphere. Make sure you go at different times of the day and over both the weekend and the week.
Amenities and infrastructure
Amenities and infrastructure play a role not only in the current and future property value, but also in whether or not a neighbourhood is going to be the right fit for you. What’s good for one family might not be good for another.
Think about what the daily commute is going to be like. Don’t think that a great home is going to make up for hours in the traffic. Consider which amenities you want near you. Some people want to be near schools, while others prefer shops and restaurants, while others prefer parks.
Buying a home is probably going to be the biggest financial investment of your life but it’s also going to be a major material factor on the quality of your life. So get out your shovel and start digging deep.