neighbourhoodPerhaps you always envisioned yourself living in a specific neighbourhood: your favourite shops are there, the local pub that has amazing draft brew and that amazing fruit market that you go out of your way to frequent.  Maybe it’s where you grew up, or you’ve rented in the area for quite a while.   Other times budget restraints, a specific housing needs (or wants) or a job re-location can have you exploring new areas that you might not be familiar with. It is wise to thoroughly inspect a neighbourhood  before committing your search to a select region.  Below are 5 ways to gain insight on whether or not a location is right for you:

  1. Visit the area at different times of day or week

Sure the area may be a bustling area when you visit on Saturday afternoon, but what is it like on a Tuesday morning or late at night?  Do you feel safe?  Is there an unsavoury element that you never noticed before?  Take note!

  1. Talk to locals

When you visit the area talk to locals and shop owners.  Find out what they love about the area, and what they don’t.

  1. House sit

Offer to house sit, pet sit or place swap with a friend who lives in the area you’re considering buying for a few days or longer.  This will give you a better idea of what it would really be like to live there.

  1. Consider walk scores and transit

Sometimes we don’t know how much we appreciate a person (or a quick commute) until it’s no longer available.  Take travel time into consideration when exploring a new area.  A quick drive or bus ride on a sunny June afternoon may be significantly different on a snowy February morning.

  1. Think long term

If you think you may want to start a family in the near or not too distant future, consider looking at local child care options, local early year centre locations, how local schools score based on academic performance and how far these facilities are from where you intend to live.