Where you live affects everything about your lifestyle. Every. Single. Day.
It’s simple: Because you can always change or alter something you don’t like about a particular home. You can paint over some awful colour in the bedroom, upgrade a kitchen, or even budget for a large family room addition.
What you can’t do is change the location!
No matter how much you may love everything about your new home, if you are frustrated with your neighbourhood or it doesn’t fit with who you are or who you want to be, then you aren’t going to be satisfied … ever.
But just because you love a particular neighbourhood, it doesn’t mean you need to limit yourself. It’s possible to find a similar neighbourhood with the same feel and conveniences if you keep an open mind.
Before you start house hunting, it’s worth your time to research as many communities as possible. There could be a hidden gem just for you!
Neighbourhood Research 101
If you’re ready to buy a home, then schedule some time now to gather as much information as you can on different neighborhoods. Don’t eliminate certain areas before you really consider them since you might be surprised how compatible they are with your lifestyle and budget.
Do Some Foot Work
Even though the internet can give you lots of information, you must do your research in person. You can’t feel the vibe and the energy through a screen.
- Ask friends, family or colleagues about neighbourhoods they like, have heard about, and live in. If they live there, ask them what they like. Think about their answers and compare their daily habits to yours. Be adventurous and use these personal contacts!
- Plan to visit friends, family, and colleagues and see their neighbourhoods in person. Meet them for lunch or dinner, walk around, and visit shops and restaurants. You’ll get a better feel for the atmosphere and amenities of the area. Ask for honest and direct answers about schools, crime, traffic, parking, etc.
- Drive around both day and night, rush hour and weekends, and as much as possible to see how the neighbourhood works and functions on a daily basis.
- Sign up for the neighbourhood Facebook group or Nextdoor group! This can give you an insider’s look at a particular location – events, activities, a sense of the community feel, and any ongoing concerns.
Why Does Neighbourhood Matter So Much?
It’s the little daily moments and habits that we have that can so impact our lives. I love the first sip of my dark roast coffee from my local Starbucks each morning so so much that sometimes I think about it the night before.
The whole ritual of the first sip is impacted by where I live. I can walk there in 4 minutes and 30 seconds, with my dog, who sits patiently outside as I pick up my mobile order. As I approach him with my coffee he starts to wiggle with the expectation of the treat in my pocket in thanks for his patience. Living in a walkable neighbourhood, close to work, has always been important to me.
And I bought my first house here with that in mind. But I could, in theory, do the above in many neighbourhoods in this city.
A certain neighborhood may or may not match what you love to do every day or even need to do every day. Figuring out what is important to you is a critical first step in your search for a new home.
Determine what you like most about your day. Write it ALL down:
- Do you love being able to walk or bike to work?
- Do you love going to your local coffee house every day?
- Do you like to go for runs outside?
- Do you need to walk your dog or live near a dog park?
- Do you want to be near work and have a short commute?
- Do you love to be near restaurants, theatres, or close to vibrant hot spots?
- Do you hate crowds, busy streets and traffic?
- How important is a car and/or parking space to you?
- Do you want a car-free life where you can walk, bus or bike everywhere? Or can you never imagine your life without a car?
- Are schools, recreation centres and parks key to your lifestyle?
- Do you feel the need for green space, grass, trees and lots of open space?
- Do you love to garden or want a large backyard for children or dogs? Or is a playground or dog park nearby sufficient?
Same Vibe, Different Neighborhood
Once you determine what you like most about your lifestyle, you can then pinpoint which neighbourhoods meet these needs and preferences.
And, if local prices don’t match your budget, then you can still find the same “neighbourly” vibe in another location if you open your mind to it.
Since your budget will determine what type of home you can afford in a particular neighbourhood – you can reevaluate the features of the home, readjusting to align your needs and preferences with what the market is offering.
Don’t Forget About Resale
There are certain factors in a location – both desirable and undesirable — that you should consider for resale value.
Does the neighbourhood have schools with a good reputation? Is the home on a busy corner lot or on a street with heavy traffic?
Keep in mind that neighbourhoods that are being revitalized can and should be on your list if more established and expensive neighbourhoods are out of your price range. An up-and-coming area could be a bargain if you time it right, but do your research and be confident it’s heading upwards.
Having a hard time deciding which neighbourhood or neighbourhoods you want to live in? I can help with that! Don’t feel like you have to have everything figured out before you reach out!
My job is to help you along the way, even before you are ready to buy. I may even be able to connect with clients that live in the neighbourhoods you are considering to give you the inside scoop!
I'm Liisa and I love helping people moving to Ottawa make their home purchase and transition smooth and seamless. I also love helping sellers get the most for their Ottawa home. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true.
613-898-1184 (call or text)