What to Look For in Communities for Young Families
August 27, 2018 | by QualicoCommunities
When you buy a home, pretty much everything can be changed - countertops can be replaced, walls can be repainted and decks can be refinished or even rebuilt. However, one thing you can’t change is the location.
A great location not only serves to satisfy your family’s needs in the most favourable way possible, it also helps to maintain your home’s value; making it easier to sell down the road. So how can you determine if a neighborhood is truly right for you and your family? Here are 6 tips to help you decide which community to buy in.
When buying a house, it’s perfectly acceptable to knock on your neighbour’s doors to ask them about the neighbourhood and get a sense of who you may be living next to. Younger neighbourhoods that house a lot of university-aged renters can certainly be lively, but they may not be a great choice if your child has an early bedtime. Conversely, a neighbourhood comprised of mostly empty nesters may be a little too quiet and boring for kids.
To get a more complete feel, drive through the area on different days at different times and try to take note of anything you notice. For example, are there young children playing outside, and families out walking and biking? If so, there’s likely not a lot of through-traffic to be concerned about.
Do some research as to what schools are available in the area. Do they have additional programs that would be important to your child, like an opportunity to play on a sports team or attend art classes? If there are only elementary schools in your community, consider how far away middle and high schools are. Will the neighbourhood still work for you in 10 years with an unavoidable change of schools?
Also, check to see if there has been a lottery to attend the local school in recent years. If there has, there’s a chance that your child will need be bussed out of the neighbourhood to attend school.
Consider your commute time to work - will you be commuting an hour each way everyday? While the cost of the home may be cheaper in further communities, it also reduces the amount of family time and increases your transportation costs from higher gas usage and more frequent car maintenance.
Also consider the roads you can use to get to work - if one happens to be closed, are there alternative routes for your commute? And how long would it take to get to work if you chose to take public transportation?
Are there groceries close by? If your child is not yet school-aged, are there daycares within close proximity? Are there medical clinics or hospitals nearby? Having these amenities close by improves the quality of life by allowing you to accomplish your day-to-day tasks much easier.
Other things worth looking into are parks, playgrounds, or maybe even splash parks within the community. These amenities are certainly nice to have, and provide an opportunity to meet other families in the area.
Access to public transportation may not be your main priority if you drive to work, but as your children grow up, they will likely want access to shops and entertainment that aren’t already in the neighbourhood. Plus, ease of transportation may help with the future resale value of your home.
You and your family should feel both comfortable and safe in your home and community. You don’t want to discover after you’ve bought a house that the area you bought into has a high crime rate. Luckily, there are online registries that show the area’s crime rate, including the type of crimes. Also, check Facebook to see if there’s a neighbourhood group that discusses the local happenings, which may include suspicious incidents.