When it comes to Canadian real estate we’re fortunate to have clean, livable cities, neat and attractive subdivisions, and neighbourhoods that are ideal places to live, work and play in. When it comes to finding the right community for you, it's not so much a matter of finding a good community, as picking the best of many.
Of course, every area has its good and bad points. It’s easy to learn the pluses when you’re out looking at homes for sale – those features will be trumpeted in the real estate listings and by the seller’s agent. But uncovering an area’s/home's drawbacks takes a little more digging.
The first place to head to is your local Royal LePage real estate office. Royal LePage agents have a wealth of knowledge about the communities within their territory. They can help you choose the neighbourhood that is best suited to you and your family, and show you the best places to look for homes for sale.
Ask your real estate agent about any known environmental issues in the area. Check with neighbours and the local media about air, water and soil quality. Environmental issues can be detrimental to your health and property values in that housing market.
Explore the neighbourhood, keeping an eye out for signs of neglect, such as houses with overgrown lawns, vandalism and litter in yards and alleys. No matter how diligent you might be at keeping your property in top shape, a run-down neighbourhood will drive your property value down.
Check with the local police department to find out if the house 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, education is one of the most important considerations in finding a new house. Are there schools within walking distance, or will your children have to take the bus? How do the local schools compare to other schools in the area? If your children need them, are religious or special-training educational facilities nearby your desired housing?
Talking to neighbours with school-aged children can be helpful. In some areas, school boards can provide important information to help you determine the quality of schooling in a particular housing market.
Convenient public transportation, good access roads, and major highways nearby can mean the difference between a pleasurable and not-so-pleasurable commute from your new house to work.
Take a look around for all the amenities you will need: shops, grocery stores, dry cleaners, restaurants, medical and dental offices, parks, and recreational facilities. Having a vibrant community with all the modern conveniences can make life a lot easier. You can save some gas by simply looking at community business listings.
Property values are a good indicator of how well a community is perceived. We can can help you understand the state of the local housing market, how property values have changed over the past few years, and how they compare to equivalent communities in nearby areas. You can also get a general idea of average house prices by perusing real estate listings for the area.
Avoid unpleasant surprises by finding out about municipal taxes and utility costs before you decide to purchase. Fees for water, electricity, cable TV, phone and gas vary greatly by region.
First impressions are not necessarily the most accurate impressions. It is a good idea to come back to the neighbourhood at different times of the day and different days of the week. Listen for traffic noise, barking dogs, low-flying airplanes and any other noises that could indicate problems.