Purchasing a new home is an exciting, rewarding and sometimes an overwhelming process. Not only are you looking for a perfect floor plan to suit your needs and choosing finishes to reflect your style and tastes, you also need to take into consideration which neighbourhood you are moving into.
There is a reason home reality TV shows often remind buyers, “Location, location, location!” – it can be an often overlooked but very important part of the home buying process.
Read on for a few tips on how to choose the perfect neighbourhood:
Make a List, Check It Twice
One of the easiest ways to make sure nothing gets overlooked is to make a list. Take a few moments, sit down and write out what you love about your current location, and what you are looking for in your new community.
Consider a brand new neighbourhood with younger families, future schools and planning your landscaping from scratch? Or maybe you love older neighbourhoods for their larger lots, mature landscaping and established schools. Need a local coffee shop nearby for early morning java runs? Want a park down the street for your toddler to burn off energy before bed?
Tip: Websites for purchasing homes, such as realtor.ca list a “walkability score”; this reflects the ease of walking to local amenities, pathways and commuting areas.
Make a Trip of It
Once you narrow down your list of must have’s, the easiest way to get a feel for the community is to take a drive or walk through it! You will easily be able to see things in person that a website listing, builder’s website or lists on paper won’t show you. Think about the things you would like close to you home and see where they are from the community, such as grocery shopping, schools, mailboxes and coffee shops.
Not all new home buyers who are building from scratch are aware of the architectural controls of the community. These are guidelines set by the developer that home building companies must follow.
The best way to narrow down your style, or to check out the guidelines, are in person prior to meeting with your builder. Pay attention to things like the exterior colours and finishes (wood shingles, stone), exterior cladding materials (example: Stucco, vinyl siding or Hardy board), front attached or rear attached garages, Garage door styles, pot lights vs carriage style lights, etc. These won’t necessarily be a deal breaker, but they are always good to consider in advance of meeting with your builder.
Taking the time to think about your wants and needs in your new community and home, will help assist you and your builder (if using one) to find the best community for you and your family. Once you have found the community and the home you want, you are on your way to finding the perfect floor plan to suit your needs and choosing finishes to reflect your style and tastes. This should be a very exciting and rewarding time for you and your family, enjoy all of the choices and getting to know your new neighbourhood.