Location Location
Finding your way home

When you're buying a home, the location is just as important as the home itself. It impacts your quality of life and the resale value of your home. Most realtors agree that the first step in home-hunting should be narrowing your search to a specific neighbourhood.

First, look at your lifestyle and future plans. Will you need schools or public transit nearby? What about green spaces or recreational facilities? What's the maximum daily commute you're willing to make? Think about your family and friends - do you want to live close to them?

Once you've determined your needs, your realtor can source information about different neighbourhoods, pricing trends and community information using RealtyLink.ca, the Real Estate Board's comprehensive listings and information source.

Spend time researching neighbourhoods that interest you. Talk to the residents and merchants. Go for a walk in the local park. Have coffee in the cafés and try out one or two restaurants. Read the community newspaper to get an idea of community activities, issues and concerns.

Also, consider these issues:

Zoning and community planning. Find out what plans are in store for your neighbourhood - perhaps there are some new developments, infrastructure or zoning changes. You can get zoning by-laws and a copy of the community or neighbourhood plan from the local city hall.

Safety & noise. Visit the community at different times of the day and night to determine safety and noise levels in the area. will you feel comfortable walking at night? Will the noise keep you awake? Check with the local police department for statistics on break-ins and other crimes.

Schools. Drop by the local schools and ask about class sizes, programs, activities and parental involvement. If schools are crowded, find out if there are plans for expansion. Even if you don't have children, the quality of the local schools affects the value of your home.

With your realtor's assistance and your own research efforts, you're sure to end up in a neighbourhood that's right for you.