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When you’re in the market for a new place to live, it helps to remember the golden rule of real estate: You’re not just buying a home — you are also becoming part of a neighbourhood.
All neighbourhoods are not created equal and there’s no such thing as the perfect neighbourhood; everyone has different needs and desires.
However, there are components common to all great neighbourhoods. As you evaluate the best aspects of a prospective neighbourhood, you’ll want to match them to your daily needs.
- Lifestyle match
Is the neighbourhood in sync with your current lifestyle? Homebuyers tend to gravitate to areas with similar demographics. Just as a fantastic suburban neighbourhood in a gated community may not be right for a young single professional, a family with three small children might not find a small condo in a hip downtown neighbourhood to be the best fit for their lifestyle.
- Pride in ownership
Pride in ownership is obvious when the residents maintain their homes and care about their neighbourhood. Neighbours connect and create local groups that bring the residents together for the betterment of the area.
- Low crime rate
Low crime rates give a neighbourhood a sense of ease and calm. Crime rates are a quick way to tell if a neighbourhood is improving or not, since everyone is concerned with safety and security. You can usually spot a transitional and improving neighbourhood by the improvement in its crime rates.
- Great schools
For homeowners with children, great schools top the list of what makes a great neighbourhood. Not only are great schools important for families with children, but they also make the surrounding neighbourhoods more valuable and more sought after, keeping property values strong.
- Outdoor activities abound
Being close to the outdoor adventures you love can sweeten the appeal of your neighbourhood. Being close (or within a reasonable drive) to places to jog, sail, or pedal can keep you in love with your home. Proximity and access to tennis courts, neighbourhood swim clubs, and golf courses are also qualities that keep your neighbourhood on par.
- Stepping back in time
There’s something about an area with history that makes it very desirable. Tree-lined streets give neighbourhoods a charming, older, and established feel.
These neighbourhoods are usually very stable, with long-time residents and community support, which also helps encourage safety and low crime rates.
- Access to medical care
Being close enough to get to a hospital or doctor’s office quickly is key for many people, especially for seniors, retirees, and families with young children.
Neighbourhoods where plenty of families live are a real draw for buyers with children. There are more opportunities for children to play, socialize, and make lifelong friends. Carpooling groups and other children’s programs are much more accessible when the neighbourhood is overflowing with kiddos.
- Close to public transportation
Easy access to public transportation is a fantastic plus for a neighbourhood and an amenity for almost any lifestyle. From a commuting millennial to a retiree who wishes to keep the car at home, public transit is a solid upgrade to any neighbourhood.
- Nearby shopping and restaurants
If you want to join the hustle and bustle (and don’t want to cook dinner every night), having great restaurants, shopping, and markets in close proximity is a must!
- Nightlife and entertainment
Is there a nearby town centre or downtown with movies, theatres, bars, and nightlife? This could be the one thing that makes your neighbourhood come alive. This is a priority for anyone who is young and single, but everyone appreciates a neighbourhood where the hot spots are within walking distance or a short cab ride away.
Being able to leave the car keys at home and hit the pavement to walk to markets, shopping, restaurants, parks, and all the other amenities your neighbourhood has to offer can alleviate a lot of road rage … and make you fall even more deeply in love with your neighbourhood.
We may be biased, but we think that the Kitchener -Waterloo area offers all kinds of great neighbourhood features. If you ever have any further questions feel free to reach out and ask, we’ll be happy to help. Or check blogs like Moving to KW, a resource for what’s hot, new or cool in our area.