Real Estate Buying Advice: Research a Home’s Location Before You Buy
Tuesday May 15th, 2018
We’ve all heard the saying before, “Location, location, location.” And, when it comes to buying a home, location is everything – not only for investment purposes, but for the overall enjoyment of your lifestyle.
But, whatever location works best for you will differ from someone else. It’s a very personal decision that should fit your needs, your family and your budget. Heavy research and consideration is recommended because you can change nearly everything about a house, except its location.
Here are some things to think about when evaluating where your next home will reside:
The cost of housing in major centres, like Mississauga, has reached record levels in the last number of years, making it harder for some buyers to get into the neighbourhoods of their choice. When looking to buy a home, you’ll need to research how much it will cost to put a roof over your head in your desired location and compare that to other areas that would also be suitable. House prices will be a key driving factor in your decision and having an open mind to other potential locations may be helpful.
Property taxes and land transfer taxes vary widely from one region to the next and will impact the cost of your house purchase, as well as your monthly operating expenses. It’s important to know these taxes well in advance (and what they cover) because it could limit where you can afford to live.
Type of Home
The type of home that you desire may also influence your location. If you want a two-storey detached on a spacious lot, the downtown core might not be your best option. Vice versa, if living the penthouse dream with views of the lake and restaurants right outside your door is more your speed, then you’ll be limited to certain locations and communities.
Whether you are a parent, a couple, a single person, or a senior, living in a safe neighbourhood is absolutely essential. Many regions offer crime maps and data that provide a realistic picture of the safety of a neighbourhood, but it’s also important to connect with members of your desired community to get their first-hand impressions. High crime areas can also drive up insurance costs, so it’s important to speak with your broker to find out what your rates may be.
If you don’t have a car or prefer to do your errands on foot, walkability is a key consideration when contemplating a location. Your criteria for a walkable neighbourhood is unique to your lifestyle and circumstances, so you need to assess what’s important to you. Do you want to be within walking distance to schools, parks, places of worship, libraries or your work? How about shopping and entertainment? You can view your desired location’s Walk Score here.
Similar to walkability, access to public transportation or even highways for commuting will determine what location is best for you. The Walk Score website is a great resource and can help you get a clear snapshot of your desired location and its proximity to the transportation you require and use. Also, if time permits, try your daily commute before you commit to a certain neighbourhood and ask locals how they find getting around. If you have to pay for parking permits or a spot, this is also important to know.
As a parent, the quality and location of schools in the area will have a major influence on your desired neighbourhood. If you are concerned about the ranking of various schools, the Fraser Institute can shed some light. Or if you want to know what schools fall in which boundaries, each board posts that information online. It’s also important to talk to local parents, meet with principals and research your options offline. Oftentimes, home buyers will choose a school zone first, then look for a home since it’s a critical factor in their children’s lives.
Want to learn more? As a long-time resident of Mississauga and an experienced real estate sales representative serving our community, I work with my clients to help them narrow down their location choices based on the criteria that matters to them most.
To learn more about my comprehensive home buying services, please contact me, Deborah Clerk, Real Estate Sales Representative, ASA, with Keller Williams Realty Solutions Brokerage, for further details.