What to look for when searching for the right community

Home School Building 101 Home Buying Tips

Finding the right community to live in can be challenging. It’s a delicate balance of deciding what’s right for you now, what will be right for you in the future, and what’s important for your lifestyle. Here are some factors to keep in mind when searching for the right community.

The community will work for you in 5+ years

When looking for the right community, ask yourself if it’ll still work for you in at least half a decade or more from now. For example, if you’re planning to have children, does the community have elementary schools and daycares? Or if you already have children, are there secondary schools and opportunities for extra curricular activities (like a skating rink or dance studio) close by?

What if your job changes - can you easily commute to other areas of the city, or would you be faced with a much longer commute? Buying a home is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) investment you’ll ever make, so make sure the neighborhood suits your needs for many years to come.

The amenities suit your needs

It is becoming increasingly popular to have amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, and banks within walking distance as people are looking to save on transportation costs and reduce their environmental footprint. If amenities aren’t within walking distance, consider the distance to public transportation. In both Calgary and Edmonton, you may not be close to central areas but you can at least be a short walk from an express bus or a train station.

The neighbourhood is safe

To be happy with where you live, you shouldn’t have to think too much about safety beyond reasonable precautions. It is shown that when residents live in an environment where they don’t feel safe, they have higher levels of anxiety, and are less friendly to other residents.

The schools have a good reputation

Many homeowners and prospective homeowners are looking for a community where schools make the grade. In fact, a 2013 study by Realtor.com found that 91% of respondents said schools were important in their search for a home.

And even if you don’t have kids, having a good school in your area may be something to consider anyway since schools could significantly affect a home’s resale value.

There’s a healthy owner vs renter ratio

When looking for a community, it may be worthwhile to look into neighbourhoods where there are notably more owner-occupied homes than rentals. The reason for this is owners are more invested in the care and maintenance of their property. On average, owners are far more likely to maintain their lawns and gardens, shovel their sidewalks, and replace aging infrastructure, like roofs, compared to rental units.

Also, if you’re looking for a sense of community, homeowners are typically more invested in the neighbourhood that they live in. They are more likely to participate in local events and get to know their neighbours. In general they are more satisfied with their living situation than renters.

Home prices are on the rise

When the value of homes climb in a neighbourhood, it’s a good marker that it’s a great place to live. It shows that there’s steady demand for housing in the area, which is indicative of desirability.