7 key points to consider when choosing the right neighbourhood for you. There are sooo many variables and things to consider when looking for the correct home to buy, not only does it become your own piece of the Australian dream but it truly will be your castle, your secret sanctuary and somewhere that those magical memories are made.
Chances are you will have already put a lot of thought into roughly where you would like to stake a claim and start placing your roots. This article is simply a guide to get you thinking “big picture” and help make a more informed decision when it comes to the suburb or locations for you.
When it comes to the suburbs; we generally look at locations that offer: Convenience, familiarity, support networks for example our family/ friends etc. but what about expanding outside your comfort zone? What about asking ourselves those nitty gritty questions that we seem to sometimes forget?…or didn’t even cross our minds to ask?
So let’s ask ourselves:
Is the neighbourhood safe?
One question that should take precedence above everything else! After all if you are thinking of starting a family I don’t know a person alive that would want to put their loved ones at risk.
A great tip here is to pick up a copy (or look up online) the local newspaper – these will always have a local report with such things as break-ins, traffic reports etc. Thus enabling you to get a big picture of the overall suburb.
Another tip is your local law enforcement agency, with crime rate statistics available and crime hot spot reports. Believe it or not even visiting your local “cop shop” will produce a huge amount of knowledge into the area as they are often very open to giving advice when it comes to helping protect the public.
What is your 5 year and 10 year plan?
Now I’m not saying life is perfect but having some sort of plan will help your decision making process. This is very personal and can be unpredictable as life itself changes but again failing to plan is planning to fail. You should ask yourself (or along with your partner if applicable): Are you going to need more room? Are you planning on having kids soon or expanding the family? Are you close to friend and family or other support network? If you work from home will I need more studio room or land to expand? This all leads into the next couple of questions nicely.
What kind of living/neighbourhood suits your lifestyle?
What type of lifestyle are you trying to create for yourself? City, town, country or even suburban living all of which has its pros and cons but this is entirely individual.
Is it close to amenities that you require?
For example a young executive will more than likely need something in the city as being close to work and the city lifestyle would suit their needs far more than suburban living that requires a 2-3 hour commute each day. Alternatively a young couple may prefer the suburbs as a home close to schooling with land for the kids to play maybe top priority. Other amenities to consider are proximity to shops, doctors, vets, hospitals and transport etc.
Is there recreational facilities available?
For example does your ideal lifestyle require gyms, parks, playgrounds or perhaps your fur babies require a dog park close by? Or if you are after more of a lifestyle property perhaps the beach to walk along? Perhaps a marina berth to park your boat?
Does the neighbourhood have adequate street lighting, proper well maintained sidewalks and street scaping?
This ties into safety – as the more lit up the streets the less likely you are as a target for crime.
Also look at the condition of the sidewalks and street scaping; this is a good indication of the local council and the type or rates you will be paying. Besides who wants to live in a suburb where the local council is not looking after what you are paying them to do?
What type and how much traffic is the street/neighbourhood subjected too?
Is the house on a main street? Is the street a local route for trucks? Did you know that most trucks such as B-Doubles are subject to certain traffic routes within the city? Are you close to a main highway? Is there a local Fire or Ambulance station within ear shot?
All these can have a significant impact on not only the price but most importantly your health. After all who wants to be woken up by traffic noise or the local authorities blasting their sirens?
Let’s bring it all together – So what can I do?
One of the easiest ways of ensuring the neighbourhood/street is correct for you; simply take a walk! Yep it’s that simple, but don’t just walk the street, walk the streets surrounding. Pretend you live there now! Take the kids and dog for a walk and I don’t just mean whilst the open house is on as all the neighbours are normally on their best behaviour – try different times of the day and different days. it’s surprising what you will learn when you listen and observe. Also stop and talk to the neighbour that is trimming their hedges. They can truly be a source of history and knowledge.
Next you can use the old “Interwebs” looking at such things as crime rates/history, local government or council pages, local authorities like to police. Also utilise that 6 letter application/tool called “Google”, you will be surprised how much information is out there.
Lastly ask the locals; talk to the local butcher or coffee shop owner, talk to local Real Estate agents and I mean the ones that actually live in the area – not the “Specialist” that lives on the other side of the city but sells in your area. People that actually live, breathe and use the local facilities.
…Hmmmm who would have thought that finding a house could pose so many questions? I hope this not only opens your eyes but helps with your decision making – happy house hunting 🙂
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