As a homeowner, you want your home to be the best fit for your family’s needs. You’ll choose a floor plan that has the right number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and special features that fit your unique lifestyle, but the best fit doesn’t stop at the home itself. The neighbourhood is also an important factor, and choosing the best community for you means doing your research and deciding what matters most in your new home’s location. Here are some important things to consider when choosing a new neighbourhood.
Location within the City/Surrounding Areas
When you’re in the market for a new home, chances are you’ve done some research on the type of area you are looking for. Perhaps you’ve even taken a drive to see certain communities in person. What matters most to you when it comes to location within the city? Do you prefer to be near family members? Are your kids in sports and need more convenient access to fields or facilities? Perhaps your family prefers the quieter lifestyle that outlying areas can provide, but without sacrificing the amenities of the city.
Choosing an area of the city can be as simple as wanting easy access to major thoroughfares or green space for recreation. Decide what is important and how each area can potentially benefit you.
Location within the Community
Choosing the best location also means deciding your best location inside the community you want to live in. There are many options to choose from that can improve your quality of life based on the type of lifestyle you lead. Do you prefer to reside deep within the community where there may only be local traffic, or would your home be better suited near the community’s entrances for easier access?
Your home could be situated between other homes to provide that sense of community, or if you prefer, on a corner lot for more breathable space. If you have houseguests, a corner lot may also provide the opportunity for additional parking adjacent to your home.
If you spend a lot of time in your own yard, perhaps you’ll want an amenity lot backing a path, green space, or a community water feature. Or, if you prefer more privacy, choose a lot with a yard that offers less visibility to neighbours. Also, consider the direction your home will face. Do you prefer a south- or west-facing yard for afternoon and evening light, or do you prefer more sunshine in the morning?
There are many options to consider when choosing your lot within a community. Be sure to make a list of items that are important to you before making your decision.
Commute to Work
For many of us, we spend more time at work than we do at home, and adding a long commute takes even more time away from our families. Choosing a community with close proximity or easy access to major roadways can shave valuable time off a daily commute, giving you more time for the important things.
If you work from home and commuting isn’t a factor, choosing a community that suits your other lifestyle needs becomes a bit easier.
Schooling and Childcare
For families with children, choosing a new community includes researching access to schools and childcare. School catchment areas can put limitations on where you choose to live, but many new communities are providing access to brand new schools where enrollment is available. Be sure to consider public transit as well if you have children who need to commute to school.
Childcare can also be an important deciding factor when choosing a community. Easy access to dropping off and picking up the kids can reduce your overall commute and give you back valuable time with your family. Some new communities offer local childcare, and many are located close to major roadways for a quicker commute elsewhere.
Proximity to the Airport
If you do a lot of traveling for business or otherwise, you may wish to select a community closer to the airport. In Edmonton’s south side, as well as Leduc and Devon, there are plenty of communities available with easy access to the International Airport.
If you prefer not to live that close to air traffic, there are many communities located with easy access to Anthony Henday Drive, making the airport commute simpler.
Proximity to Emergency Services
When choosing a community, consider the proximity to emergency services such as hospitals, fire stations, and healthcare facilities. Although the regular noise of sirens near these facilities can be disruptive to a quieter lifestyle, you may prefer knowing they are in close proximity should you ever require their services.
Your home’s proximity to a fire station also affects your overall home insurance rates. Premiums drop the closer your home is to a fire hall.
Home Owner’s Association
Many new communities are designed to include a Home Owner’s Association (HOA). This type of organization is responsible for the maintenance and care of your neighbourhood, and comes with mandatory annual fees to be paid by each homeowner in the area. Fees and included services vary, but often an HOA will include things like snow removal, care of communal property such as green spaces and water features, maintenance of recreational facilities, and ensuring the perceived value of the community is maintained.
If you are concerned about budget, you may wish to choose a community without an HOA as you’ll be responsible for covering your annual fees. However, if the beauty and quality of your community is important to you, you may wish to consider an HOA-controlled neighbourhood.
Preferred Home Style
All communities are not created equal, and some are more focused on one type of home style than another. What style of home works best for your family? Some communities offer a healthy mix of front attached garage with laned homes, while others are primarily estate homes or multi-family duplexes or townhomes.
When choosing your new neighbourhood, learn about the home styles found there and whether they fit the type of community you are looking for.
There is a wide variety of choices to make when selecting your new community. The items noted above are just a few of the common considerations to help guide you in your path. Only you can decide what is important when making your choice for a new community. By being aware of the many variables involved, you can feel confident that the new neighbourhood you choose is the right one for you and your family.