There’s so much more to buying a new home than just finding the perfect dwelling. Choosing the right neighbourhood for you and your family’s needs can be almost as stressful as choosing the ideal home. So it’s important to consider all factors when buying a home in a new neighbourhood — committing to the wrong one can break your entire home buying experience and satisfaction.

Read on to learn the top considerations when choosing a new neighbourhood. Then use these considerations to list the essential features you’re looking for according to personal preferences, lifestyle requirements, family needs, and future aspirations.

Consideration #1: Do You Have a Preference for City, Rural, Or Suburb Living?

City, rural, and suburban living are three very different lifestyles. And if you’re looking to settle into a long-term home, what may suit you now, may not suit your future work or family plans, so weigh these options carefully to avoid potential future regrets.

Living in the city usually means:

  • Smaller yards (less space, but less yard work)
  • Neighbours right next door
  • Being reasonably near parks, schools, grocery stores, shopping malls and other amenities
  • City transit
  • Shorter work commutes
  • City noise

Living in rural areas usually means:

  • Bigger yards (more space, but more yard work)
  • Privacy from neighbours
  • Less traffic, sirens, and crime rate
  • Quieter living
  • Amenities aren’t as available
  • Longer commutes to work

Living in the suburbs usually means:

  • A mixture of city and rural life
  • Living on the outskirts of a city
  • Medium-sized yards
  • Quieter than city life
  • Less traffic
  • Some amenities nearby

Consideration #2: How Are the Crime Stats?

Google is a good source for checking neighbourhood crime rates, and the local police department can offer information on the area’s current and past criminal activity. High crime rates can affect your vehicle and home insurance premiums. When you drive through the neighbourhood, look for things like:

  • Graffiti
  • Vandalized property
  • Boarded-up vacant properties
  • High fences
  • Beware of dog signs
  • Bars on windows
  • Lots of surveillance cameras

Consideration #3: Does The Neighbourhood Suit Your Vision?

Take a walk around the area to hear, see, and even smell things you might miss in the car. Look for things that may be important to you, like:

  • How well are the yards maintained?
  • Is it evident that the owners care about their properties?
  • How clean are the sidewalks, streets, and boulevards?
  • Do the people you pass make eye contact, smile, or wave at you?
  • Are there any vacant lots or abandoned properties that could turn into future commercial space? If yes, keep in mind that this can change the look and feel of the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, abandoned properties are also a magnet for vandalism and arson.

Consideration #4: Is the Neighborhood Close to Amenities?

How close are the amenities you often need? The most frequented places people look for are:

  • Grocery stores
  • Restaurants
  • Shopping malls
  • Recreational facilities
  • Parks
  • Health services
  • Transportation

Be aware of any nightclubs or bars in the area; they could be a source of excessive noise from music, patrons, and traffic.

Consideration: #5. Are Daycares And Schools Nearby?

A good school is most likely one of your priorities if you have school-aged children. One sign of a good neighbourhood is a school that looks well taken care of. Speak with the school district about your concerns, and don’t be afraid to ask questions like:

  • Is it safe to walk?
  • Is there public transportation available?
  • Are there district school buses for pick-ups and drop-offs?
  • Are schools assigned according to area or addresses?
  • Is there a before-school or after-school program?

Consideration #6: Property Value And Tax History

Look into records at your local Chamber of Commerce or City Hall to learn about potential future developments that could affect property values and taxes. Your realtor can help you research past and current property values to understand their future worth and if the neighbourhood has had any significant changes throughout the years.

Consideration #7: How Much Commuting To-And-From Work Do You Want To Do?

Definitely worth thinking about. Not only do you need to consider the time it takes to go back and forth to work, but there’s also the gas and the wear and tear on your vehicle.

Google Maps is a great place to do an online “test drive”. Map out your commute when you head to work and back. This will give you a base idea, but if you’re looking for accuracy, hop in your vehicle and do the drive yourself.

Consideration #8: Take The Neighbourhood For A Test Drive

The best way to learn about a neighbourhood is to live in it for a few days. Renting an Airbnb over Thursday and Friday nights will give you a real sense of what goes on during the week and the weekend. Experience firsthand what the area is like by running errands, trying different restaurants, and getting a feel for the traffic, people, and noise levels.

If staying a couple of days isn’t possible, and it’s a neighbourhood you’re seriously thinking about committing to, it’s worth driving and walking around the area several times on different days and various times throughout the day. Be sure to check out some of the local eateries and shops — talking with the locals can give you invaluable insights into your potential new neighbourhood.

Thinking About Moving to a New Neighborhood?

Whether you’re ready to make the change or want to give it a go but are still unsure, speaking with a trusted, reputable realtor can make the moving process less intimidating, from choosing the right neighbourhood to welcoming you to your new home.

If you’re looking to learn more about the neighbourhoods in Toronto and the GTA, Joel Cooper can help. Joel has been specializing in buying and selling homes in these areas for over 14 years. He combines his experience with a truly client-centred approach, using full transparency and open communication to get you the results you want.

Interested in learning more?

Get in touch!

Hi, I’m Joel, a real estate professional based in Toronto.

My approach is simple—I put you first. I believe in open communication, total transparency, and meaningful results. I’ll guide you through the real estate process, market values, and always keep the focus on you—and your needs.