When buying your first home, you have to imagine what your life is going to look like in that particular home. Sure, it’s important to think about the details of the home, but don’t forget to look at the amenities available in the surrounding neighbourhood. Ideally, you’ll want to find a community that offers all of the things you might need within a short distance.
We’ve created a list of some of the things that first-time buyers are often looking for. Use this as a starting point for finding the right community for you.
First and foremost, you need to check out the shops that are in any neighbourhood you’re considering. The difference between a five-minute drive to the grocery store and a fifteen-minute drive is bigger than it sounds.
Beyond just making sure that a store is available, you’ll want to make sure you like shopping there. When you’re used to shopping at a particular grocery store, you might not like making a switch, whether it’s because the prices are higher or the produce is sub-par. Before you commit, take a weekly shopping trip at the new grocery store to be sure you like it.
Additionally, don’t forget to look for other types of stores. You want to have stores that have clothes, home goods, and other necessary items nearby as well.
Whether you eat out regularly or just once in a while, it’s smart to check out the restaurants in a new community. Families with young kids might enjoy having a variety of chain restaurants or fast food places because those appeal to kids. Young professionals tend to look for upscale specialty restaurants. The area you choose to live in should have a few favourites as well as some fun new places to try.
Even if you’re a young professional without kids or a retired couple whose kids have flown the coop, it’s smart to check out the family-friendly options. Why? You’ll probably be living in this home for at least five years, and a lot can change during that time. Before long, you might have kids of your own — or grandkids — on the way.
These types of family-friendly attractions range from movie theatres and bowling alleys to recreation centres and dance studios to parks with playgrounds and tobogganing hills. Does the area have fun things for a family to do? Make sure you’re looking for the types of things your family will enjoy.
The ability to easily walk to things like schools, shops, and restaurants — a community’s “walkability” is a factor that’s increasingly important to millennials. When you walk instead of driving, you’re getting in a bit of physical activity while helping to save the environment. In the future, a neighbourhood with good walkability is likely to give your home a higher resale value.
Sometimes, a neighbourhood might not be close enough to walk to stores, but it has walking trails. This is another great feature because it makes it easy to get some daily exercise in the great outdoors.
While working from home is definitely becoming popular, most people will have to commute to work. If you prefer to drive, you’ll want to look for a neighbourhood that’s close to highways and/or major roadways. This makes even a seemingly long commute much shorter. If you prefer to take public transportation, you’ll want to look for neighbourhoods with bus or LRT stops nearby.
Frequent travellers often like to purchase a home in a neighbourhood that’s close to the airport. This makes it easier to deal with early-morning flights. On the other hand, people who don’t travel often want to live in a neighbourhood that’s far from the airport. Airplanes flying overhead can feel disruptive.
Some communities are straightforward. There are rows of homes, and that’s what the people who live there prefer. Other communities, though, have more features. They could have things like a large open green space for picnics, paved trails for jogging or bike riding, playgrounds for the kids. Some even have more unusual features like a man-made lake with a beach, a spray park, or an ice skating rink.
While none of these extras is absolutely necessary, it’s easy to see how having something like that directly in your neighbourhood can be a big plus. If you’re choosing between a neighbourhood that does have these amenities and one that doesn’t, it’s not hard to make a decision.
When you buy a home, you should plan to live there for many years, so you need to take your time in choosing one that meets your needs. Make your own list of needs and wants, then check out the variety of great communities throughout the Edmonton area.