How to find your perfect neighbourhood

When looking for a new place to call home, the right neighbourhood can make all the difference!

By Homicity

Dec 17, 2019

How to find your perfect neighbourhood

Before looking for a home to buy or rent, it’s important to find the right neighbourhood for you. A RE/MAX report found that Canadians spend more than two-thirds of their time in their neighbourhood. While you can change the interior of your home, you can’t change its location or lifestyle of your neighbourhood.

 

This crucial step in the home buying or home renting process will help ensure that your house feels like home. When you enjoy the area in which you live and have easy access to the places you need to go, your quality of life dramatically improves.

 

If you’re planning on buying a home, it’s important to know that not only does your neighbourhood impact your quality of life, but also the value of your property.

 

How to start?

On top of knowing how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want, it’s important to consider other factors such as demographics and walkability. Researching the area will help you learn about your neighbours, discover nearby amenities, and more.

 

Start with determining if you want to live in the city or the suburbs. Then, narrow it down further based on your needs and wants because every neighbourhood is unique.

 

To help you find your perfect neighbourhood, we've compiled a list of factors to consider.

                

Lifestyle

Finding the right neighbourhood culture is the number one factor to consider. If you’re looking for a quiet and early to bed neighbourhood where people turn in early, you won’t be happy living in a lively and nightlife oriented neighbourhood.

 

The culture and lifestyle of the neighbourhood are typically intertwined with other factors. For example, a neighbourhood with lots of green spaces and parks will often have a more active lifestyle. Or, a neighbourhood with a trendy lifestyle will likely have more unique food and dining options.

 

Where to find this information: We’ve got you covered! All our neighbourhood guides include a lifestyle section. Our custom property search also provides you the option to indicate which amenities you want to be nearby.

 

Nearby amenities

If a neighbourhood is home to many food and retail stores, it’s a sign that it is a well-established or up-and-coming area. It means that these businesses see the location as a valuable investment.

 

Living in a neighbourhood with easy access to local amenities, and more importantly the right amenities for your lifestyle, is a huge benefit. The convenience of having amenities close by can help you save time and money, impacting your overall quality of life.

 

Depending on your lifestyle and your personal preferences, determine which amenities are must-haves and nice-to-haves. The same amenity may not be right for everyone. For example, having a school nearby is great for families, but may not be great for young professionals.

 

Where to find this information: Each property listing features an interactive map that shows the nearby amenities and businesses, from schools to grocery stores to banks.

 

Commute times

When looking for a home, proximity to work and school is one of the major factors to consider. A Statistic Canada study revealed that in 2016, 1.5 million Canadians spent at least an hour commuting to work by car and public transit. This long commute can have a significant impact on a person’s health, safety, and finances.

 

While it’s difficult to avoid it all together, it’s possible to reduce the time spent commuting by living closer to your work or school. The main question to ask yourself is how much of your personal time are you willing to spend commuting.

 

Where to find this information: Our custom property search allows you to find homes based on how you prefer to commute and for how long.

 

Safety

For many home buyers and renters, safety is a top concern when looking for a good neighbourhood. It’s important that you feel comfortable walking around your neighbourhood and have peace of mind that your home will not be vandalized or burgled.

 

When looking for a neighbourhood, conduct research to find one with a low crime rate and look around to see if other residents feel comfortable walking around throughout the day and night. An added bonus if there is a neighbourhood watch group.

 

Where to find this information: Local police will have crime mapping tools and other crime statistics available to the public.

 

Demographics

As humans are social by nature, finding a sense of belonging within a community is essential. Living in a neighbourhood where you feel as though you can be yourself will make a big impact on your day-to-day life. 


Finding the right neighbourhood includes knowing who your neighbours will be and whether you feel like it’s a good fit. Demographic information, including income, age, diversity, relationship status, etc., can help you determine whether you’ll fit into the community.

 

Where to find this information: All our neighbourhood guides include a section outlining who the neighbours would be.

 

Other considerations

 

Market trends

If you’re planning on buying a home, it’s crucial to know how the neighbourhood is doing compared to average market trends. In addition to knowing the average listing prices of the neighbourhood, it’s good to note how quickly homes are being sold. A fast turnaround means that the neighbourhood is in high demand.

 

Another trend to consider is the homeownership rates. A high homeownership rate means that there’s a stable community of long-time residents.

 

Where to find this information: All our neighbourhood guides provide market trends, from average sale and rent prices to average days on the market. Your neighbourhood expert can provide further market insight and answer any questions you may have.

 

Walkability

A neighbourhood’s walkability rating indicates how easy it is to get around without needing a car. These ratings are based on walking distances to local amenities, the population density, block length, and more.

 

Neighbourhoods with higher walkability scores are likely to be happier and healthier. It also means that residents will often be walking out and about, creating a closer-knit community.

 

Where to find this information: Walk Score provides a 0 to 100 rating for the walkability of any address. It also has transit and bike scores.

 

Neighbourhood community

Does the community host neighbourhood activities and events? When residents get involved in planning neighbourhood activities for residents to meet and chat with one another, it builds a strong sense of community.

 

When there’s an issue in the neighbourhood, like a broken streetlight, how quickly doesn’t it get resolved? A sign of a good neighbourhood is if these issues are handled quickly. This means that residents in the area care about the area in which they live and will take the initiative to improve their neighbourhood.

 

Where to find this information: Look online or in person for a community association in the neighbourhood and whether the neighbourhood is well-maintained.  

 

City services

Based on its location and conditions, some neighbourhoods will receive better city services than others. As we live in Canada, snow removal from the streets and sidewalks is a major factor that needs to be considered. Another service that often gets overlooked is garbage collection, which could become a significant issue as it will attract animals and insects.

 

Where to find this information: Visit in person to see how promptly these services are being taken care of or ask around the neighbourhood.

 

Take the next step

 

Now that you know some important factors to consider, the next step is to determine you list of needs and wants and to start your research. 

 

Explore neighbourhoods, like Ottawa and Toronto, or find a neighbourhood expert to provide you with additional insight.

 

Are you a real estate agent professional? Showcase your business as a neighbourhood expert on our neighbourhood guides and be known as the leading source of information.

Homicity

Homicity helps you find your dream home in the perfect community. Whether you are buying, renting, or selling, you can navigate the Canadian real estate market with confidence with our expert advice, market news, and recommendations powered by AI.

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