What is a good location?
“Location, location, location”, so the saying goes are the three most important things about good real estate. I couldn’t agree more. I always start wth the neighbourhood and make sure that is going to be a good fit before moving on to the right home for my clients. That’s where the magic is. It is a lot easier to change your home than it is to change your neighbourhood – that means moving, again!
So, what does ‘good location’ mean? What is a good location? These things will vary from person to person, family to family, so you will have to give the items below different weights to help you figure out what a good location means to you.
What are the things to look for that make up a good location?
It used to be that the car was king and people moved to the suburbs and did not care at all about neighbourhood walkability. Those days are mostly gone. Today most people want to be able to pop out for short walk to the grocery store for some milk and eggs. They want neighbourhood coffeeshops and maybe a restaurant or two. Walkability also means that the streets aren’t too busy with fast moving traffic.
Besides it being nice to be able to walk to shopping, just having shopping nearby is high on the list of many homebuyers. Few people want to have to drive more than 20 minutes to get to some decent shopping.
New condominiums change the neighbourhoods around them, maybe breathing new life into them, maybe making them busier and noisy than long-time residents like. Be on the look out for neighbourhoods in transition.
We always talk about neighbourhoods as being one entity. But they aren’t. There are busy and quiet streets. There are richer and poorer pockets. There is green space and parks and trails and roads, street, boulevards and avenues and schools and public pools and tennis courts within the neighbourhoods which you must consider.
Let there be light
This is especially true when buying a high rise condo unit – what is blocking out your access to natural unfiltered sunlight?
Neighbourhoods in transition
Neighbourhoods that are transitioning are often great investments for appreciation. But what is going to happen to those teardown? Low rise condos? High rise condos? Townhouses or Semis? Chances are the population density of the neighbourhood will rise. You need to know by how much.
Are your neighbours owners or renters. Is the house (or unit) next door an airbnb? A good location can become a bad location if your neighbours are naughty.
Transit and transportation networks
You want to be close but not too close to public transit (LRT) and transportation networks (Conestoga Parkway).
The Waterloo Regional Police have an online crime incidence report that you can check out anytime. The same streets seem to come up again and again.
Airplanes flying overhead are noisy and annoying. The Waterloo International Airport has gotten busier and busier over the past twenty years and I think it is safe to say that trend will continue.
Highways are noisy. So are main arteries that run through and between neighbourhoods. Schools and factories are noisy. Churches can be noisy. Graveyards are quiet but a lot of people don’t like living near graveyards and cemeteries.
The first twenty years of most new neighbourhoods are pretty bleak. It takes that long for the trees in the boulevards and yards to grow up. Mature trees really make most neighbourhoods comfortable. Of course, neighbourhoods like Vista Hills with lots of green space can reduce the bleakness until the trees grow up.
There is a neighbourhood in Kitchener near the old city dump that had some problems related to the old dump thirty years ago. Although memories fade and people relocating into the region don’t know, even many new Realtors don’t know, the stigma is there. The history is there. It may take generations for the issue to completely disappear.
Taxes and fees
Taxes in Waterloo are higher than those in Kitchener. Some Beechwood neighbourhoods have neighbourhood associations that you are required to join. Condo fees vary from building to building.
All neighbourhoods will have at least some of the above. Think about what is most important to you. I believe that most people do not spend enough time thinking about neighbourhoods but instead get drawn in by the cosmetic decor and features of the home. Remember good location is the most important thing to consider when looking for a new home.