Is a new home in a new neighbourhood (Vista Hills) or an older home in the city core (Uptown) right for you?
Vista Hills vs Uptown Waterloo
I meet lots of first time home buyers who want to live in Kitchener-Waterloo’s city core. Neighbourhoods like Kitchener’s East Ward, or near Victoria Park are popular. So are large swaths of the North Ward, including the Mary-Allen Neighbourhood and or course UpTown Waterloo.
Of course I also meet many many home buyers who want a new house in a great new suburb. Many of those buy in Vista Hills, which is arguably the best new neighbourhood in Kitchener-Waterloo. (Great school, lots of green space, trails and parks).
You might think you want to live in an old house with a lot of built in charm, but maybe functionality is really more important you. It is a tough choice. It is a lifestyle choice. I’m here to help.
4 things to consider:
Old neighbourhoods have mature trees, charming old homes and the convenience of being walking distance to most everything. (Downtown Kitchener does not have a grocery store and Uptown Waterloo doesn’t have a gym). But new neighbourhoods have often bigger homes with better layouts. Newer homes are probably more comfortable. They will have family rooms and garages.
I often use the words neighbourhood and location synonymously. There are great neighbourhoods in the near and far suburbs, just like there are great schools surrounded by all ages of homes.
So in terms of location, the choice for most homes buyers is one of lifestyle. Besides the comfort/convenience choice mentioned above, you could consider your daily commute and access to public transportation.
Floor plan layout
Old homes tend to have a lot of little rooms, which some people like as in “every room has a purpose (and only one purpose)”.
Conversely, currently with newer homes, open concept floor plans are still most popular as a great way to get the whole family together on the main floor as well as being awesome for entertaining. A lot of families with small children love open plans.
Renovation and maintenance
New home buyers know that any renovation (except for finishing the basement and maybe adding a deck, patio and/or fence) that their new home will need is likely more than a decade into the future. That is true too for roof, window and furnace replacements. New home buyers are not going to have to worry about those things for at least 15 years.
Older homes will naturally have older components that will need replacing and/or maintaining. That said, some older homes are so well built that new homes just can’t compare.
You’ll see in many older neighbourhoods some major renovations going on too. If you must live in an older walkable neighbourhood then you should not be afraid to do an addition or a big renovation on your home.
In many homes built before the 1950s there isn’t a garage at the end of the driveway. On those cold winter mornings you will envy your friends who keep their vehicles in nice warm garages in the suburbs.
So, choosing between a new home in a new suburb or an old home closer to the core is not all about comfort/convenience. It is really a lifestyle choice, which means homebuyers have to think about how they live their lives now and into the future. There is no single right answer. It is really up to the individual choice, personal preferences and circumstances.
Kitchener-Waterloo neighbourhoods guide