Despite being Step 3 in the First Home Buyer Guide – location is pretty fundamental to starting your home search. Where you live is more than just the four walls of your home – your home is on a street, in a neighbourhood – and there are good streets and bad streets, and good neighbourhood and bad neighbourhoods for all kinds of reasons.
There is lots that could be said about Toronto locations. What I want to do here is get you thinking about what’s important to you from both a NEEDS and a VALUE point of view.
First lets look at your NEEDS:
1) A day in your life: Where do you work? Are great local schools important? How about day care?
2) When the work is done: What do you do for fun? Where do you like to go? Do you do any volunteer work? Are you now or do you want to be engaged in any community groups? What about green space, dog parks, nature trails, farmers markets, community pools, fitness centres? Do you prefer big brand stores or owner operated, boutique places?
3) Getting from A to B: Do you drive, take GO Transit or ride the TTC? Do you want to be close to the subway, a streetcar or certain bus routes? How about walkability or bike lanes, important or not?
Depending on where you do what you do when you’re not at home and how you like to get there – some neighbourhoods will work better than others. Your needs should be considered – to help pinpoint which neighbourhoods will work best for you.
Now let’s look at VALUE and how that is impacted by location:
5) Already established or an up and coming spot: From a value point of view, a home in an already established, popular neighbourhood is going to cost more but hold it’s value. A home in an up and coming area is a little less certain – the neighbourhood may get there, or it may not.
6) Be wary who or what your neighbours are: A beautiful house, right next to a railroad line or a factory, it is not going to be worth as much as if that exact same place were on a quiet tree lined street. Placement of your home in a given neighbourhood is important and needs to be considered when you are buying a place.
A less desirable neighbourhood or an unsightly neighbour does not have to be a deal breaker, you just need to make sure you pay the right price for it up front and you realize the impact of the location on future value.
There is no absolute right or absolute wrong when it comes to location – but there is certainly a lot to consider and be aware of. If you are not an expert on the areas you are looking in, you are going to need to talk to someone who you can trust – that’s why Step 5 – The Team of the guide is so important.