Location Vs. Amenities Vs. Schools: Picking the Right Neighbourhood to Buy In

Each person’s perfect community may differ from the next, but there are many common features. Local agent Barry Magee explains how to balance those needs

By
Sutton West Coast Realty
April 17, 2015






Vancouver single-family home neighbourhood street

One person’s ideal home is likely to be different from another’s, but there are many features that will be the same. There are needs and wants that are similar in all people, and the desire to find the right community for one’s lifestyle is no exception. Distance from amenities is one of the most popular community features in the Lower Mainland, for example. But traditional features such as distance to schools are often important as well.

So how do you balance all those needs and desires and distil them into one neighbourhood that is ideal for you?

When you enter the real estate market to buy a property, it’s very important to be mindful about where you are buying. What does this community bring to the table? What is the history of the housing market within this area? Will there be a demand for my home when I go to resell it? All these are critical factors to look at when searching for the right place to live.

Lifestyle is Key to Happiness

Feeling like you are part of a community is critical to happiness, and often you can address this by buying into the right neighbourhood. If you cycle everywhere in the city, buying near the PNE might not be the best spot for your life. When you have a family of five, it’s important to look at what schools are nearby and whether or not they will address your requirements.

Sometimes just a good old-fashioned walk around the area will give you a great sense of what it would be like to live there. Is there an unusual amount of vacant land? If so, it’s a good idea to research who owns the land and to see if there are any plans to use it. Imagine buying a home only to find out six months later a highrise building is going up to obstruct the view you fell in love with. It happens more than you’d think!

Access to parks, recreation, shopping, restaurants and coffee shops is another key factor to a great neighbourhood. In Vancouver, areas like Cambie Village, Main Street and Sunrise/Hastings are currently experiencing a big upswing in new businesses in the area. Established areas like the West End, Commercial Drive and Kitsilano always have something to offer their residents and are more well known.

Location Wins, Every Time

When it comes to resale value, a good rule of thumb is the more central the property is - the more it will appreciate in value over time. Vancouver city is actually quite small when you compare it to other world cities, so anytime you can own land in a market with high demand and low supply you are putting your money in a good spot.

If you buy a home with direct access to parkland, this can be a great feature for the present as well as the future. Buying too close to a school is often times frowned upon by buyers as it could have some potential noise drawbacks. But if you are set on having your children attend a certain school it might be your only option.

Seek Advice When Needed

Most people in Vancouver know where they want to live, or at least have a general idea. When people are moving to the city from elsewhere, this is often where these tips will come in handy. Search out people who know the areas you are thinking about and ask questions.

Research, research, research is what I tell my clients. This is the most important purchase of your life – don’t leave anything to chance.

Making the right choice to buy in the right neighbourhood will ensure that you are happy in your home, which is very much the name of the game when buying real estate.

Need more help? Visit our Neighbourhoods page to read up on many of the wonderful communities across the Lower Mainland – and if you can't find the one you're looking for, use the Search bar.


Barry Magee is a Vancouver-based REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty at 4387 Main Street, Vancouver. He has an extensive background in marketing, and brings a consultative approach to the table for his real estate clients.
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