Making the decision to move is already a monumental one, but we often forget about the multiple other monumental decisions we have to make beyond just the decision to relocate. Things like, do we want to actually buy a home, or just rent or lease? Does the home need to accommodate future family plans, like adding another family member?
One of the more important questions you’ll need to answer is where you actually want to live in the first place. Choosing the right suburb to live in is a huge decision that you can’t take lightly. There’s a gamut of factors about a suburb that can truly make or break your happiness with choosing that area, so make sure you really know for certain that it’s the right one for you. To help you out, we’ve provided you with some of the most important things to think about when choosing your suburb to live in.
Renting in the suburbs
If you’re choosing to rent or lease a house or flat, you’ll most likely be working with either the owner, or a residential property management company. If you’re looking for something long term and professionally handled, you may want to stick with a rental unit that has a rental property manager running the property.
The reason for this is twofold. First, rental property management companies have more expertise in the business, and probably manage several other properties as well, making them easy to work with and have simple maintenance procedures and bond placements. Second, choosing a self run property, as in a property that is run by the owner, means that you may have to wait longer for repairs, and be reliant on them solely instead of an entire management company.
Does the suburb offer solicitor conveyancing?
Find out if the suburb you’re looking at has a conveyancing solicitor that works in that area. This is really important if this is your first home you are purchasing. The solicitor can provide help with drawing up your mortgage and providing legal advice for your title, as well as any negotiating needs you might have.
There may be different rules in different suburbs, especially if it’s a gated community or older community with set council rules. For example, houses for sale in Cambridge may request a curfew for its residents, or have strict noise ordinances, versus houses in the suburb over may be free to do as they please. This makes it even more important to have someone with the know how of that suburb to help you work through any specific rules.
Age of the suburb
The suburb you’re looking at will probably be either an established one, or a newer one with new developments and infrastructure. Decide on which you prefer before you start looking too closely at the suburb.
For example, an older neighborhood may have larger lots and plenty of older trees and other shrubbery that gives the area some character. These homes will have older amenities, but may be more unique than a brand new home in a subdivision. However, a newer development will have obviously newer and more modern homes, won’t require much, if any, renovation, and will provide a blank slate for you to build your home on.
One thing you might not be ready to think about, but should, especially if buying rather than renting, is if you are thinking of starting a family at some point. Even if that is years down the road, purchasing a house usually means that you’ll be in it for many years, so you should be cognisant of these future needs when looking at suburbs.
Find out what kind of school systems are available for that particular suburb. Use a school finder like this one to get started. Do some research on the schools and see if they are rated highly and have plenty of positive reviews from parents who send their child there. You’ll also want to look into the safety of the suburb. Use something like this website for help on reviewing suburb safety and to gauge what kind of crime is common in that area.
Another slightly scary future thing you should think about is the potential of the suburb. Part of determining overall potential is knowing the growth potential, which basically references how, when, and if the area will grow in the future. Is it a booming area where subdivisions are popping up like crazy? Or, is it established with no room to grow?
Knowing this information will help you determine what you can expect over the next 5, 10, or 50 years, and if endless construction is in your future. It will also help you know the resale value of your home as well. If the suburb is growing and plenty of new infrastructure popping up around it, then you’ll potentially have great resale value. If a new highway system or overpass is being built nearby, then your resale value might plummet. The value of your home will also affect any future refinancing needs, so make sure you speak with a refinancing lawyer to get their advice as well.
Use your intuition
When it comes down to it, the best way to figure out if a suburb is right for you is if it feels right. Take some time and go for a walk in the neighborhood. Spend an afternoon at a nearby park. Check out one of the cafes or restaurants, and really get a feel for the place. If it feels like home, and you can envision a life there, and it’s passed the previous checklist items with flying colours, it’s time to call up your real estate agent and make an offer!
Hopefully with these tips in hand, you’ll be able to buy or rent a home in a suburb that fits you perfectly. Remember that when all else fails, your suburb should be a place that has the things you need, the access to the places you want to go, and simply feels like the right one for you.