When looking for a new Halifax home, you’ll need to decide whether your new neighbourhood will suit your needs and lifestyle. Choosing the right neighbourhood is just as important as choosing the house itself; you’ll need to consider property value ranges, property types, and proximity to schools and other amenities along with various other factors. So, how do you select the best neighbourhood? Here are some basic tips for choosing the best place to buy a new Halifax home.
1. Create a List of Desired Neighbourhood Features
Before you start looking, take a few moments to list the main features you want in your new Halifax neighbourhood. Do you want a single-family home in the suburbs, or something smaller and closer to the city? How important is it to have schools and shopping nearby? Do you prefer urban settings, or are you happier in the rural surroundings? Are you interested in an older neighbourhood or a brand new development? Once you have the ideal neighbourhood pictured clearly in your mind, you can narrow your search and start looking for the right Halifax home.
2. Safety and Crime Levels
Do some research on crime statistics in your chosen neighbourhood. Canada is not known for being a dangerous place and although Halifax is a fairly safe city, there are pockets of crime in select neighbourhoods. You can find crime statistics online via the HRM Crime Mapping site which will give you an idea of how how safe the neighbourhood is. You can also check out Crime Stoppers to review the monthly statistics for certain neighbourhood areas. Finally, take a drive through the neighbourhood and take note if there is any vandalism or graffiti. Check to see if homes in the area have crime deterrents like high fences or “Beware of Dog” signs. The majority of people moving here have absolutely no problem with finding wonderful neighbourhoods that are friendly, safe and welcoming. I can definitely work with you to help you find the perfect Halifax home and neighbourhood for you.
3. Neighbourhood Appearance and Feel
Take some time to walk around your chosen Halifax neighbourhood and see how well it is maintained. Do houses in the neighbourhood maintain nice yards and driveways? Note whether the streets and sidewalks are clean, and look for vacant properties or abandoned lots. These could one day be used for commercial purposes, which could change the look and feel of the neighbourhood. Commercial developments can also affect property values.
Go back to the list you made earlier, and check to see that the amenities you need are available in your chosen neighbourhood. If you need to make frequent trips to convenience and grocery stores, restaurants, and shops, you’ll want to make sure these amenities are nearby. If there are bars and clubs in the neighbourhood, consider how noisy they may be on the weekends.
A well-maintained school is the sign of a desirable neighbourhood. If you have school aged children, think about how long it will take them to get to school every day. Can they walk, or will they need to take the school bus? How long does it take to drive to the school? Consider how long the drive is in winter weather too (because you know how long winter tends to last 😉
6. Home Values and Property Taxes
Research current property values in the neighbourhood, and compare them with the average prices five and ten years earlier. Note how much property values have increased and whether the neighbourhood has undergone any major changes in that time. A quick word of warning though, Halifax neighbourhoods tend to increase in value at a fairly moderate rate. Our overall market is dependable, slow and steady so you may not find BIG increases in home values as you may find in other Canadian markets. Find out if the neighbourhood has plans for further development. You can find this neighbourhood information through HRM online or sometimes through the Chamber of Commerce. Future developments could affect property taxes and road traffic, so it’s a good idea to know if and when there will be changes in the area.
7. Property Type
While choosing your Halifax neighbourhood is important, a large part of where you live will be dictated by the type of home you want. High-rise condominium apartments will be harder to find in the suburbs than in the city, as will single-family homes with large yards in the heart of the city.
Before buying your new Halifax home, take some time to get a proper feel for the neighbourhood and surroundings. By considering what features you want in a neighbourhood and considering all of your choices, you’ll find the neighbourhood best suited to your lifestyle and needs.
As always, I am only ever a phone call, message or email away to answer any of your questions about Halifax real estate and finding the best neighbourhoods and homes for you and your needs!