One of the most difficult parts about relocating to Halifax, Nova Scotia is choosing where to live and finding a home. If you have a family with school aged children, my guess is you want to make the process as streamlined and as easy as possible for every family member.
Moving to an area, starting your children in school and then having to move them again is going to be tricky. That’s why it’s so essential to research the neighbourhoods and narrow down the communities you like the look of depending on your needs and wants.
This of course applies to everyone relocating to Halifax with or without a family.
When we first decided we were going to be relocating to Halifax, we knew that we wanted to be in an area with really great schools, we knew we were done with city living and wanted space and land, we wanted a safe, friendly community with good highway access, fairly close to amenities and we wanted a nice home with enough bedrooms for all three children.
This was our personal requirement for living in Halifax.
And based on that, we did a ton of research. When we came on a quick fact finding trip back in May 2006, we had fallen in love with one of the communities and still love where we live even 13 years on (in fact, sometimes I still pinch myself and ask how did we get so lucky).
Your list may possibly be very different from ours. You may decide you need to be closer to the downtown core for work or study, you may prefer a more built up neighbourhood, to be closer to your neighbours or you may need to be close to public transport. Every persons needs and wants are very unique and it’s really essential that you narrow down exactly what you are looking for when relocating to Halifax.
You have a lot of options in this City and rather than get overwhelmed with the choice, it’s far easier to work out what you really want and don’t want for your new community. Here’s a few questions to ask yourself before relocating to Halifax.
Type of house:
- Decide what sort of neighbourhood you want to live in (quiet suburb, close to entertainment, semi-rural, countryside, etc)
- Determine what type of house you want (single family home, townhouse, apartment, lakefront etc.)
- Consider the size of the home (how many bedrooms? how many bathrooms? garage? large yard?)
Identifying what’s important to you can help me guide you towards the perfect neighbourhood uniquely suited to you. Check out this Relocating to Halifax Neighbourhood Guide for a comprehensive list of communities that will give you an idea of the make-up of each neighbourhood including schools that you can then check out and review as part of your research.
Here are some of the tips that helped me the most when I was relocating to Halifax and choosing a place to live.
No matter what your pay is or is going to be, living comfortably and within your means should be your first concern when relocating to Halifax. Affordability includes more than just housing expenses; the prices for consumable goods, like groceries, utility services, electric, water, taxes etc all need to be taken into consideration too. Affordability should be a top priority when relocating to Halifax. It’s very easy to get carried away buying a home much larger than you probably really need, but bear in mind the upkeep and expenses that go along with owning a larger home.
2. Commute Time and Public Transport
The length of time it takes to get to work can be a determining factor in the decision to move to a new neighbourhood when relocating to Halifax.
I commuted in Cardiff for years and you couldn’t pay me enough money to do it again. Luckily for us here in Halifax, Nova Scotia the commute can be pretty decent with pockets of congestion at certain times during the day. Compared to other North American cities, it’s really quite refreshing.
Unfortunately, public transport is not as streamlined or as efficient as other medium size Cities (but improvements are on the way!). We do not have light rail or train but we do have two ferry services from Dartmouth to downtown Halifax. The bus system around Halifax is pretty decent and is a fairly inexpensive way to get around. It can also help your kids get around when you’re not home to drive them. If a good public transportation system is a major request when choosing a place to live when relocating to Halifax, make sure it’s added to your “must-have” checklist.
3. Choosing the Right School
Halifax has some fantastic public schools and several really well established and reputable private schools. If you have children, this is probably one of the first considerations when looking for a good neighbourhood to live when relocating to Halifax.
You can check out the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) to learn more about the individual community schools’ and email the Principal with any questions you may have. Another factor to consider is how your child will get to school. Is there public transportation? Can they walk? Is it safe? How far is it to drive? Also, is there a before and after school care program (called EXCEL)?
When you start to narrow down your search to certain communities, you can then get a feel for the housing types and prices in that area. That’s where I can help.
When you are relocating/immigrating to a new City, you need to rely on your Real Estate Agent to be your eyes and ears. So it is imperative to find someone you trust to have your best interests at heart. Having been through the relocating to Halifax process myself, I have first hand knowledge of the relocation process, the ups and the downs.
Even if you are still a little vague and uncertain (as most people usually are), I can chat with you and set up a list of homes in various neighbourhoods in and around Halifax. There is absolutely no commitment and no obligation, but it will give you an idea of what is available and the price point and expenses.
Ultimately, the best way to get a sense of a new Halifax area and neighbourhood is to see it with your own eyes. If at all possible, it makes sense to schedule a research trip before making the big move. Not only will this give you a chance to get a real feel for the Halifax neighbourhoods, it will also give you an opportunity to do some house hunting in person.
If this is not possible, I can always use a video app and take you along for a tour. In all honesty, video tours are great but there is a lot you can’t tell from video…smells, sounds and that hard to describe but all important gut feeling. But it’s certainly a good starting point.
And as the relocating to Halifax process progresses and you become clearer on your move date, I can keep you up to date with suitable properties and even point you in the right direction for a rental property if you need one in the interim period.
I really hope this helps with your relocating to Halifax research. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have and we will do our best to help in any way.
In the meantime, you might find these articles helpful:
Relocating to Halifax, Nova Scotia: A Guide to Halifax Neighbourhoods
Relocating to Halifax, Nova Scotia: What’s it Like Living in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Relocating to Halifax, Nova Scotia: A Guide to Buying a Halifax Home