When buying a home, the neighbourhood you select will not only play a pivotal role in your family’s life, but in the resale value of the property.
One person’s ideal neighbourhood however may vary greatly from another’s. Nevertheless, there are some needs and wants that generally do not change. The distance from your new home to beaches, schools, hospital and shopping, for example, will not only affect how you and your family settle into your new home, it will also draw or turn off a perspective buyer.
A good first step is to enlist the services of a REALTOR® who works in the area you are thinking of moving. REALTORS® are very familiar with the communities in which they work and can answer many of the questions you will develop during your search.
Check the lifestyle
A home is a part of a larger community. And some are more desirable than others. Some communities are geared more to young families, others to older adults and still others to singles or an eclectic mix of residents.
Never buy in an unfamiliar community or neighbourhood unless you have spent some time there both during the week and on weekends, day and night. Drive and walk around. Talk to store owners and people you meet on the street. Ask what they think of the neighbourhood.
If there are vacant tracts of land where you plan to buy, check with local authorities to see what the proposed land use might be. The last thing most homeowners want is the development of a mall or a busy office building across the road from their newly-purchased property.
Don’t let particular things in a home that appeal to you override its location and potential subsequent resale value. When analyzing a potential property, ask yourself if you can imagine living — not just in this home — but in this neighbourhood for quite a long time.
Remember that someday you may have to sell your home to someone else and things that may not be important to you — such as distance to schools, shopping, doctors and work — may be important to other buyers.
In addition to finding the right neighbourhood, consider the immediate homes around the particular property you want to buy. Are they well maintained and worth the same or more than the home you are considering?
Is the location a quiet area or a major traffic area? What kind of privacy does the backyard provide? Does it get the morning or afternoon sun? If there is no house behind you, who owns the property and how will it be developed?
Homes located further away from the centre of the city are generally cheaper. Are you prepared to invest the time and money it takes to commute and how long of a commute are you prepared to commit to? Is there public transit and good road access nearby?
If you have kids in school, what kinds of schools and services are available? Will your kids have to be bused to their school? If a school is close by, will they have to cross any busy streets?
Being close to a school, on the other hand, may have some drawbacks — few owners want the noise and disturbance of being located right next door.
Finding grocery and specialty stores in town is rarely a problem. But in neighbourhoods further away, you may need to drive to the nearest convenience store. And getting to the local grocery store, pharmacy and other support services may require an even longer trek.
It’s great to be located near parks and recreational facilities. If the home you are considering backs onto such property, drive around the area and see how often the baseball and soccer fields, parks and trails are being used and when.
More serious concerns are having such things as gas stations, airport, commercial developments, highway and cemeteries too close by.
Finally, if your heart is set on finding that one-of-a-kind 100-year old Craftsman home, you’re not going to find it in a newer development. If you want large bedrooms and bathrooms, narrowing your search to an older part of town where homes are generally smaller, may prove disappointing.
Before making any decisions, think of your lifestyle and how a particular location would enhance or detract from it.
The diverse communities of the Powell River area:
Overlooking Malaspina Strait and the islands, in the heart of the city, many businesses and services can be found here, as well as parks, festivals and nearly 3000 homes. Favourite spots include Willingdon Beach Trail, the Recreation Complex & Seawalk.
Nearly 700 homes enjoy a nice ocean view in this very desirable area. Favourite spots: Grief Point Park & Penticton Street trails.
Possessing a vibrant culture of its own, the Cranberry Lake district includes nearly 1000 homes, businesses, galleries and several parks. Favourite spots: Valentine Mountain, Mowat Bay & the Curling Club.
Steeped in history and proud to be one of Canada’s National Historic Districts, Townsite enjoys gorgeous ocean views. There are over 400 homes and businesses in Townsite. The vast majority of them are heritage buildings dating from 1910. Favourite spots: Patricia Theatre, Second Beach, Tennis Courts & Lawn Bowling Club.
A little more rural than the rest of Powell River, Wildwood Heights is an area of organic farms, hiking trails, services and over 400 homes. Favouite spots: Scout Mountain, Wildwood Bluffs, Powell Lake Marina & the Italian Hall.
Start of the world’s longest highway, Highway 101, Lund is home to 800 residents and a tourist destination. From Sliammon to Desolation Sound, the appeal of the ocean, forest and nature calls. Favourite spots: Dinner Rock, the Gazebo & Okeover Arm Provincial Park.
Travelling south from Powell River, for a change of pace, try going through Paradise Valley. Tucked into many lanes, you will find farms, artisans and vacation homes. Enjoy the seaside charm of Pebble Beach, Black Point & Myrtle Rocks. Favourite spots: Sunshine Coast Trail, Canoe Route, dive to the mermaid at Saltery Bay Provincial Park, Zunga & golf.
Sand, sea and sun. The islands of the Powell River Regional District are unique and beautiful in their own ways. Texada Island is just a short 35 minute ferry ride away, with two villages, farms and rural properties. Savary Island, accessible by water-taxi has a number of full time residents, and a host of happy visitors and vacation home owners. Favourite island spots: Shelter Point, Marble Bay & Indian Shores
…. the diversity of Powell River