Picking the perfect location

Picking the perfect location

Buying a home for the first time? Every other Wednesday, we’ll be sharing posts from our First-time buyer’s hub to help you with everything from figuring out what you can afford to navigate a bidding war to understanding closing costs...plus other helpful tips and guidance.

Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods, and they're all different. Liberty Village has a high-energy, youthful, "I work at a startup" kind of vibe, with lots of tech and creative businesses in old, gorgeously renovated industrial spaces. Yorkville is a more exclusive area that's home to some of the city's most prestigious addresses - and the Mink Mile, Toronto's luxury shopping destination. Then there's CityPlace, a massive planned community made up of dozens of buildings, with amazing green spaces and easy access to the waterfront, the ACC, the entertainment district and more. And those are just three of TO's 80+ neighbourhoods.

So how do you pick the one that's perfect for you? Here are 8 things to consider when you're settling on a 'hood:

Do you want to be close to restaurants, entertainment and nightlife?

If you're a foodie who loves to try the latest hotspots or you live to go dancing with friends every night, look for a neighbourhood that has all those things in easy walking distance. Although nightlife is on hold for the time being, it’s only a matter of time until we have access to our favourite local hot spots again.

Related info: Top 5 Toronto neighbourhoods for music lovers

Do you want to walk to everything?

Toronto was just ranked as one of the most walkable cities in Canada. There’s nothing like a quick stroll down the block to pick up groceries, drop off your dry cleaning, or grab a quick bite on a charming little (heated) patio. Want to see how easy it is to get where you want to go? Check the walk score of any neighbourhood at walkscore.com.

Are parks, walking paths and cycling trails important to you?

Whether you're looking for an off-leash park for Fido, are a runner who loves a good jaunt along the waterfront, or are just active and want to be outside, look for an area with easy access to green spaces (hint: there are lots of options - Toronto has 1,600 parks).

What do you want your commute to look like?

With working from home being a reality for many these days, being close to the office isn’t the priority it once was...for now. Eventually, many of us will need to start commuting again, at least to some degree, and being able to bike to the office or just hop on the TTC will be a hot commodity again.If transit is important, there are lots of options along subway and streetcar routes, but some neighbourhoods are definitely better served by transit than others. Use the TTC trip planner to see how long it takes to get from point A to point B.

Do you want to be near schools?

Even if you don't have kids now, if you think you might become a parent in the future, this is definitely something to consider. (Having a good school you can get to easily is a big deal when you're doing the working parent thing.) And if you're a student yourself at one of the city's downtown campuses, being within walking distance can be a major plus.

What's in store for the area?

Is it an established neighbourhood that won't change much in the next 10 years? A diamond in the rough? Or is it a forest of cranes that has dozens of new developments in progress? Sometimes buying into a neighbourhood in transition can be a great way in if you’re on a tight budget - and a good investment, as those types of areas tend to appreciate fast. On the downside, you'll be living in a construction zone for a while, and it may be a long time before it feels settled.

How affordable is it?

Prices can differ pretty dramatically from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. (Just compare Yorkville and CityPlace, for example.) Take a look at the Neighbourhoods section on condos.ca to get a sense of pricing in each area. To see what units in a specific neighbourhood, street or building are selling for right now, simply switch from “for sale” to “sold.”

Related info: Your definitive guide to today’s Toronto housing market

Who lives there?

Demographics make a neighbourhood what it is, so it's important to consider who your neighbours will be. Knowing what demographic lives there can help you decide: an area populated with 20-something renters living their best lives is going to feel pretty different from a neighbourhood favoured by families with little kids, or more mature folks who have downsized into condos.

Need more info on picking the perfect location?

Check out our first-time buyers hub for guidance on everything from deciding what to buy to working with a realtor. If you have questions or are ready to start looking, connect with a Condo Pro – they’re neighbourhood experts with the know-how to guide you through the process so you can find your perfect place.

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