How to choose your new apartment by neighbourhood
Where you live is sometimes more important than the actual building or home you live in. If you’re ready to make a move, we suggest that you search for a new place to call home by neighbourhood rather than by building. Find the perfect neighbourhood in your city or town to call home with this guide.
Make a list of must haves
What do you want your new neighbourhood to be like? It never hurts to make a list of neighbourhood must haves and check it twice when considering potential rentals. Ask yourself some key questions like this:
Do I want to live on a quiet street or a major street?
Do I want to be able to shop for essentials like grocery and clothing on foot?
Do I want to be close to work?
Do I want to be close to school?
Do I want to be able to eat out in my area with ease?
Do I need street parking?
Do I want to live near green spaces like parks and sports fields?
Do I want to live near nightlife and entertainment venues?
Do I want to live near a hospital?
Indicate which of your must haves are deal breakers and which are just nice to haves. Your answers to these high level questions can help you nail down exactly what you’re looking for in a neighbourhood.
Narrow down potential neighbourhoods to match
With your list of neighbourhood must haves and nice to haves in hand, you can start to be choosy about where you want to live. If you live in a big city, your answers may single out several potential neighbourhoods. If you live in a small town, your choices may be more limited. Once you know which neighbourhoods might be suitable for you, it’s time to see them for yourself and trust your gut instincts.
Take a tour
Visit all your potential neighbourhoods on foot, by public transit, by car or bike (if you commute, drive or ride) to see how you feel as you navigate them. You want to feel safe and at ease. It’s a good idea to visit the areas by day, during busy times like rush hour, during the day when things are slower, and again by night when the neighbourhood may change it’s vibe considerably. Make sure you feel comfortable at any time of day as this could be where you spend all your days for a while!
Pay attention to the little things
Is there a lot of construction or noise in the area? Are there places to shop and eat?
Are there bike lanes? Bus stops? Subway stations? Parks for walking your pooch? All these seemingly little questions can majorly impact your quality of life in your new neighbourhood, so keep your eyes peeled and take notes.
Take a gut check
Do you feel happy and at ease in the neighbourhood you’re visiting? Would you spend time there if you didn’t live there? Listen to your gut instincts, not your head because something can seem right for you on paper but it can still feel all wrong.
Google the neighbourhood(s)
Are there any answers you can’t find online these days? Look up the potential neighbourhood(s) online to see what others have to say about living in them / visiting them. You might learn something unexpected and off putting like that there is a high crime rate in the area or that it’s considered a food desert. On the flip side, you might discover the neighbourhhood is beloved by residents and visitors alike and learn about hidden gems and popular rentals in the area.
Look for available rentals in your area(s) of choice
By now you should have narrowed down a few contender neighbourhoods that suit your needs. It’s time to look for a potential place to live in them. You can do this in a number of ways. Online you can do a Google search for available rentals in the area or try a tool like Padmapper or ViewIt which enable you to search for available listings by area. You can also do it the old fashioned way by visiting the area in person and looking for ‘for rent’ signage and ‘vacancy’ signs outside apartment complexes. It’s always a good idea to do some research to determine the average price of the type of rental you’re on the lookout for (for example, one bedroom, studio, two bedroom) in the area to ensure you don’t leap at a not-so-good deal.
We hope this guide helps you find your new home by neighbourhood!