You’ve likely heard the saying about real estate: location, location, location. Try not to compromise too much on this very important factor.

Buying a home in a good area, as opposed to a dodgy one, can make the difference between a good investment and a property you could have difficulty unloading in the future.

“Worst house on the best block”

Real estate agents often recommend buying the “worst house on the best block.” That shows the importance of location – a home that needs work, but is in an excellent location will give you the best return on your investment. When it comes to apartments and condos, if the unit needs work but is in a solid, well-run building in a good neighbourhood, it can be an excellent option.

How will this location fit into your life

Narrow down your preferred neighbourhoods to one or two areas to help focus your home search. It’s a great idea to walk around a potential future neighbourhood at different times of the day and night, to get a sense for the area.

Think about your potential commute: Will you walk to work? If you prefer to drive, how long will it take? How is the traffic and access to the freeway? If you take transit, where’s the closest train or subway station, or bus stop? Is living close to a park important to you?

The importance of a safe neighbourhood

If you have children, are good schools nearby? Would it be safe for your children to walk or take transit to and from school?

How about yourself: will you feel safe walking home at night, or from the train station after work?

If the neighbourhood is perceived as being dangerous, it will impact resale value when it comes time for you to sell.

Where will you get groceries?

Think about the amenities you will need in your new neighbourhood. Where is the closest grocery store? Coffee shop? Restaurant? Is there a barber shop or hair stylist nearby?

There are lots of things to keep in mind. It can be helpful to make a list of what’s important to you, and what you will not compromise on.