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Article: How to choose the right neighbourhood
When you’re buying a home, the local neighbourhood and community will make a big difference to your enjoyment of that property, and it's prospects for future capital growth. Here are some of the things to look for:
Are all the essential shops and services in the area and are they handy to your house? Drive around and look for the local grocery store, church, gas station, cafes and the like. While you’re at it, take a good look at the community’s leading shopping centre. Often, if the local shopping centre is in decline, chances are that the neighbourhood is in decline as well. If there are a lot of vacant shops in the neighbourhood, it might be a good idea to explore other options.
In New Zealand there tends to be a preference, within urban areas anyway, to want to live handy to a neighbourhood centre. However, it is generally unwise to choose a property that adjoins that centre. The preference is to find a property perhaps a street or two away from the centre. Why?
Shopping areas tend to be zoned for more intensive use than residential zones. Thus the shop next door may well be redeveloped at some stage into a multi-storey office or apartment block. This could have a substantially detrimental affect on sunlight and privacy to an adjoining residential property.
Check the zoning of the property you are interested in and the properties that surround it. This will help alleviate the possibility that your property could be built out in the future.
The ideal property provides easy access to local highways, major traffic routes and major thoroughfares as well as to public transport. But try to avoid purchasing a house located on a street that is a favourite shortcut of motorists between two busier streets. To spot these short-cuts it's a good idea to visit the property during peak traffic hours - generally when people are going to work or going home. You will then see how much traffic the street experiences.
A house located on a corner lot tends to attract more street traffic and may not be that safe for children. Instead, try to find a house that is in the middle of the block or in a cul de sac.
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