When looking for the best place to live, choosing your neighborhood is as important as deciding on a specific house or apartment. You will be looking for a place that suits your budget, while still considering aspects such as safety, proximity to work, and school and amenities. Purchasing a home is not just buying a house; it is also investing in a community, so you have to be extra careful in your choice.
A neighborhood can be anything from urban centers and master-planned communities in the suburbs, to everywhere in between. Each will have its perks and cons, depending on your standards of an ideal place to settle in. Whether you are looking for large residential neighborhoods or niche areas, there is a community type that will fit your lifestyle. You just have to know what to look for.
Choosing the Right Neighborhood
With so many types of neighborhoods to consider, you are probably unsure of where to start. If so, begin your quest by asking the right questions. What features are you looking for in a community? Do you prefer a busier area or quiet streets? Is an old neighborhood better, or do you prefer something newer? Will its proximity to shopping centers and restaurants seal the deal? What about the amenities?
For homeowners with young children, one major aspect of finding the perfect neighborhood is a good school. You will want to know how big the classes are and the percentage of students graduating and pursuing higher education. Public transportation is another factor. What are your options if you are not driving your own car? When getting to work, how long is the commute time? Will there be too much traffic?
Lastly, it is important that your choice of neighborhood be safe and secure. Most of the information regarding area crime rates are readily available online, but if you are thinking of moving to smaller towns, you may need to be more creative with your fact-finding. Check the local papers for crime reports or contact the local police department. If you are interested in finding a good neighborhood in Greater Toronto Area regions like Ajax, Paradise Developments will be a great help.
9 Types of Neighborhoods
There is a lot that makes a neighborhood distinct. You are probably set on the larger and more well-known urban and suburban communities, but there are smaller and niche areas that might suit you and your family’s standards better. The following are the different types of neighborhoods to consider.
Urban core, also called downtown, is one of the neighborhood types located in the major metros. Homes are a combination of single-family homes and apartments, with modern lofts and condos in between. Expect your neighbors to be a mix of young professionals and low- to middle-income families. Housing is generally affordable, but the crime rate is higher. Living downtown also comes with parking challenges, so it is best to be aware.
Another one of the kinds of neighborhoods in the metro area, the urban pioneer is an up-and-coming community composed of immigrants, divorced parents, young singles, and couples. Located near downtowns and suburbs, the houses are mostly fixer-uppers and apartment buildings, with older single-family homes interspersed. New developments in the area will likely increase the value of cheaper homes, but constant construction can be maddening.
Similar to urban pioneers, these types of neighborhoods are near business hubs, though not the city’s main downtown. Residents are usually middle-income couples with or without kids and young single professionals. Houses are newer single-family homes and upscale condos and apartments. If you want something close to work, shopping, and nightlife, the new urban neighborhood is for you. That is if you can deal with inflated home prices.
Discussions about different neighborhoods will not be complete without cul-de-sacs. Cul-de-sac is a term for communities located in the suburbs and new areas. It is home to couples who have decided to uproot and focus on family life. Houses are generally large single-family homes with big lawns, tract homes, and some newly built abodes. Neighborhood associations are active. If proximity to city hotspots is not a priority, this may be it for you.
Pedestrians still belong in the kinds of neighborhoods located in major metros but in the smaller pockets. Here, you will find lofts above businesses and cozy condos and apartments. Residents are mostly single professionals and hipsters. You will not need a car to get around, but if you own one, expect little parking spaces. Pedestrian communities tend to be noisy due to population density, so you may want to reconsider if you prefer a quieter life.
You do not come across these neighborhood types often. Think French Quarter, with large, older single-family homes and architectural styles ranging from Victorian and Queen Anne to Colonial Revival. Residents are middle-aged couples and home improvement enthusiasts. Historic neighborhoods have lots of curb appeal, but you may want to skip them if you will not be able to keep up with all those home maintenance and style requirements.
Included in the list of different types of neighborhoods is the status/destination communities. Residents are an affluent bunch, from executives and millionaires to celebrities and wannabes, who live in large, custom-built homes in gated communities, luxurious penthouses and mansions. It has everything – status, privacy, exclusivity – and if living the best life is your mantra, you will fit right in.
These communities are located in coastal and sunbelt cities, where homes are mostly small apartments and condos, preferably low maintenance, with all kinds of amenities. Residents are empty nesters and single seniors who enjoy social events and organized activities arranged by the neighborhood association. If you are young, single, and enjoy the company of your own age group, you may find life here boring and dull.
Rural caps off the list of different neighborhoods. Located miles from the city, they consist of custom-built homes with lots of acreage and plenty of room to grow. You will find that residents are scarce and homes few and far between. There is a smaller choice when it comes to shopping and recreation, but the cost of living is lower. If you enjoy nature and lots of space, this may be the community for you.