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Choosing a neighbourhood
If you have children, the proximity and quality of schools is an important consideration. Talking to neighbours with school age children can be helpful. In some areas schools will provide data (such as average test scores) that can aid you in determining a school's quality.
Convenient access to public transportation and/or major highways can mean the difference between a pleasurable and not-so-pleasurable commute to work.
Amenities like a grocery store, parks, recreational facilities, post office, dry cleaner and a doctor's office can make life easier if they are located nearby.
By researching the selling prices of homes in over the past decade or so, you may be able to predict future trends. Your real estate agent may be able to provide helpful data.
Avoid unpleasant surprises by finding out what utility costs are before you decide to purchase. Fees for water, electric, cable tv, phone and gas vary greatly by region.
Noise and Nuisances
It can be hard to get an accurate impression of a neighbourhood in just one visit. Be sure to return to the neighbourhood at different times of the day and night. Listen for traffic noise, barking dogs, low-flying airplanes and any other noises that could bother you as a resident.