The importance of neighbourhood

When industry experts talk about ‘location, location,
location’, what do they mean, exactly? What makes a location good? Some people
talk about proximity to the city, but if you don’t work in the city, is it
really worth paying extra to live nearby? What should you look for in a location?
In short, you need to find YOUR neighbourhood – a place that matches your needs.

First, you need to know what you want. Think about your
life, or the life you want to lead in your new home. Do you want to walk to
shops and restaurants? Is work nearby? Do you want a village atmosphere or anonymity? Do you have young
children who want playmates? Are you a homebody, or do you like to go out?

Once you have a fix on what’s important, seek it out, but
think laterally. Do you really need to be on the expensive side of the road
when the local school, playgroup, day care
centre or park are on the other side – you could save money and be in a better
neighbourhood for you. If you like being at home then you may want to trade a
walk to the shops for a bigger block of land for your garden, a nice view or
amenities like a pool that make being at home more enjoyable – despite people
telling you that nearer the shops is a better location. If you like going out,
do you really need a house with a second living area when a smaller house in
the inner city may be a better fit?

Mind you – the inner city isn’t always where it’s at – many
suburbs have a dense commercial hub in the middle with shops, restaurants,
clubs and other attractions. On the other hand, many inner city dwellers say
that they have more of a ‘village’ atmosphere there than when they lived in the
suburbs because the population density means that they are always bumping into
people they know in the park and out and about in their neighbourhood.

A great way to find ‘your neighbourhood’ is to find people who
enjoy the same things as you and ask where they live. Or look up the things you
want to do – playgroups, bars, restaurants, beaches, sporting fields, schools –
and look for homes nearby.

Visit your new neighbourhood outside inspection times, walk
around and see what it’s like. Are there children playing in the parks during
the day, are the restaurants and bars doing well, are people playing sport on
the weekend? Is there parking for you and your visitors when people are playing
sport, socialising or going to church nearby?

Then talk to your Loan Market broker about a mortgage that
matches the way you live.

And once you’ve moved to
your new neighbourhood, make sure you do your bit – engage with local parents,
volunteer at local charities, play for the local team, eat in the local
restaurants, shop in the local shops – participate to make it great.