Affordable Suburbia

There's a reason why suburban living has become so popular as of late, and it's not because everyone in the world has a desire to live in cookie cutter houses buried in a warren of confusingly twisting streets. It's because condos in downtown Toronto are not large enough to raise a family in, and houses that are large enough are priced far beyond the range of most middle income families. The solution, therefore, is to live outside of the city. Here are some tips for finding an affordable suburban haven.

Living in suburbia is a trade off. The further out you're willing to live, the more homes on the real estate listings for Oakville will be within your price range. But don't let price be your only deciding factor. A two hour commute may seem like a reasonable trade off for securing a large home, but in the long run your commute may take over your life, damaging your relationships with your family and keeping you on the brink of exhaustion. Always make the drive or take transit to and from any home you're considering at rush hour to test the commute.

Not all suburbs are created equal, so don't assume one suburb is the same as the rest. The houses for sale in Ajax may look similar to the houses for sale in Brampton or Thornhill, but the neighborhood composition is often wildly different. Choosing a suburb is therefore often more about choosing your neighbors than it is about choosing a home. Tour several areas that are equidistant from your workplace before making up your mind about which ones to keep on your list.

Another thing you'll need to mention to your real estate agents when they're searching for properties you might like is the types of amenities you'll want to have nearby. Common neighborhood requirements for families moving to suburbia are good schools, access to parks or trails, nearness to shopping, and proximity to transit stations. Consider what your family needs to function when making your list.

And finally, always be aware of what the future could hold when you buy a home in suburbia. A Newmarket home might be a great choice today, but what about tomorrow when that field that offers the great view it turned into a shopping mall. And it may seem like a good idea to buy large while prices are low, but what's going to happen to your property taxes if the valuations climb back to pre-recession prices?

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