When you are considering a home purchase, you should always be thinking of it in terms of it being 'Your Dream House'.
Now you may not end up buying a sprawling 10,000 square foot mansion, with Brad & Angie living next door, but you should at least have an image in mind of the things that would really make you happy. You are going to come home to it every day for the foreseeable future, so there should be some things that make you smile when you pull in the drive.
Most people start their search by looking on MLS. Nothing wrong with that at all. And people often only focus on one specific area when looking for homes. Now granted, some people have made up their mind on an area, town or neighbourhood. Family, proximity to work and other factors can come into play, and they should. However a common mistake people make when buying a home is ‘settling’ on something they’re ‘OK’ with, simply because it’s all they were able to find where they were looking. Its fairly normal for people to initially feel uncomfortable considering locations they are less than familiar with. But honestly, have you ever gone to visit someone living in an area you are unfamiliar with? Did you actually feel uncomfortable when you got there? Probably not.
So as long as the areas you are considering meet your locational needs (like proximity to work / transit, good services, etc), why feel uncomfortable? Let me give you a scenario, which demonstrates the value of at least considering ‘a bigger picture’ in terms of location.
A husband & wife were middle aged with 2 20-something sons still living at home. They had always wanted a home with a little more property than their current ‘standard city-sized lot’, and ideally wanted a bungalow. Everyone in the home was working, so proximity to work / transit options were key. With the new 404 extension, the buyers figured homes with larger lots would be abundant in that area, and with the highway there, commuting wouldn’t be a problem. Well they did find some homes in that area, but began to realize the type of home they were looking for just didn’t seem to be available. And because the area was still growing, the services like shopping, transit, and so on just wasn’t there yet.
So they had pretty much given up thinking that bungalow on a couple of acres was in the cards for them.
Sharing their disappointment at a get-together they attended some time afterwards, they ended up talking with a few different people who mentioned a couple of areas they hadn't even considered. They later mapped out a few of these places based on their original criteria. Near a highway, distance from work, transit, services and so on. They were astonished at how many options they had overlooked. From there, they were able to then start looking at the availability, and came up with a number of amazing places.
Where they ended up was just a little west of the 404 corridor, along the 400 corridor. In fact, the area they settled in had better services than in their current location which was closer to the city. They simply had no idea this particular area had advanced so much. But it stands to reason. Ontario is growing & changing. There are places that years ago were not really considered viable given common criteria. And yet now, these areas have developed into some of Ontario's Best Kept Secrets. One of them may be just right for you.
And as you can imagine, you may find that moving a little further out from the city center translates into a significant difference in housing prices. You may find you can afford more or have to spend less, depending on how you look at it. Now depending on your situation, any increase in your commute to and from work may not be something you are willing to accept. Having done the commute to downtown myself, I can completely understand. But as housing prices increase and people are literally being pushed out of the downtown area, improvements in train & bus service to these outlying areas are making them much more attractive.
So with that in mind, try not to be too narrow-minded when considering the locations you look in. You may find your dream home is out there. You were just looking in the wrong location.