Location, Location, Location
In real estate, location is always considered to be the top priority. Everyone wants a home in a location they find desirable. And this is worth noting: what one person finds “desirable” is definitely subjective. Desirable for a young business graduate in downtown Toronto may not be as desirable for a 50 year old farmer.
So what makes a location desirable? Things like schools, convenience, safety, amenities, proximity to things that are important to you.
The marketing decision tree
Years ago, Ryan went through a number of marketing exercises at Kimberly- Clark, an international consumer packaged goods company. They produce products like Huggies diapers and Kleenex tissues and always strive to better understand consumer needs.
One of the methods used was a “Decision Tree”. This identified the key priorities of a buyer and helps us understand what the “must have” as the top branch. From there, you can form secondary priorities.
For example, a buyer of a home may say that a grocery store within a 1km walking distance is the absolute priority. The rest of the criteria are completely negotiable. From there, the rest of the tree start to fall in place: what locations have a grocery store within this distance? What are prices in areas with a grocery store nearby? What style of homes are in this area?
A property in a small, rural town is going to be significantly cheaper than a condo in Toronto. Why? It comes down to simple supply and demand. More people are interested in living in the condo area because of the amenities it offers (likely including a Beer Store!). This is what makes the location so important and why prices to to increase quicker in more urban markets.
Highly developed cities that don’t have a lot of land left for additional growth are typically forced to build ‘up’ instead of out. Areas like Toronto’s downtown core, Vancouver or Montreal are in this situation. Location is what allows a 2 bed, 800 square foot apartment to cost more than a 5 bedroom home with 4,000 square feet in smaller areas.
Amenities are not just about restaurants, coffee shops or pubs in Guelph. One of the things that many homebuyers will factor into their decision is the school district. Buyers will make entire decisions on proximity to school, as well as the actual school reputation. People who have children are intending to have children are reasonably concerned with the quality of the school their child will be sent to.
It’s also not just about “what” school it is. It’s also about proximity to that school. You may be moving to a home that is in the catchment of a great school, but it’s a 30 minute bus ride for your child.
This is a common trade off for more rural locations: you get the privacy, land and lower prices in more rural areas, but the amenities are much further away. It changes the way you live your life.
Even for people that don’t have children, the quality of the school system will impact the value of their home. This is true across the country. However, it might not be as important in a town that is retirement or vacation focused.
Homes in cottage country or rural towns tend to be less concerned about school districts and school sizes since they are more rural.
Planning: where’s the Beer Store
If you live in a more rural area or small town, you plan your life different than someone who lives in a condo in Toronto. Think of it this way:
If you have a small town life, you don’t have amenities like a full grocery store or Beer Store nearby. So, on the 2-4 times per week you are in the bigger city, you load up on everything you need. You’re forced to be a better planner when you have a more rural lifestyle. As a result, if you run out of butter for a recipe you have ample supply!
It’s no luck that you’ll find Guelph Costco where’s it’s located. Costco does extensive research to determine where their clientele is coming from. Placing stores near city borders is because those who live rurally will load up on groceries at Costco. It’s no different that what a Starbucks, Beer Store or when there is suddenly a Tim Hortons near me. These companies know what they’re doing.
But, if you live in a condo downtown Toronto you plan differently. Day to day, you don’t use a car. So, you’re not in a situation to load up on groceries like a more rural homeowner would be.
Instead, you plan day-to-day, only buying what you can carry up the elevator of your condo tower. Breakfast foods, lunch foods and dinner foods are all planned on short notice. This is why more urban markets have a lot of single serve options.
On top of the necessities, luxury amenities and other unessential services can also factor into how desirable a location is. Being able to walk or easily access a yoga studio, gym, popular restaurants, and shopping locations can make a location more desirable.
One of the major considerations when making a decision on a house location is transportation. Ask yourself “how important is it that I can get around quickly if needed?”
One of the reasons that location is so important in real estate has to do with how people move around the neighborhood and city. Transportation allows you to access the many amenities that an area offers. And it’s not just your day to day life- it’s for future re-sale as well.
Some property locations might make walking grocery stores, LCBO, Beer Store, restaurants, entertainment, and shopping quite easy. Others might have easily accessible and safe public transportation options that allow people to easily travel around a busy city.
Talk to your Guelph realtor: Is your house near a bus stop? Are you close to the subway? These conveniences are a huge bonus when considering a home purchase because they make day-to-day life easier.
Living in cities with great transportation options is seen as more desirable since you won’t need to use your car all the time. Some folks may not even need a car with public transportation.
However, if you live more rurally, you need to consider other options. Do you need a car for work? Have you factored in the monthly costs of owning a car? Fuel, repairs, insurance, snow tires, etc. Your transportation needs to be reliable
On the other hand, some cities and most rural locations require that people have a vehicle. In some areas of the country, the traffic is often quite bad and can make commutes and running errands much longer than they should be.
Guelph is made up of many different neighborhoods that have their own characteristics and features. For example, living in East Guelph is very different than living in a downtown community or Kortright Hills.
Which neighborhoods appeal to you is certainly in part a matter of personal choice. However, many people will be interested in the amenities, appearance, and accessibility of the neighborhood.
An example is the long standing issue of lack of amenities in the Grange Road neighbourhood (Beth and Ryan often use the geographic areas defined within Guelph realtor maps).
The Guelph real estate market has been on the rise for years. Now part of the area codes 437, 416 and 905, it has benefited from proximity to the big city. Towns that were seen as undesirable will likely be up-and-coming in a decade or two, once gentrification sets in.
On the other hand, some areas might be at the beginning period of a decline in appreciation. This could be because amenities are starting to shut down or a major employer in the area has move out.
It isn’t always possible to predict what will happen to a neighborhood over the course of years or decades. However, certain neighborhoods have the right factors to point to future appreciation potential.
Another thing that factors then the desirability of property location is future plans for development. This is especially true if the amenities are commercial establishments like a bank, drug store, Beer Store, LCBO or a Tim Hortons.
If there are plans for civic infrastructure like hospitals, public transportation, or new schools, it can also improve property values in the area.
What about pre-construction homes? New Construction neighborhoods are always an option, but they aren’t as common as resale homes You’ll want to be sure you understand the future outlook of the neighborhood and area.
What else is planned? Is it commercial? Residential? A good mixture of both?
While the location of a home is important on a bigger scale, it’s also important to take the specific lot’s location into account.
Not all homes in the same neighborhood are created equal. People are not necessarily as interested in houses that are built right on a busy road are incredibly close to the Hanlon Expressway.
Homes located in an industrial or commercial area that have less of a neighbourhood feels might not be as appealing to families. However, there are others out there who like the hustle and bustle of busier areas and major arteries.
On the other hand, houses that are located right on a body of water (waterfront) or that have a beautiful view tend to be more valuable than those that do not. A house that borders to park in the same neighborhood as one that borders a busy road, all other things the same, will likely have a higher value.
The Condition and Age of the House
The house itself is also, obviously, an important part of your home’s value.
A home in pristine condition will fetch more money on the market been a home that needs a lot of work in the same location.
The age of the house will also be a factor. While older homes can be well-built and well maintained, they can be seen as requiring more upkeep and maintenance than your home.
Looking for a Guelph realtor? If you have any questions on amenities in the Guelph real estate market, reach out to us! We know what clients are looking for and what you should be aware of.