Choosing the location of your next home is a tricky business. It will be one of the major determining factors of your propertys future market value, not to mention the crucial effects on your new lifestyle. As I think this matter deserves at least an article of its own, I've touched upon the subject and compiled a list of location-related issues for you to consider, all with a set of Vancouver specific information.
Population - take a good look around and determine the characteristic population of the neighbourhood. Some might attract a younger crowd, while others are predominantly occupied by retired workers. With a fast paced market such as Vancouver, it's harder, but, if you look carefully - you'll see emerging patterns which go hand in hand with the surroundings. For example, Dunbar has inhabitants of mixed age that prefer a peaceful setting, while Gastown attracts lower-income earning professionals and urban artists. Because of space constraints, feel free to check back to this site for a throughout guide for every neighbourhood in Vancouver.
Crime rate - it's one thing that everyone worries about. To check, call the local police department and ask them to provide you with details. Do your research on the Internet by typing in the name of neighbourhood and "crime statistics". When looking around in the area, keep an eye out for things like high fences, bars on accessible windows, beware of dog signs and signs of vandalism such as graffiti, or broken windows. Are the lawns clean and nice?
Traffic - heavy traffic can cause many unpleasant moments in ones life. Ask the neighbours and drive around the area in peak times if you can. Another way to check is to look for traffic lights and signs. The more there are, the denser the traffic and the more waiting time for you. Factor in your population research as well.
Noise - along with heavy traffic comes a lot of noise. It can be also sourced from a nearby factory, airport, train station or even playgrounds. Don't underestimate the last one - twenty kids on a playground are louder than a highway with trucks zooming by.
Smells - nearby factories, processing plants, water recycling facilities, gas stations or bakeries can bring strong unpleasant smells. Again, the best is to check by taking a walk and asking the neighbours.
Visual Pollution - ball fields that play night games, power lines, radio and television towers, bus fleet parking spots, 24/7 shopping zones and big nightclubs are known to light up the skies at night. If you care about pitch black darkness or astronomy is one of your hobbies, don't choose a spot which is of considerable proximity to the listed things above. Living in metropolitan areas such as Vancouver will always present a problem of this kind. The most you can do is to choose a house where the bedroom windows aren't facing the city or there's some sort of a visual barrier such as a smaller forest or hilltops.
Comute time - depending on your lifestyle, you should factor in commute times as well. How long does it take to reach your office, the nearby amenities, hopsitals or the centre? Is it complicated to drive around?
International access - if you often travel internationally or have visitors coming several times a year, you should consider looking for a neighbourhood with a good proximity or easy road access.
Economic Stability - five, ten, or even fifteen years from now – when you want to sell your home – you can have a reasonable expectation that your community will still be a desirable place to live. Citizens of Vancouver don't have to worry too much about this, but choosing a good neighbourhood can make matters much better in the long run.
Day vs. Night - some neighbourhoods have split personalities, so to say, as they can attract a completely different crowd at day compared to night. What might seem as a quiet and relaxed part of the town can turn into a rush monster after sunset. Things to look out for are nearby clubs, bars, When choosing your next location, make sure you'll take a walk at night as well.