If you are moving city or looking to relocate within your hometown, you’ll have heard of at least several suburbs heralded as the most desirable places to live. However, buying into a neighbourhood based solely on its reputation could be a trap. Despite all your best research from afar, the best way to really experience a neighbourhood and see if it lives up to your expectations is to check it out in the flesh.

In order to really do your homework, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with key aspects of living in the area – this means putting in the hours! Whenever you have time, make your way to the neighbourhood you’re interested in – on evenings, weekends and different times of the day. Monitor the traffic, check out the local cafes and visit the schools – it’ll all help you get a better picture of living there.

The ‘try before you buy’ approach requires a little patience, but will position you far better to contemplate buying opportunities when they arise.

What to look for:


It goes without saying that your budget will greatly affect your ability to buy into a neighbourhood. A good trick is to attend a few auctions as a passive observer. Compare the differences between asking prices and what the house actually sells for. If the suburb is in red-hot demand you may find that your competitors are willing to spend thousands over their budget in order to secure the property. Be careful not to get caught up in a price war and be prepared to consider a range of neighbourhoods should prices exceed your budget.

Future Developments

Consider buying into cheaper suburbs and looking at the purchase as a long-term investment as well as a home. There are many neighbourhoods that may not look like much right now but are primed to take off in a big way. Getting in before the rush could be extremely profitable for you, so be on the lookout for some of the tell-tale signs that a suburb is about to soar in value:

Renovations are happening everywhere

If the neighbourhood is thick with builder’s trucks and renovations are popping up left, right and centre, property values could be about to rise. You wouldn’t necessarily have to renovate your own property, as the rise in the value of your neighbours’ homes has a flow on effect to the value of yours.

Big retailers are coming to town

Before a large retailer opens, they do a lot of research about the area. This means they’re either expecting big amounts of foot traffic in the coming months, or the population growth in the area has already struck. Either way, more businesses trying to get into a suburb can be another sign of rising property value.

Roadworks are on every corner

Not fixing the small pothole kind, but large infrastructure detours. If the local council is boosting its infrastructure in the area with increased transport routes, schools and public facilities, chances are there is a population surge on the horizon. This will increase demand for properties in the area and push prices up.

Industrial is the new black

Remember that inactive industrial area you purposely avoid when driving through this neighbourhood? Chances are that old, uninhabited site is being bulldozed down as part of the council’s urban renewal project. Old, becomes new and new becomes a higher price tag for your suburb.

A word to the wise – not all developments will be public information. To avoid any surprises, get in touch with Nectar. We have access to reliable sources of information in the real-estate industry and can keep you up to date with any developments.

Traffic, Transport & Parking

Building an understanding of traffic flow, public transport routes and parking options will all be critical aspects for consideration, greatly affecting your quality of living and enjoyment of your new neighbourhood. Observe traffic levels at different times and days of the week along the main arterial routes as well as the side streets. Factor into your thinking your place of work and destinations you frequent out of necessity on a weekly basis. Try out the range of public transport options, monitor their reliability and how they are impacted during peak travel hours.

If you’ll be driving a lot, parking will be one of your primary considerations – both on residential streets and the main strip, shopping areas, schools and other public amenities. Consider the number of spaces you require not only for yourselves but for your visitors if you like to entertain – nobody will enjoy parking hundreds of meters down the road on a rainy day! When urban developments occur, the competition for parking space almost inevitably heats up; so if there is growth planned in the area, inquire as to how this would impact your ability to park.

Local Amenities

Scouting out a neighbourhood will allow you to assess the local range of facilities against the needs of you and your family. Is it important to have grocery supplies or a gym within walking distance? Do the nearby restaurants serve any of your favourite foods? How far away are the closest schools and do they meet your expectations?

If you’re after a family-friendly neighbourhood you won’t want to buy a home only to realise that the bar on the corner plays loud music until the early hours of the morning! Conversely, if you prefer to live near a range of nightlife and entertainment options, you’ll soon bore of a suburb where everything closes by 8 pm.

Whilst investigating, take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the neighbourhood community. Through meeting residents you can tap into their local knowledge, hearing what they love about the suburb as well as their frustrations. When checking out open homes you’ll also want to suss-out the type of people who are also interested in the area, as they will be part of the future fabric of the neighbourhood. Certain communities will attract certain people, so make sure you are at least somewhat compatible with your neighbours.

Ready to buy?

So you’ve done your homework, found the right neighbourhood and the perfect house has just gone up for sale? Now’s the time to seize the opportunity!

For more information about the range of home loans we offer, speak to the friendly team at Nectar today and make your dream a reality.