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Choosing a Neighbourhood in Halifax (part 2)

Halifax's Schools
If you have children, the proximity and quality of schools is an important consideration. Talking to neighbours with school age children can be helpful. In some areas schools will provide data (such as average test scores) that can aid you in determining a school's quality. In Nova Scotia the education system is excellent. Most students go to public schools. In Halifax is often a short commute to the nearest school. It is very usual to have to make a longer commute in order to go a better school.

Transportation in Halifax
Convenient access to public transportation and/or major highways can mean the difference between a pleasurable and not-so-pleasurable commute to work. Remember if you choose to live in Dartmouth, it may be more affordable, but if you have to commute into Halifax bridge tolls can be expensive. The Halifax bus system is slow, but fortunately most locations are within a short 45 minute commute. Buses in Halifax run every 15 to 30 minutes so it is important to know when they arrive. If you have your own car, it is easier. Most areas can be reached within 20-30 minutes (example downtown Halifax to Dartmouth or Bedford). The price of gas is generally higher in Nova Scotia then other provinces so expect this if you are planning to relocate. However, parking in Halifax is reasonable. Make sure you put money into the meter because it is strickly inforced. Halifax has many convenient parking garages located throughout the city, expect to pay about $5-8 per day or lots can be rented on a monthly basis for $50-100.

Amenities
Amenities like a grocery store, parks, recreational facilities, post office, dry cleaner and a doctor's office can make life easier if they are located nearby. This is usually never a problem in Halifax there is usually a local convenience store on every block and Sobey's (the Maritimes major grocery store) seems to always be close by.

Property Values
By researching the selling prices of homes in over the past decade or so, you may be able to predict future trends. Your Halifax real estate agent may be able to provide helpful data. In Halifax waterfront properties are historically good investments; however, finding waterfront properties can be very difficult and expensive $1 million +.

Utilities
Avoid unpleasant surprises by finding out what utility costs are before you decide to purchase. Fees for water, electric, cable tv, phone and gas vary greatly by region. Usually expect to pay $200-300 per month depending on the size of your home. Halifax has mild winter's and summers. So air conditioning not required in the summer and in the winter heating is generally less expensive then other parts of Nova Scotia (the harbour keeps the area warm).

Noise and Nuisances
It can be hard to get an accurate impression of a neighbourhood in just one visit. Be sure to return to the neighbourhood at different times of the day and night. Listen for traffic noise, barking dogs, low-flying airplanes and any other noises that could bother you as a resident. Halifax airport is located about 40 KM outside of Halifax which means that unlike most large cities where you have to worry about the noise of air traffic, it is not a problem in Halifax.


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