We recently had a situation with a home owner in Orangeville where they met with us to express concerns over a new home project that was being built in very close proximity to their home. These clients told us when they had purchased their home about 4 years ago, the realtor at the time had not told them about the pending housing project that had been proposed to be built in the vacant field behind their home. I explained to them, very respectfully, that it was likely because the realtor simply didn’t know because he wasn’t familiar with the Orangeville area.
And that brings us to the point at hand. If you are looking at purchasing a home, we believe it’s imperative that you use a competent realtor who is intimately familiar with the area you want to live in. Local, professional, well informed realtors will help insure that you know the short and long term changes that are potentially scheduled to take place in your new neighborhood. There are many things to be aware of. Look at current zoning of properties adjacent to an area where you are considering a home purchase. This will give you an immediate sense of what type of development you can expect in the short term. More importantly, a buyer or his realtor should be able to look at the town’s official plan (OP) to help you be aware of mid and longer term projects.
We have had development issues that have occurred here in Orangeville that have “upset” home owners in town. There was a situation where Spencer Avenue (which was previously a dead end) was opened up and connected to Centennial Road. What this did was exponentially increase the traffic volume on Spencer Avenue; which went from being a quiet cul-de-sac to a major through fare. As you can likely guess, home owners were very upset but this connection has been on the books for a decade.
Another situation that has occurred is where towns and cities are looking at increasing densities in certain areas within their townships. Here is what happens. A developer will come into a location and look for homes that have been built on very large lots. Back in the day when these homes used septic systems, the homes would be built on 1 acre+ lots. A developer will “assemble” 3 or 4 of these lots and then apply to the municipality for site plan approval; allowing them to knock down the existing homes and increase the density on the properties; typically by building town homes or semi-detached homes. You might ask yourself, why a town would allow this to happen? We had a situation in Orangeville where a developer purchased 2 homes with a combined area of 3.2 acres of property. Each home was paying about $8000 in taxes for an annual tax income of about $16,000. The developer tore these two homes down and built 50 town homes on the site. Each of these 50 homes pays about $5,500 in taxes which equates to an annual tax income for the town of $275,000. So at the end of the day, it’s in the town’s financial interest to increase density where it makes sense.
So the closing thought here is simply this. The best way to protect yourself when purchasing a home is to make sure you use a local realtor to help you purchase that dream home. Out-of-town agents seldom know mid and long term changes a town is undergoing.