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  #1  
Old 2010-10-10, 01:52 PM
NMG NMG is offline
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Default Moving to Ottawa Area in Near Future - Help!

Hi everyone,

I was hoping that you could provide me with some general thoughts and suggestions. My wife, small child and I are planning a move to Ottawa in the near future and we're in the process of looking at various areas (urban vs. rural), housing options (new vs. used), etc.

We will both be working in the downtown area and daycare will be required for our child. We're looking for a detached home, but aren't yet sure if we want to go with a new or used home. Price wise, I don't think we want to go much higher than $375K to $400K. We're coming from an area where our daily commute is a 10-15 minute drive and I know that this will be changing once we arrive, LOL. We don't have an issue with a longer commute, but we also don't want to be stuck in our vehicle and/or on a bus for an hour each way into Ottawa on a daily basis.

We've looked into Orleans a bit and it sounds like a good option for us given the proximity to the downtown, availibility of services, housing prices, etc. Are there any other areas that would be comparable? We'd love to live in a more "rural" setting if at all possible, however, I'm just not sure if we can balance the commute, house prices and daycare availibility with that lifestyle (just not sure if those areas exist out there). The distance of the commute isn't an issue so much for us as the time. I'd rather drive 40KM in 45 minutes to get somewhere rural than be stuck on a highway for 30 minutes to go 8KM if that makes any sense.

I've also looked at a bunch of different websites for home builders and it would appear that in many cases homes don't get built until they are "ordered" for lack of a better word. Out here in BC there are usually lots of spec homes already built and in the builders inventory so you can just move in with relative speed once everything is finalized. Does this happen out there much or are most new homes a longer process to purchase and occupy?

Thanks for any info you can throw my way. I'm going to go through the old threads as well as I'm sure there is a pile of info in them. Right now if we can short list some neighbourhoods or areas to look at, I think that will be a huge help (urban and rural).

p.s. I also have an 18 foot boat that will be making the trip with us. Do people normally store boats at their house out there? I know this may sound like a stupid question but when I look at some pics online, it doesn't look like there is much room on the properties to store boats and stuff like that if they won't fit in the garage. Am I wrong here or do most people store things like that away from their home?

Thanks a bunch!

Last edited by NMG; 2010-10-10 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 2010-10-10, 02:09 PM
eldender eldender is offline
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Orleans to downtown is a really tough drive, I've only had to do it a few times but nearly ripped my hair out.

If you guys are both working downtown, how about taking the bus? I think the majority of people who work there do that (to save money on parking as well as their own sanity!). In non-rush hour I think most of Ottawa is only a 20ish minute drive to downtown, but in rush hour that quickly turns into an hour +!

Some builders offer quick occupancy homes. In these cases, the house has already started and is just waiting on your finishes. But in general, they do have them on an "ordered" basis, which is nice since it means you can pick whatever you want! As well, you can do structural upgrades, which is something you cannot do once the house has started.

Here is a good site, you can see all the builders here:
http://www.ottawasnewesthomes.com/

For me personally, I prefer the west end. I find the east to be too flat and I don't enjoy how french it is. I can get to work in 20 minutes, but if I worked downtown that would be closer to 40. I'd take the bus though I think, just to avoid the stop and go traffic.
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Old 2010-10-10, 02:34 PM
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BrianT BrianT is offline
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There are park and rides in a bunch of places that should cut your commute a little bit but it means having to use your car and take a bus.
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Old 2010-10-10, 05:13 PM
NMG NMG is offline
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Thanks for the replies folks. The bus and park and ride are definitely things I would consider if it would help reduce the commute and save on parking costs downtown

Thanks for the link eldender, I'll definitely check it out. This whole process is a bit overwhelming coming from a smaller city that you know so well. Based one what I've looked at thus far, it appears as though new areas are popping up all over the place out there so it can be tough for an "outsider" to get a feel for where the development is occuring, etc. Rather, it looks like the whole place is developing and there are just slightly different aspects to each area.

We will come out a couple of times and have a look around before we make any final decisions so hopefully that will help the process.

Thanks again for the info!
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Old 2010-10-10, 09:47 PM
Yume Yume is offline
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There are several areas where there is good transit service/park-and-rides. We looked at Orleans (the Chaperal/Avalon/Notting Hill South area), and we really liked it, and the connection to downtown was good, and is going to improve in the near future.

We ended up in Barhaven due to timing and finding a really nice location close to nature/trails, but also great shopping and a reasonable commute to work (which will also improve in the near future).

If you want to check out commute times for specific areas, OCTranspo's travel planner is pretty good: http://www.octranspo1.com/?from=splash

If you look on the MLS or Grapevine, you can find some properties under 400k near downtown. (including this one, which has a driveway long enough to fit a boat: http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetail...Key=1710787006)

Most new homes won't come with a driveway long enough to fit a large boat. Some of the older ones do. There was a guy who parked his boat on his driveway on Prince of Wales (a fairly busy road), and everybody knew about it. It never went anywhere and it was there for at least 10 years. My friend's parents lived right next door, and all they had to say to people who needed directions was "We live next to the boat". It was quite funny.

I have friends who have a camper, and I don't think they park it in their garage/driveway. I can ask and see what they do with it when they are not using it.
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Old 2010-10-11, 12:46 AM
NMG NMG is offline
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Thanks for the info Yume. That's pretty funny about the boat, LOL. If you could find out about where your friends store their camper when not using it, it would be appreciated. With boats, I have a hunch that it's probably a case of just finding storage at a marina or other facility in the area somewhere and leaving it there. That's just not an option where I'm from (there are no marina's, it's more rustic type settings) so people tend to just keep the boats at their house and trailer them from place to place when they want to use them.

When you say that the commute in Orleans and Barhaven will improve in the near future, is that because of expanded transit service or road expansion? Future growth and proximity to infrastructure development is also something that I think is worth considering when we choose location, so stuff like that would certainly be relevant.

Thanks a bunch, this is a great message board!
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Old 2010-10-11, 01:14 PM
Yume Yume is offline
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I'll ask, but in the meantime, I found a couple of places on the internet:

West end:
http://613storage.ca/index.html (flash site with music!)

Barhaven/South West
http://www.primoselfstorage.com/index.php
http://www.bentleystorage.com/index.htm (they don't mention boats on their website, but their Google summary did).

South Bank st:
http://www.amjcampbell.com/storage.a...storage/ottawa

Orleans
http://www.orleansboatworld.com/storage.htm

Carp (not far from Kanata/Stittsville)
http://www.carpandcardevco.com/index.cfm

If you google "ottawa boat storage" you'll find more, but I don't think you'll have trouble finding a place to store it if your driveway isn't big enough.

I meant mostly in terms of transit expansions, as that was most important for us when we were looking for a house. I don't want to drive downtown on weekdays unless I absolutely have to.

Orleans:
The 94, which serves Orleans South/Innes Rd is going to get its own transitway for the final part of the route, which goes until Millenium at Trim Road. Innes Rd has already been expanded for cars over the last 10 years or so, and there is all kinds of shopping along it.

Barhaven:
The 95 right now has a transitway until Fallowfield, and then goes along Fallowfield and Greenbank to get to Strandherd. They are building a transitway along the train tracks and an underpass at Strandherd, so the bus will be faster. It will also extend to the intersection of Greenbank/Jockvale (and I assume go south along Greenbank once they have moved the road).

There has been a lot of infrastructure development in both Orleans and Barhaven over the last few years. I'm more familiar with Barhaven, since that's where we're buying, so here are the highlights:

- Strandherd bridge over the Rideau river for easier access to South Keys/Ottawa South
- Expansion of Longfields from Stranherd to Jockvale (almost done)
- Greenbank will be moved west over the river so that it can be expanded and buses can cross the bridge (I'm not sure if there will be direct access to the 416, but it's very easy from there anyway)

For more info on ongoing projects, there's a map on the city website: http://www.ottawa.ca/residents/const.../index_en.html

Also, Barhaven has lots of shopping, particularly around the intersection of Strandherd/Greenbank intersection.

I hope that helps.
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Old 2010-10-11, 03:36 PM
NMG NMG is offline
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That is AWESOME info Yume, thanks so much!

I'd also prefer not to drive downtown for work if I don't have to (pleasure outings are completely different) so good transit service on a day to day basis would be a big plus. Having the shopping and services available locally is also very nice.

How do you think Barhaven would be as far as raising a small child goes? Does it have a good "feel" to it? Lots of parks and things like that? Daycare availibility (not sure if you woud know that or not)? It seems like most of the new developments I've looked at out there are very "family friendly" so that is pretty cool. Honestly, it seems like the neighbourhoods are much more thought out and "engineered" out there as opposed to where I'm coming from where houses are just put up without much thought as to the surrounding services, future expansion, etc.
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Old 2010-10-11, 03:55 PM
Cosmogrrl Cosmogrrl is offline
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You'd be very comfortable in either Barrhaven or Orleans. Both offer very similar amenities, transit etc... If you drive directly downtown from either location in rush-hour, you will be cursing just the same from either location LOL
Riverside South may be a good idea for you as well; offers a bit more of a rural/subdivision feel to it, until it becomes inundated with retail/big box stores. I don't think you'd find a resale or new 'single' home for ~$400K though.
All in all, they are all well thought out communities.
Good luck!
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Old 2010-10-11, 04:44 PM
foxborough foxborough is offline
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We moved from BC to Orleans in 2007 and it was painless. The learning curve wasn’t that great, but there are some things worth knowing:
1. Yes, there are lots of housing developments happening right now all over the city. New houses are built from plans and the time to build is usually 1 – 1 ½ years. The price that you see though is never the price that you pay. The trend here is to pay a premium for a lot, then the price for the spec or basic home and then you pick out whatever upgrades you want at the design centre. Depending on the builder, location and your tastes, that new home can cost you considerably more than you think.
2. Building lots here in Ottawa are small. It isn’t uncommon to find 30, 35, 36, 38 foot wide lots. Some builders have 85 – 90 feet depth as standard also.
3. Property taxes here are high. Expect to pay at least 50% more than you are currently paying in BC. Garbage pickup is included.
4. Property taxes do not include your water. You pay for that separately and you are charged based on what you consume. Great for conservation though.
5. There is basically one major highway into the downtown from the west end and the east end. We live on the eastern boundary of Orleans and the drive downtown is 15 – 17 minutes outside of rush hour. Triple that during rush hour.
6. If you live in the west and drive downtown, be prepared to have the sun in your eyes during your commute.
7. The City doesn’t have many HOV lanes. This will also increase the length of your commute. They have dedicated bus lanes instead.
8. The City does a great job of keeping the roads cleared of snow during the winter. It also clears snow from sidewalks. Perhaps another reason we pay such high property taxes.
9. The bus system here is not always the most reliable. Even the Express buses don’t always show up or on time.
10. Getting to know the city can be a bit of a challenge. Street names often change at intersections and Ottawa is a city of bedroom communities that can take a while to get use to.
11. When driving in the City, be aware of 2 disturbing driving habits: people will do a u-turn whenever and wherever they like and they merge when they want to, not when it is clear to do so. Merge in Ottawa means get out of my way cause I’m coming over.
12. For some strange reason, most home water heaters are rentals.

Let us know if you plan to purchase a new home instead of resale. That is a different process that you will need to know lots about.
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