It’s been said that location is everything when it comes to buying a home. It makes sense. After all, you can update a dingy kitchen but you can’t change your home’s proximity to mass transit, beautiful parks, or your family.
Choosing the perfect location to buy your home may be harder than you think. There are both personal and practical things to consider when you’re trying to decide what location is best for you.
3 Personal Factors to Consider When Deciding on Location
- Your Budget
You can create a wish-list for your ideal location a mile long, but certain amenities come with a price. You may find that living near a prestigious public school or a super trendy restaurant scene will leave you priced out of your ideal home.
“A lot of times people get so hung up on living in a ‘hot location’ they’re tempted to sacrifice on the size and quality of the home they buy,” said Kelly Boenzi of The Zimmerman Group. “When we dig deep into why that location is so appealing, homebuyers can broaden their search to include neighborhoods within their budget but with the same vibe.” She continued, “In the end, they’re happier than they would’ve been living in a house that doesn’t fit their needs simply because it’s in the hot location”
2. Your Ideal Lifestyle
Location has just as much to do with lifestyle as it does with a geographic location on a map. Chicago is a great example of individual neighborhoods having their own personalities.
“The Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park butt up against one another but they’re kind of the perfect example of location being more than just a place on a map,” said Emily Moore of the Zimmerman Group. “The Ukrainian Village has a lot of old-world charm that appeals to families while Wicker Park is hip and eclectic which makes it a popular choice for young singles.”
If you’re new to the area your REALTOR® can help you understand the often subtle differences between neighborhoods in any town you’re interested in.
3. Your Long-Term Plan
It’s not uncommon for people to move every 3 - 5 years, but if you plan to stay in your home longer, you should consider if your neighborhood has what it takes to grow with you.
No kids now but planning for them in the future? Don’t forget to check out local school ratings. Planning to retire soon? Maybe being close to public transportation really isn’t all that important after all.
3 Practical Factors to Consider When Deciding on Location
- The Town’s Infrastructure
It’s hard to know at a glance what lies beneath the surface of most towns. You can quickly assess the roads and bridges as you drive through the area, but you’ll have to rely on your REALTOR®’s expertise to figure out the quality of the energy, transportation, and internet systems.
Infrastructure repairs can be costly for municipalities who often pass the cost on to homeowners in the form of property taxes.
2. The Cost of Living.
The cost of living refers to how affordable a specific area is. To measure this statisticians factor in housing affordability, transportation costs, and the price of food and entertainment.
“In Chicago, the cost of living in an area like the Gold Coast is much higher than other lakeside neighborhoods like Buena Park,” said the Zimmerman Group’s Megan Ryan. “An experienced REALTOR® can help you understand how to get what you want in a location while still keeping you within your budget.”
3. How Well Homes Hold Their Value.
The real estate market is always changing, but some neighborhoods hold their value better than others. The two criteria that factor the most heavily into how well home values hold up over time are access to jobs and amenities.
Even if these things aren’t relevant to you, they are important to the majority of buyers so it’s worth considering how your desired neighborhood measures up in these areas.
Real estate agents have an in-depth understanding of the communities and neighborhoods they serve. Choosing a brokerage with a team that services a wide range of communities from urban to suburban can help you make sure your new home is in the perfect location for you.
Once you’ve found the home of your dreams it’s time to put an offer in. It can be hard for first-time homebuyers house shopping in a competitive seller’s market to stand out from the crowd. The Zimmerman Group’s got you covered with Tips for Making a Competitive Offer in a Sellers Market.