Location, location, location – it’s a cliché, but that’s for a reason. Especially when it comes to buying real estate, location is one of the most important aspects, so there is no such thing as too much research.
In fact, most people don’t spend enough time looking into the location of what is, maybe, their forever home. There are a million things to consider – from climate to job opportunities and economy, to safety, local amenities, school districts, or resale value. Let’s talk about why location is, perhaps, the most essential aspect of your new home.
What Makes Your Ideal Location?
To determine your ideal location, you have to first think about where your priorities lie. Are you concerned about property values? Is the safety of your children your biggest concern? What about transportation? Do you have a car, or do you rely on public transportation?
The universally “ideal” location doesn’t exist, because that’s determined by your own needs and what you’re looking for. Some people are dead set on living as close to the ocean as possible. Others just want to have a short commute or have somewhere nearby to walk their dog.
Sit down and make a list of all the things you want from this home, and then separate them into Needs and Wants. Now, you get to rank them from most important to least important. That’s going to give you a pretty good idea of what you should be looking for and will ensure that you keep your eye on the prize.
Here are some of the most important aspects that people usually take into consideration:
Climate is one of the huge criteria for choosing locations. Where do you want to live? What is your ideal temperature? Can you take the bone-chilling cold of the Midwest? Will you go crazy in the hot sun of Texas? For many, California seems to be the ideal climate, but there are a lot of mild locations where you won’t suffer any extremes.
If that’s important for you, then this definitely narrows the number of locations you can move to, but it also brings you closer to your ideal home and ideal location. This will also impact the price and appreciation of your property. Orange County real estate can be eye-wateringly expensive, while Omaha will get you more bang for your buck. You have to weigh the pros and cons.
If you’re searching for luxury real estate, then retaining and increasing your property value is probably also a concern, an aspect where location features heavily. Sure, this property in Kansas is bigger, but that property in Newport Beach is oceanfront, which is going to not only retain, but increase the value of the home.
This is an investment, so you’ve got to think about it long-term: what do other people value? What are they willing to pay for? The answer to that is usually a tremendously beautiful location, so choose wisely.
Quality of education
If you’re shopping for a home, then you’ve surely heard that a good school district is very desirable and that a home located near one will retain and even increase its value. Why is that? Because access to quality education is scarce, but all parents want the best for their children. And they’re willing to pay for it.
In this case, the location of your home is strategic, even if you don’t currently (or ever!) plan to have kids. It’s a form of insurance for your property value.
The unfortunate reality is that access to basic utilities is not equal everywhere. From the cost of basics like water and energy to cable providers and internet speed, these aspects may very well determine what constitutes a great location – or a less than ideal one. It may be an afterthought for the average home buyer, but if you’ve ever been stuck with slow internet or a poor water supply, you know why that’s a mistake.
One thing to pay attention to is that even within the same area, coverage can differ wildly. You may have a good selection of internet providers in Costa Mesa, but very few in Bakersfield. Or the energy costs can rise or fall depending on the area, so make sure to do your research beforehand.
Transportation is typically closely linked to location, because the two depend on each other. If you own a car, you can afford to move to a more remote location because you have the independence. But if you don’t drive, or you have kids in school, you may be looking for a location that is close to the city or has easy access to public transportation.
This all depends on your needs and lifestyle – whether you have school-aged children, whether or not you commute, how often you need to travel, etc. and should be a major factor in your decision.
How Do You Know A Location Is Right For You?
Okay, but sometimes, you don’t realize a property is in a super convenient location – or on the contrary, a terrible one – until you’ve lived there for a while. And the last thing you want is to have buyer’s remorse on a huge purchase like a house. That’s why it makes sense to hedge your bets and do a test-run.
The easiest way to do it is rent an Airbnb in the area for a few days – maybe a week or two – and treat it like an investment in discovering whether or not this is the best location for you. And how do you do that? By sticking to your daily routine.
Drive to work – and back
Take your kids to school
Go for a run
Walk your dog
Shop for groceries
This way, you can really get a sense of whether this location works for you or not. Do you spend 2 hours in traffic every day? Is it impossible for your friends to visit you? Do your kids rely exclusively on you to drive them everywhere?
The location of your home can make your lifestyle incredibly convenient, or incredibly difficult. It impacts every aspect of your life, from commute to everyday activities and your social life. If it’s inconvenient for you to live your normal daily life in your potential new house, then it’s not the home for you.
As you can see, when it comes to real estate, location is one of the most important aspects that determines its value. No matter how perfect a home may seem, if the location isn’t right, then nothing is.
But how do you find this perfect location? Well, you have to think about your needs. Do you want a short commute? Or to live in a good school district? Is safety your utmost priority? Does your remote job heavily rely on a strong internet connection?
What’s important to you will dictate where your ideal location will be, whether you’re looking for comfort or a safe future investment.