Take a lesson from that old real estate adage "location, location, location." Many seasoned homeowners will tell you that the size of your home and the amount of space you have—including extra living rooms, game rooms, or even acreage — becomes far less important to you in short order if the location is wrong.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How long is my commute to work? At first blush, the thrill of ownership may overshadow a long commute. Eventually, however, many commuters begin to feel that their families get to live in the home and they just visit for a few hours in the evening and on weekends. If being part of family life is important to you, look for something closer to your work, even if it's a little smaller.
- Is it near to my children's schools? As children progress through school, the number of activities for them to be involved in increases dramatically. If the commute to their school for ball games, drama club, band practice and the like is too long, either you'll spend all of your family life on the road or your children may miss out on things that could be important to them.
- How far away is shopping? Living on rural property or in a newer housing development may seem like the perfect opportunity, but if you run short on milk for breakfast, is it an hour round trip to the nearest market? Or, if you choose an urban condo for its great walk score to restaurants and nightlife, do you have to have a vehicle to drive just to find groceries? The inconvenience of far-away shopping affects the enjoyment of your new home.
- Do I enjoy activities in the nearest community? Whether urban, suburban or rural, your connection to your community affects your satisfaction and contentment with your location. If you prefer the theatre, but live in a community that only celebrates agriculture, your quality of life may suffer. Conversely, if you love the great outdoors, but your city only offers indoor activities, you may need to rethink the location of your home.
Of course, one of the biggest reasons to consider location is the future sale of your home. No matter how lovely your home is, or how perfect in every other way, its location can make or break a future sale.
But, if you're concerned about the environment, the location of your home can leave a larger or smaller carbon footprint. An EPA study points out that a home's location relative to public transportation, energy sources and the actual housing type significantly affect energy consumption.
Before beginning your home search, take time to reflect on what is most important to you. Then, let your real estate professional in on the secret. She'll narrow her search to those locations that fit your needs, wants and desires best.
I also like to suggest to my clients that they spend time in the neighborhood that they are considering. Go to the grocery store that you'll be using. Time the drive to the gym. Take the time to see what's around you. There's a reason Carmel Valley and Del Mar have far outpaced the inland communities with their escalating prices. These two communities are close to everything: beaches, shopping, freeways, excellent schools. Their home values stay constant. Something to keep in mind.Compliments of Sue Carr