Searching for a home can be both exciting and intimidating. Although buying a house is a great investment and a memorable experience, financial difficulties and failure to find the right property for you can make the decision a nightmare.
If you have difficulty deciding where to live, the more appropriate question to ask would be “how do you want to live?” You need to check your current lifestyle and interests before trying to figure out if you’ll feel at home in a particular neighborhood.
A lot of factors come into play when deciding where to live. It is not just about how much you can afford. Ideally, you want to live in the perfect home. However, before you can have it, you need to find the right place.
Choosing a neighborhood
Being in the right neighborhood plays a vital role in picking the house for you. The first thing you need to do is survey the area. Conduct sufficient research on what the neighborhood has to offer like amenities and recreational facilities. Remember that you will not only be moving to a new home but to a larger community as well. You need to be comfortable with the thought that you will be living in that particular neighborhood.
If you find a place that you’re comfortable to call home, you should be willing to make adjustments to make it your very own home. If you really like the neighborhood but find the house a bit expensive, you may need to look for a smaller house somewhere in the same community. You may also bargain with the seller by changing or eliminating a specific home feature just to bring down the cost of the home.
You should also project the value of the home years from now. In case of a resale, would the property value increase over time? In some situations, it won’t matter much if you’re having a condo unit, a bungalow or just a little cottage, because some neighborhoods are just valued high because of its amazing location. If you find a house that belongs to this kind of community, expect the appraisal of your home to yield promising results.
Another important factor to consider is your emotional or psychological attraction to the location. You might choose a particular neighborhood because of its coziness, slow-paced lifestyle, and homey vibe. Some neighborhoods are attractive because they have less traffic and friendly neighbors. Meanwhile, pet lovers will probably choose a place where they can relax and walk leisurely with their dogs within the community streets. On the flip side, you might prefer a community close to a busy urban district that fuels your hectic lifestyle. You may also like to live near entertainment spots and shopping districts, or prefer the buzz and noise of vehicles and people around the place.
Proximity to work or school is also a good point of consideration in choosing a home. You might find a home that you absolutely love, but is unfortunately quite far from your workplace or your child’s school. Are you willing to spend time traveling back and forth? You may find yourself happier in a small home with shorter travel time than in a huge house but with the need to commute far and long.
How can you really tell if a specific neighborhood is good for you? After checking your preferences and priorities, you can narrow down your hunt. This way, you will likely be able to find your desired home and close the deal quickly. Again, be prepared not to be able to meet all of your expectations.
Predicting the future
Buying a home is an expensive investment, so it’s best to decide for the right reasons. Don’t just buy a property because of how it looks today. A quaint cottage set in a picturesque location by the sea may sound like a great place to live in, but not if it’s prone to extreme weather conditions. In other words, you should assess potential problems – natural or man-made – that may diminish the value of the home.
This illustration sums up the importance of anticipating issues before deciding on a home:
Mabel bought her home decades ago in a charming neighborhood near the factories. Living conditions were satisfactory and the nearby factories helped residents get jobs and open up businesses. Mabel, also a factory worker herself, originally bought the home because she felt that the property would appreciate in value as years go by. Unfortunately, the factories were found to be generating environmentally hazardous wastes, forcing the government to shut them down. As a result, the community became desolate, rendering the value of the homes significantly low. Mabel was able to find a job in another town but transportation costs were affecting her budget. In short, what once looked promising is now a cause for worries.
Bottom line, you need to make the proper foresight when purchasing a property. This way, you won’t be surprised by untoward incidents or misfortunes that may affect your living conditions in the future.
The average U.S. citizen moves up to seven times in a lifetime, and that doesn’t exempt you even if you haven’t bought your home yet. When the opportunity comes, always buy with wisdom and protect your investment so that when time comes to sell, you can get a good profit.
Signs that show that a home has high value
- Constant construction. You should be able to spot the growth of a neighborhood by the bulk of construction projects going on. Any commercial and industrial development can significantly increase your home’s worth. More roads and bigger lanes are also tell-tale signs of a robust community.
- Business activities. Business decisions and economic factors – say, shutting down a factory due to bankruptcy or putting up a high-end shopping complex – can influence the value of the entire neighborhood including the local housing market.
- For-sale slogans everywhere. This is a reason for major concern, so better ask the locals why most people are selling their homes. Is it merely a coincidence that so many people are leaving the place, or is there an underlying reason for the departure?
- Too many rentals. A neighborhood that contains a lot of rental homes may be a sign that something is wrong. Owners of these houses may not find the neighborhood a great place to live in, hence the decision to have their properties leased.
Buyer location checklist
If you value proximity, check if the home that you’re interested to buy is located near the following:
- Area amenities. Although amenities are advertised in the brochures, it’s best to personally visit the place and see the facilities for yourself. Talking to locals can reveal pertinent information about the place that’s not printed on the flyers. You might have preferences for amenities like swimming pool, playground, amusement parks, theaters, round-the-clock groceries, posh restaurants, salons, public library, bookstore, and many others, depending on your lifestyle.
- Local schools. Do a quick online check for reviews on the nearby school’s ratings, test scores and class sizes.
- Community services. Familiarize yourself with the community and the events available for residents. The best place to start is by browsing the local newspaper. You may also drop by the city or town hall where you can inquire about taxes, traffic rules, ordinances and other projects.
- Local transportation. Check your options for public transport and ask how often it operates and how close it is to your preferred destinations.
- Time of commute. Determine how much time it takes for you to reach a particular location within the community. Are the streets congested? How long will the time of commute run going to your destination? Get a feel of the traffic by travelling at daytime and during the night.
- Proximity to frequented locations. Do you want to live near the city or is it alright for you to reside in the outskirts? The extent of your travel can help you determine expenses on gas or public transport. You might be able to save more if you stay in a possibly more expensive house but just minutes to the city than an affordable home but require you to spend time and money to commute.
- Economic stability. A balanced mix of residential, business and industrial neighborhoods is an indication of a progressive community. Meanwhile, neighborhoods that look like ghost towns with lots of for-sale or for-rent signs spell disaster.
- Crime rates. Safety should be a top priority in looking for your home, so choose one located in a safe and secure location. It is pointless to consider a neighborhood that looks beautiful and affordable but is located in a shady community with an alarmingly high crime rate.
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