When searching for your new home, it’s easy to get caught up looking for a house with all your ideal features. While you should try to find something with the number of rooms, lot size, garage, and basement space you desire, don’t let yourself forget how important your home’s location is. After you move in and experience daily life in your new house, the pros and cons of your location become very important to the ongoing ease and enjoyment of your life. Do yourself a favor and bring your home’s location front and center when you start your home search.
What’s your biggest need?
Not every buyer will have the same needs and desires when it comes to location. Consider these aspects of life in your new home to find the best place for you.
- Neighborhood safety. Are you moving to a neighborhood that will be safe and comfortable for your family? If you’re moving to a new part of town—or a new city entirely—take the crime ratings and types into consideration. While you may want to increase your living space, don’t forego safety for the additional living room or basement den. Make sure you will feel comfortable letting your children play out front or leaving your home empty for a long weekend. While every neighborhood has something to be wary of, it is worth doing your diligence and taking into consideration what aspects of an area and community make you feel safe. Is there a neighborhood watch? Are the streets well-lit? Is there a tight community of neighbors that look out for one another?
- Commute to work. Your daily commute may not seem as relevant when you’re looking at the size or acreage of your new home, but your ability to enjoy your new living space is affected by the amount of time you get to spend in it. Is your commute so long that you have to leave too early to take your kids to school? Will you get home so late that it’s already dark and you’re so tired you never watch the sunset from the gazebo you were so excited about when you purchased the home? Will you miss out on neighborhood activities that happen while you’re driving home? Consider what you want to get out of your new home and how your new commute will affect your ability to get it.
- Can your children continue at the same school? If moving to a new school, is the caliber of education better than where your kids attend now? Children experience more adjustment pains when moving to a new home than adults do. Minimize difficult transitions by finding a house close enough for your children to continue attending the same school. If your child wants to change schools, or if you must transition your child to a new school, is it a positive change or negative one? Does the school have good activities for your child’s participation? Will they have a long commute for baseball games or debate club? As they progress through school will the higher-level schools have opportunities for college and career advancement?
- Neighborhood and community activities. Will your new community provide the recreation you want? If you enjoy urban activities like walking around downtown, catching a show, or going to the city park, moving to a rural community to have a larger home may adversely affect your daily life enjoyment. On the other hand, if you currently live in town or a suburban neighborhood but genuinely love the outdoors, moving out of the city to a more substantial property near hiking trails or a nearby lake might be the right choice for you. Do you long to live in a close-knit neighborhood with lots of homes and neighbors to plan activities with for holidays and community events, or do you prefer a smaller area with larger properties allowing for more privacy? Don’t forget to take your preferred lifestyle into account when looking for your new home.
Think about what you want from your home's location and speak with your local real estate professional to learn which communities might be right for you.