|Location, location, location
Julie Garton-Good, GRI, DREI
we purchased our first home in 1970, location was the most important factor in
buying real estate. Is that still true today?
location is still one of the prime ingredients in purchasing a home. However,
some buyers feel that the quality construction of the home and doing a thorough
inspection before purchasing are closely tied to location in importance.
Location impacts the amount of appreciation your home will
have, which is particularly critical today since inflation is low. Two identical
properties, one adjacent to a park, the other next to a recycling center, could
carry different market values based on location alone.
Property location also affects the type and amount of
financing you can obtain. A lender may require a larger down payment on a
mortgage in a less desirable area because appreciation will be less. A property
in an area of declining values could be tough to sell if foreclosure occurred.
Proximity to a high-crime area or an area that's run down will lessen the value
of the property.
Private mortgage insurance, which protects the lender
against the borrower's default, will cost more or be tough to get if the area is
in ill repair. Homeowner's insurance will cost more, too.
noticed that the salesperson showing us property always accessed houses in every
subdivision from just one main arterial street. Now that we want to take another
look by ourselves, what's the best way to do a thorough job of driving around?
the salesperson was trying to get there via the most logical route and not
trying to hide any adjoining neighborhoods that were falling apart.
Take the least likely route to the property. Pretend that
you are an appraiser, analyzing not just the property, but adjacent homes,
streets and amenities. Does the traffic flow well to and from the home? If you
make several trips at different times of the day and, if possible, different
days of the week, you'll get the best overview. (A friend once told me he had no
idea there was commercial zoning one-half block away until he stayed home from
work one day and heard noisy industrial equipment from a car detailing company.)
Note any busy intersections you find close to the property
(especially those in view of the house) and jot down their location. It would be
wise to call the proper city or county authority to determine if a light or
other type of traffic control system (like road widening) is planned. The
positive side of changes would be that traffic might flow more freely. The
negative side would be a traffic light glaring in your bedroom window after the
changes were made. This could drastically affect the resale of the property as
well as property value.
are so many communities to choose from in my area, what are some guidelines to
help narrow down the possibilities when we're looking for a new home?
choosing the interior features you'd enjoy in a home, evaluate your personal
lifestyle priorities. If quick access to work is important, and it's imperative
that you be within close proximity to the kids' school, you may be willing to
sacrifice quiet country living for a lifestyle of convenience. If, on the other
hand, you couldn't bear to be outside of walking distance from a championship
golf course, that's a priority. Rate your top five personal priorities and how
they affect your lifestyle.
Don't forget to address the trade-offs you'd be willing to
settle for. There are very few homes and living situations which are perfect.
What are you willing to sacrifice? What will you not live without? Keep these in
mind when house shopping.