the best location
Julie Garton-Good, GRI, DREI
We've all heard the three most important factors when purchasing real estate
are location, location, location. Well, it's true. Location is a vital
if not prime ingredient in purchasing a home.
When you purchase a home, you frequently do so with appreciation in mind.
Appreciation is the extra equity that builds in your home due to rising property
values and increasing costs of construction. Based on location alone, two
seemingly identical homes, one adjacent to a park and the other next to a tire
recycling center could have vast differences in value and consequently,
appreciation as well.
That's why it's vital to carefully evaluate the neighborhood when house
hunting. Here are some things to look for.
When choosing a home for the best re-sale value and appreciation, there are
three things you can do: drive around, walk around, and check around.
First, drive to the property as though you are seeing it for the
first time. Experiment by taking various routes. Prospective buyers often make
the sometimes fatal mistake of driving to a property by either the easiest or
the most scenic route. By taking this approach, you can totally miss an adjacent
neighborhood that is severely declining, and which may negatively affect
Make the trip during various times of the day, especially during times
you'll be commuting to and from the property. Does the traffic flow well or are
there traffic bottlenecks near the property that increase the noise, and could
decrease your peace of mind?
Second, walk around the neighborhood. Visualize yourself as an
appraiser--analyzing adjacent homes, street conditions, and parking areas. Be on
the lookout for overgrown grass, yards full of junk, and other eyesores like
non-working cars. Even if the development is fairly new, one or more of these
warning signs could mean that property values won't keep pace with the norm. By
walking around, you'll also be able to pick up on noisy neighbors, barking dogs,
and other concerns that are not easily detected when you are driving by.
Third, check around for information about the neighborhood's safety.
You'll need to view the home at night to check the external lighting. Are street
lights adequate, intersections well lit, and sidewalks easily accessible?
Make sure the front door of the home is easy to get to from the driveway,
unobstructed by large trees and bushes (don't forget, a clear line of vision
from the house to the parking area is especially important for prescreening
visitors at night).
Lastly, contact the public information officer of the local police
department. He or she can provide you with a detailed description of the type
and frequency of crime in the area based on the location of the cross streets
near the property. Some police departments will even visit the property and
perform a safety check for you.
By driving around, walking around, and checking around, you're well on your
way to choosing the best location your money can buy.
Remember, home ownership can be fun as well as financially rewarding,
especially when you're "A Frugal Homeowner".