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The House Is Right, Is the Neighborhood?

In today’s real estate market, location matters more than home amenities.

“Location, location, location” is one of the most popular refrains in real estate. According to the New York Times, it dates back to 1926 and still holds true today. It’s important for homebuyers to consider the importance of the where when choosing their dream home just as much as the which.

Here’s why it matters so much, and what to look for when buying a home.

Why Location Is Key

Being close to your children’s school, within walking distance of local businesses, and in a safe neighborhood are big factors when choosing where to live. It’s also important from a monetary standpoint.

“Too often I hear people talking about making decisions based on the home itself, instead of the location, and that is a mistake,” says Ryan Fitzgerald of Raleigh Realty. A house can always be changed, he says. It can be upgraded or even replaced. But location cannot.

“Housing supply in great locations is limited to the number of homes in that location. Location creates desirability, desirability creates demand, and demand raises real estate prices,” he says.

Real estate agents usually advise clients to buy the worst house on the best block over the best house on the worst block, according to Fox Business. While this might seem counterintuitive if you’re looking for somewhere nice to live right now, it makes sense in the long run. You could have a brand-new house, but if it’s in a dangerous area, or far away from any services, it will be harder to sell, and possibly less enjoyable for you to live in. On the other hand, you could buy a home that needs work in a nice neighborhood. While you fix it up, you can enjoy all the amenities that your area has to offer — and if you decide to sell down the road, the home may be worth much more than you paid.

How to Choose a Location

While personal preference definitely plays a role — maybe you’ve always wanted to live on a farm rather than in a city, for example — there are some standard factors that play into how your home’s location can add value to your property.

Take some time to evaluate what you want in a neighborhood. Schools, safety, commute time, city versus suburbs, and local business and food options are good things to keep in mind.

Consider buying a home in a good school district, even if you don’t have children. If you think you may want to sell in the future, it’s a good thing to keep in mind, as it’s often a top priority for families. Commute time depends on your job and whether you’d like to be able to walk to work, prefer to live in a place with public transit, or need to be within easy access to a highway. Keep in mind, though, a home located just off a major highway may be noisy, so it’s important to consider your priorities.

A good real estate agent can help you find a home in a location that ticks all your boxes.

Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods

If you’re hoping to save money, you may consider moving to a neighborhood that is considered up-and-coming. These neighborhoods don’t have as many amenities as other areas, but because of a few successful shops and restaurants or an influx of young people, they can grow significantly in a short amount of time. When money starts flowing into these areas, public transportation and other services can improve, and more businesses will be enticed to move to the area. If you can be on the cusp of one of these trends, you can often buy cheaply and sell for a much higher price. Talk to your real estate agent about up-and-coming neighborhoods in your city and how they think those areas will grow in coming years.

When buying a home, especially if you’re hoping to sell it later and get the most out of your investment, it’s best to have an attorney on your side. Our real estate lawyers can help you navigate the buying process and find a home that’s the perfect location for your family and your future. Contact us today.

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