In analyzing home buying trends and buyer behavior, one thing is readily apparent. The one very important thing buyers tend to overlook when looking for and choosing a home to purchase is -- you guessed it! -- location, location, location. Location is so important, but it's easy to get bogged down with other details, such as the size and features of the house, in your home shopping adventure.
A home's location is important for many reasons. First, it's important that you really, truly get to know an area or neighborhood before purchasing one of its homes. While it is helpful to do a preliminary search of an area -- for example, researching its school district and the distance to nearby restaurants and grocery stores -- it's imperative that you dig deep and become familiar with it on more than just a superficial level. In other words, spend some real quality time in the area. Get to know your potential future neighbors, the walking and biking trails, and the local businesses. Get a feel for the average age of the residents and the growth potential of the neighborhood.
In evaluating a home's location, it's important for you to find out not only if you genuinely like an area or neighborhood and can envision living there, but also what type of future growth potential it holds. While it's very easy to get caught up in the "what is hot now" mindset, as a home buyer, you are better served by considering what will be hot five to seven years down the road. If you are able to find a home that you like in an area that has not yet had its big boom, you will more likely get a good deal on a home and then profit nicely when selling in the future.
The following list suggests other factors to consider when evaluating different locations for your future home:
*Historical home sale trends (ideally, you will see a steady rise in home sale prices)
*Commute time from the area or neighborhood to your work
*Commute time to school (if you have children)
*Employment opportunities and the existence of established businesses nearby
*Overall safety profile of the area
*Nearby amenities, landmarks, and recreational features
*Development plans in the community and surrounding areas
Buying a home is a big deal and is a decision that requires much forethought and planning. In many instances -- whether because they have sold their home and are anxious to find one quickly or because they make a rash decision based on emotions rather than logic -- buyers fail to take their time and properly consider location. As you embark on your home-buying adventure, a valuable piece of advice is to invest your time now so that you are happy in your new neighborhood for years to come!