Thirty Days of Real Estate – Day 11: Real Estate Location

Real Estate with Dallice: Real Estate Location, Location, Location!

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times. Or is it just that I have said it a million times? Real estate location is almost the only thing you cannot change once the closing docs have been signed, therefore you want to think hard about your needs and preferences BEFORE putting in an offer to buy. But it’s more than that. Read on.

Here you are, your pre-qualification ducks in a row, your Realtor holding your hand, your big boy (or girl) pants pulled up high. You are ready to go shopping – almost.

Are you one of those buyers who comes to me with a laundry list of needs and wants but when I ask about location, you waffle a bit? You are not alone. I think firstly, many people have a range of locations that might work for them, or they think they do at this point. Which means they are keeping an open mind. Secondly, once you start meddling with location, you also meddle with price and that means something else has got to give – and you/your spouse may not be sure about what you want to “give” just yet.

Lets talk Real Estate Location specifics:

  1. The coveted neighborhood. The dream house area. It may not be you, this time round but don’t give up the dream. Someday, we’ll be shopping here.
  2. Near/zoned for the favored schools. The reality is even with open enrollment, the school of your choice may be to full to take “out of zone” kids and if little Jimmy’s school is important to you, your listing alerts should be restricted to only include the school of choice.
  3. Walk score. How close do you need to be to all sorts of amenities? This takes on new meaning if you are a one car family, have disabilities, are addicted to the urban life or feel strongly about your environmental footprint.
  4. Close to public transit? Yep, if this is how you get to work, school, the airport etc then it’s super important to map distances to bus/light rail stations when choosing a location. 
  5. Proximity to open space or trails. It’s a quality of life thing. Some people just need to head to the woods, ride the bike or run to start or end a day around here. And why wouldn’t you… you pay for the privilege of being surrounded by our gorgeous environment so getting value from it is return on investment!
  6. Busy street vs quiet cul-de-sac. It’s personal choice. Think about kid and pet safety, noise factors, pollution and the cost of compromising on this – or not. 
  7. Views – “I don’t like a great view” said no-one, ever! Again, the better the view, the higher the price. City lights, open spaces and water views are charming and calming. Power lines, highways, an intimate look into the neighbors windows or the back of Walmart, is … less charming, less calming… and less money!
  8. Safety. A broad topic involving due diligence spanning everything from environmental factors, to crime rates, the sex offender list, proposed land usage changes to traffic patterns. We need to talk about this one if you have fears or questions of any sort that can be overcome or need to be worked around when selecting a location for your new home. (Don’t ever keep your very valid insecurities quiet until closing!)
  9. Community. Personally, my neighbors/community are what makes me feel at home here. Birds of a feather flock together! I appreciate both the diversity of owners and renters in the area, but also the age and vocational differences that make up my immediate community. Our block enjoys a rare degree of “knowing each other” and I think we all agree on how special that is. We mix and mingle regularly, share meals and tools, collect mail and shovel sidewalks and pet sit for each other during vacations. To me, this adds value… lots of value. And while you may not be able to put an actual price tag on it, you can investigate neighborhoods for a “good fit” type feel to some degree, before committing your money to it.
  10. Beauty. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Are you a fan of mid century architecture? Do you like newer community’s where the homes kinda match each other? Perhaps, like me, on of the things that draws you to a location is the mature trees. Then it stands to reason that slightly (or way) older neighborhoods, with established large trees and landscaping might float your boat. Would you settle for a smaller closet to have shade trees and privacy in the back yard?

Re-Sale

Whatever the choices you make regarding location, all the above will factor into the price you pay to acquire the real estate. But that is not where the story ends.

The story ends when it’s time to SELL that real estate. The bargain you snapped up because you are deaf the highway noise was unbearable to everyone else, will likely now become someone else’s bargain too. On the other hand if you bought a place 20 years ago with no trees and it has since filled out nicely or it was a higher crime location 15 years ago, but has since cleaned up it’s act and gentrified, you will do well! Just keep in mind that school rankings, crime rates, traffic patterns and the neighbors, will all change over time. 

While it’s great to consider resale as you are writing the check to purchase, it is also important to choose a home that will meet your needs now and in the future. Get value out of it now and you wont have to worry so much about getting extra value out of it when you sell. 🙂

Lots to think about, isn’t there?

Having considered your wants and needs, location and qualification… it’s almost time for me to tell you about listing alerts. They’re magical! And that’s the topic of the next post.