It’s true. That age old adage: Location, location, location. We’ve all heard it before- in fact, the use of this phrase can be traced back as far as 1926- but what does it mean? Well, that’s a harder question to answer than you might think. But let’s try to break it down.
As I tell all new buyers getting started in the home search process, it’s important to try and focus on things you can change versus things you CAN’T change. For example, sponge painting and smurf blue counter tops can be CHANGED. (Though once I actually did move to a new house with a kitchen I loved rather than change my smurf blue counter tops). In fact, when you really think about it, MOST things about a house can be changed when you really get right down to it. But what definitely can’t be changed? LOCATION. (I’ll just say it the one time. You get the picture.)
So what are some important things to consider when choosing the right location for you? I would recommend making your own list, but here are a few of the basics that you may want to include:
- Proximity to your job and length/ease of commute
- School district ratings (even if you don’t have or intend to have children, this is something future buyers will be concerned with). I’ve found that greatschools.org is a wonderful resource. But also, talk to people you trust. Not everything can be captured in an algorithm.
- Access to shopping and community activities
- Proximity to family and friends
- Crime rate (local police stations are a great resource)
These are just a few things to consider when selecting a location/neighborhood. The last thing I wanted to add to the list is NEIGHBORS. In fact, that was really my inspiration for this blog (more on that in a minute). Unfortunately, this is a much harder one to vet. But the reality is, neighbors can really be an unspoken feature/benefit of your home. Drive through the neighborhood you are considering at different times of the day. Talk to people. Ask questions. Obviously be careful to do it in a non-stalkerish/non-creepy way. But you’ll be surprised what you might learn.
Personally, I’ve been mainly lucky in the neighbor department. When I moved from smurf blue counter top house to dream kitchen house, I met one of my best friends (and Panel member, for those following along. See “MAKE. YOUR. BED.” blog). And tonight I’ll be hosting the annual ornament exchange in my current neighborhood. A tradition we’ve all come to look forward to (photo above from Ornament Party 2015).
It’s hard to quantify the value of good neighbors. There is no one year warranty or return policy. And there is no guarantee. But do your due diligence, choose a place you love, and hopefully neighborhood bliss will follow. Right, Clovercrest crew?