“It was a gorgeous home and you could say it was love at first sight,” recalled one of my clients. “Problem is, after living there for about six months, we realized how long of a drive it was to just about everything that mattered to us – our jobs, our friends, our country club, our favorite stores and restaurants. We didn’t think it would be a big deal, but it was. We felt so isolated. That’s when we realized how truly important location is – we obviously didn’t have a clue.”
As a realtor, I’ve heard this story from many clients over the years. Fortunately for this particular couple, they were able to sell within the first year of living in the house. Having made their initial investment back, the couple bought a home located in a place that was better suited for their lifestyle – just a walk or short drive from most of their favorite pursuits. Their good fortune continued as they watched the value of their newest home increase due to the growing appeal of its location.
While these homeowners managed to resolve their predicament, not everyone’s as lucky. For some, the infatuation for their seemingly perfect home fades and by the time they realize that they’ve made a mistake, it’s too late. They’re unable to move promptly and have to learn to work around the inconveniences that come with a home that resides in a less-than-ideal locale.
Don’t make this costly oversight. Before you commit to an offer for your dream home, be sure to consider these questions about the home’s location to see if it passes the Lifestyle Test:
How Far is My Commute to Work?
Be prepared to drive this commute…a lot. If you have the luxury of knowing how far your work is from the home you’re potentially buying, try to gauge the commute. Could you do it twice a day? Is rush hour traffic going to be too much of an issue? To really understand what the commute would be like, you can take the liberty to make the trek yourself – call it a test run. If you’re unsure of where you’ll be working as you look for a new home, try to get a feel for the local roads. Do the streets seem constantly crowded? Is it easy to access main thoroughfares? Is the noise from traffic and road work overwhelming? If the daily commute appears to be too much of a commitment, then the home you’re looking at probably isn’t right for your lifestyle.
What is the Quality of the School System(s)?
For a family with kids, one of the most important features a home can offer is the opportunity for your children to gain an education in an exceptional school system. Whether private or public, it’s crucial to do research on potential schools. This means checking on the proximity, searching online for reviews and ratings, finding out if there’s a waitlist and so forth. If the local school system doesn’t meet expectations, neither will the home.
Will I Easily Be Able to Enjoy My Favorite Activities?
Before answering this question, you must first ask yourself, “What are my favorite activities?” From there, you’ll be able to survey the area more in-depth. Like to hike? Explore nature? See if the location has any nature preserves, lakes, parks or walking trails nearby. Like to dine out? Catch a movie? Check for restaurants and theaters in the area. Like to go swimming? Play golf? Make sure the facilities that offer these experiences are reasonably close. While your home can be a hub for fun activities, it’s crucial to have other places to go to and enjoy yourself.
Am I Close to Enough Services Like the Bank, Grocery Store, and Post Office?
Your time is valuable. That’s why its imperative to double check if your dream home’s location is in close proximity to these services. Each of them is an intrinsic part of the day-to-day. Therefore, if even one of them is far away from home, your daily regiment could be drastically affected for the worse.
Am I Happy With What I’m Seeing Out My Windows Every Day?
One factor that could affect this answer is the weather. Does it rain a lot? Is it too hot outside? Know your preferences to ensure you’re living in a climate that agrees with you. Another element is the scenery. Is it pleasing to look at? Is the location’s balance between natural and man-made features about what you expected? While everyone has unique preferences regarding this question, all that matters is if you’re able to confidently answer “Yes!” regarding your home’s location.
In all cases, pick a day, evening or weekend to explore the community. Do you feel like you belong there? This is the smartest investment of time you could make to avoid costly mistakes. Remember, you’re doing far more than merely buying a home, you’re joining a community and you want to be certain it fits you perfectly.