Whether you’re recently married and looking to settle down in your first home, or are an established family looking for a community for your children to grow up in, buying a home is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. But what if you’re not sure where it should be? From low crime rates and a great education system to local nightlife and culture, there are many variables to consider when choosing the perfect home. We’ve taken the stress out of making this decision by compiling a list of the eight most important factors to consider when you are ready to buy a new home.
No matter your pay grade, living comfortably within your means should be your first priority. Consider not only housing expenses, such as your mortgage rate, but also the prices for consumer goods, such as groceries, gas, and utilities for your area. This will give you a better sense of just how much money it costs to live in a specific location on a monthly basis.
2. Real Estate Value
It’s no secret that the real estate market is in constant flux, which means it’s vital that you do your research before buying a home. For example, our website, JanetMcAfee.com, can help you get a grasp of the real estate market for a specific area. Consider current home prices and pay attention to the length of time houses are on the market, as well as the resale value of homes and long-term value estimates as well. Researching the market beforehand allows you to determine if you are making a wise, long-term investment, and may ultimately shape where you decide to live.
3. Employment Opportunities
Following your career is another important factor to consider when choosing a place to live. Employment opportunities vary widely from state to state and city to city, so be sure to research the job markets in different areas of the country, scoping out opportunities in your industry. Depending on your profession, you may find that certain cities have a higher concentration of viable options, which may help steer your decision.
Income levels for jobs in your industry are likely to vary as well. Websites like Salary.com allow you to compare pay rates across the country. For example, a marketing manager position may have a large salary attached to it in San Francisco, but the cost of living is also very high for that area. Aim to find a location with a comfortable salary and moderate cost of living and, if possible, secure a position before moving.
4. Crime Rates and Statistics
If you plan to move with children, ensuring you’re relocating to a safe community is of the utmost importance. Research crime rates and statistics for the locales you are considering to learn about the safety of a specific town or neighborhood. If you‘ve already decided on a place to live, stop by your local police station to discuss neighborhood safety. And remember, just because a neighborhood is safe today, doesn’t mean that it won’t change in the future, so long-term neighborhood stability should be a consideration factor as well.
5. Education System
Another important factor when moving with children is the quality of the education system in the area, as a good education is essential to helping children lead healthy and productive lives. Websites like GreatSchools are an excellent resource for parents looking for the ideal schools for their children. Remember, the quality of schools for a specific area can factor into your finances, too, since private institutions are considerably more expensive.
6. Healthcare Facilities
No matter who you are or where you live, accidents happen and ensuring the presence of quality clinics and hospitals is of the utmost importance when choosing a place to live, especially if you have kids or are nearing retirement. Easy access to quality health care can increase your quality of life, so do your research beforehand on the healthcare system in your area before choosing to live there.
7. Commute Time and Public Transportation Options
Nobody likes sitting in traffic, which means commute times can be a determining factor when choosing a place to live. Moving somewhere with a public transportation system can cut the cost and time it takes to commute to work. Plus, if you’re moving with your family, the presence of quality public transport can help your kids get around when you’re not there to drive them.
If you’re someone who loves to go out on the weekends to concerts, restaurants, or sporting events, then you will want to choose to live in a city or town with a lot of cultural offerings. Many people feel the need to be close to their favorite team or local music scene, so be sure you can continue to pursue your hobbies and interests in your new location. If you’re someone looking to escape the hustle bustle of city life, be sure that your new location reflects that, with an abundance of scenic beauty, hiking or boating options, and plenty of room to spread out and relax.
Choosing a new place to live can be overwhelming, and In order to find success in your search, determine what factors from the above list are most important to you and your family. Remember to do your homework and be vigilant in your search until you find the perfect place to live. Although it may be frustrating, your efforts are sure to pay off once you are settled and happy in your new location.
Are you considering buying a home? Still on the fence? Our experienced agents are happy to help answer any questions or concerns you have and will help you along the way to finding your dream home. Contact us to get started!