Location has long been considered the most important factor when buying any type of real estate. When buying a home, there are four facets of location that should be considered with the weighted impact of each determined by the buyer’s unique situation. Let’s look at each facet and how a buyer’s location requirements could impact the search for a new home.
The top concern for many home buyers is value. It’s a unique facet because a home’s value can be assigned a monetary amount that, within an estimated range, is generally accepted by home buyers, home sellers, appraisers and mortgage lenders. In addition to influences by the other facets of location, value is also determined by the condition and features of the specific property, general condition of other homes in the neighborhood, and the impact of economic conditions within the local community. A home’s value can also be determined by micro-location within the neighborhood, e.g. a home located in the center of a subdivision is generally considered to have a greater value than a home on the edge of a subdivision. A home buyer’s goal is to buy in a location that holds its value or appreciates in value during their planned period of ownership. The direction values are moving at the time of purchase and are likely to move in the future are important considerations for most home buyers.
Another facet of value is jurisdiction. Jurisdictional influences include local government and schools. Schools are easy to assess, several school ranking services rate public schools by their relative quality. We can plot district boundaries for highly ranked school districts or specific schools on a map and use that area as a target for our home search. Local government also influences the value of a home’s location. The quality of public services, negative or positive effects of local regulations on home ownership, and the type and amount of local taxes should be considered.
Convenience and quality of local shops and services is also an important consideration, especially if buyers have specific needs or preferences for services that are not available in every neighborhood. For example, a buyer who doesn’t like to cook might desire a location served by a large number and variety of restaurants. Many buyers place a high value on locations that “have everything I need just around the corner.”
The cost and convenience of a frequent commute is another facet that often goes to the top of a home buyer’s priorities. Buyers may want to conduct their own time and motion study by writing down destinations they travel to on a regular basis. These could include work, school, family, shopping, clubs and any other places that are frequently visited. Consider availability of public transportation, drive times and cost of the commute, not just the distance. Plot commute routes and destinations on a map to see how they fit in as just one of all four facets of location.
Prioritizing and assigning weighted values to the four facets of location is determined by the home buyer’s specific needs and priorities – there is no magic formula. Choosing a location may also be heavily influenced by budget restrictions or the special features of a unique property for which a comparable home is not available within the buyer’s desired location. Once a home buyer begins looking at properties, they may find that they need to reevaluate their priorities based on the current cost or availability of homes that fit their wants and needs.
Finding a home that provides maximum enjoyment during ownership and potential for the highest re-sale value in the future should be the house-hunting goal of every buyer. When creating your home search checklist, make sure to include all four facets of location.
About Real Living with Broker John™
John Souerbry offers tips and information covering all aspects of owning, buying and selling real estate each week in Real Living with Broker John™. John is Broker/Owner of Cordon Real Estate, a full service brokerage serving buyers, sellers and investors in homes, land and income property in the San Francisco Bay Area (CA BRE 01370983). Contact John with questions or comments regarding Real Living or real estate in Wine Country, East Bay and Silicon Valley.
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