Over the years, the catchphrase of the entire real estate industry has become “location, location, location.” But what exactly should you be looking for when it comes to the location of your new home?
This short article lists five of the top aspects of property location to consider and explains why location really does matter when it comes to buying a home.
Choosing a particular neighbourhood to make your home in often boils down to personal choice, which might be influenced by your stage of life, family needs, or other factors. But popular neighbourhoods usually have a few key points in common, such as their appearance, centrality, bustle (or lack thereof), and dominant housing styles.
Make a wish list for your neighbourhood based on your needs: perhaps you love the bustle of inner-city apartment living, or maybe you’d prefer a leafy, quiet suburban area with larger homes and gardens.
Whatever you decide, take the time to wander around the neighbourhood at different times during the week and chat with a few locals to get a feel for the area. Look how well kept private and public areas are, including pavements, gardens, and the homes you’ll be living amongst.
Ask your agent how quickly properties sell in the neighbourhood to give you an idea of how popular the area is.
And finally, you might also like to do a little research into the local council and crime rates to make sure the area you choose is the best possible fit for you.
Choosing a great neighbourhood is your starting point, but you’ll also want to find a block that’s well-located within your chosen area. You can always renovate or rebuild a house, but it’s impossible to change the shape, orientation or location of the block itself!
North-facing properties usually boast much sought-after light, while well-proportioned yards can be a must for families or keen gardeners. Of course, a beautiful outlook will always be a winning prospect, as will proximity to parks, sports fields, beaches and other natural areas.
On the other hand, a block set on a hill with steep steps or one where the neighbours’ windows open right onto your patio could be a real no-no.
Check the noise levels around your block - is there a lot of early morning traffic, or do late-night carousers tend to head home past your front door?
Is your block right next to a busy commercial area, railway line or public parking lot? It might be convenient, but will the associated noise bother you in the long run or make the property harder to sell in the future?
Accessibility is an important consideration for everyone when looking for a home. Whether you need to drive or bike to work every day, ferry kids around to all of their activities, or get to the local shops on foot or by public transport, accessibility matters.
Commuters will need easy access to major transit routes, whether by car or on public transport. Some will also want to scope out the local bike lanes to make sure they are safe and usable for the daily rides to and from work.
It’s also a good idea to see if there is more than one route out of your area and a reasonable amount of on-street parking, especially if you don’t have a car space or you’ve chosen to live in an area that gets very busy at peak travel times or during holidays.
Check bus, ferry or train routes for convenience and frequency, and find out how much a typical cab fare is to your usual haunts.
Being within arm’s reach of the amenities you need can make a huge difference to your quality of life, so it’s really important to find a location close to the services you need.
For many young families, schools are an enormous factor, so you’ll want to check your neighbourhood’s catchment areas and ease of transport to and from your kids’ primary or secondary schools.
Proximity to shops, hospitals, cafés and restaurants, entertainment or sports facilities, and other everyday services is another box that, depending on your needs, you’ll want to tick when it comes to choosing the ideal location for your home.
One area that can have a major influence on your property, but that people often forget to research, is the potential for future development in the area.
Your neighbourhood might not have all the amenities you hope for right now, but perhaps there are plans to develop the area and dramatically improve local infrastructure.
On the other hand, there may be plans for less attractive commercial or residential developments that could affect the future appeal of your property.
Check with the local council about development applications and plans for your area.
Summing up, or why location matters so much
Choosing to live in a certain area is, of course, a personal matter and will largely depend on what you and your family need to thrive.
However, it’s also important to consider your home as a long-term investment that you may wish to sell in the future.
Making sound decisions about the location of your property can add thousands to its resale value, so it makes sense to take the time to research your chosen area - for your own pleasure and peace of mind and, in time, to appeal to the largest number of potential future buyers.
Much of this information can be gleaned from a great local real estate agent, who will be able to offer insights and expert guidance to help you choose the best location for your new home.
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