Glance at any advice column for home sellers, and you’ll see the same information. Buyers want updated kitchens and bathrooms. Families shopping for new homes place a premium on storage space, entertaining space, and energy efficiency.
While there’s nothing wrong with these features or preferences, savvy buyers know that the secret to buying a great home is prioritizing location.
How important is location when buying a home? It may be the most important criteria of all. Here is a look at all the reasons why.
Location and Home Value
Location plays a critical role in home value in ways that many buyers are not aware of. This is due to the fact that aspects of a neighborhood independent of the house itself strongly influence current and future home values.
Properties in up-and-coming neighborhoods, for instance, are more valuable. Such properties will also appreciate faster than those in other neighborhoods due to high demand.
Properties in struggling neighborhoods may appreciate slowly or even depreciate. Homeowners can then lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in home equity during the period in which they own their homes.
Depreciation and blight may also cause future buyers to struggle to get a mortgage for a home in the area. Thus, current buyers may later struggle to sell their homes when they are ready to move on.
Smaller features can have outsized impacts, as well. Busy or noisy highways abutting a property, for instance, can drag down property values. Investment in the property itself often cannot compensate for that.
Ultimately, buyers do well to remember that houses can be renovated and properties relandscaped. Neither, however, can be moved.
Thus, choosing a home in a good location is a sounder investment than choosing an appealing home in a poor location.
Buyers considering where to buy a home will also find that location and safety go hand in hand.
There is a common misconception among homeowners that they can dictate the safety of their property. Often, owners assume that installing a security system is enough to:
- Ensure safety
- Earn low insurance premiums
- Compensate for local risk factors
Statistically, however, this is not the case. Instead, local crime rates are a better overall predictor of safety than home-specific features.
Insurance rates reflect this. Insurers charge homeowners in high-crime areas higher premiums since they are at more risk. Homeowners in lower-crime areas pay lower rates even if they do nothing to improve home safety.
Insurers may offer small discounts to homeowners who take steps to protect their properties. Such discounts cannot counterbalance the effect of local crime rates, however. Thus, selecting a home in a safe location is the most powerful and protective option for buyers.
One area in which prospective buyers often are aware of the value of a home’s location is its impact on school districts. Students enrolled in exceptional schools can out-perform their peers by several grade levels. These advances can manifest early and expand over time.
Strong academic records can serve as the base of children’s future success, opening doors and creating opportunities that shape a lifetime.
Parents in poorly performing districts may attempt to compensate by:
- Working with their children themselves
- Hiring tutors
- Paying for private school tuition
In most cases, though, this is prohibitively expensive. Duplicating the full range of programs and options available at better schools is usually impossible.
Homes in poorly rated districts can also be slow to appreciate and challenging to resell. Therefore, it is in buyers’ best interests on all fronts to choose a home associated with a well-ranked school district even if they have no kids of their own at the moment.
How Important Is Location When Buying a Home to Other Quality of Life Factors?
“How important is location in real estate?” is by now a question that is solidly answered. Yet home location affects a range of other financial and quality-of-life considerations not already mentioned. Examples include access to:
- Public transportation and the need for one or more vehicles
- Walkable neighborhoods and park space
- Grocery stores and other essential shops and services
- Quality and affordable medical care
- Community organizations and places of worship
Too often, buyers view these facets of a community as “amenities” or things that “would be nice” rather than as genuine priorities. This failure to realize their true importance can have far-ranging consequences.
Lack of access to basic needs such as quality food, health care, and outdoor space can negatively impact families’:
- Physical health and fitness
- Mental and emotional health
- Ability to manage assets and resources well
There simply is no substitute for choosing a home in a good location.
Choosing a home in a good location can be more challenging than it sounds. Even buyers who know what to look for when purchasing a home can feel overwhelmed.
How does one compare home location benefits and home location drawbacks? Do certain benefits outweigh various drawbacks? What measures are best for assessing neighborhood health, strength, and desirability?
Questions such as these can make finding the right home seem impossible. Fortunately, buyers don’t have to navigate these complicated decisions alone. Qualified and experienced real estate agents can help.
Seasoned agents familiar with the region in which buyers are seeking to buy a home have the knowledge and resources to sort through these questions and concerns. Agents can assist buyers in:
- Weighing their priorities
- Identifying thriving and emerging neighborhoods
- Comparing school districts and amenities
- Gathering meaningful data on crime rates and safety
- Relative costs and benefits of available properties
- Balancing these larger concerns with other, more personal and property-specific needs
Find the Home That’s Right for You
How important is location when buying a home? It’s the most important factor you can take into consideration.
No matter what you are searching for in a home, we can help you find it. Reach out today to learn how our experienced and exceptional real estate agents can assist you in finding the right home in the right location for your needs.