Home Buying Step 3, Location, Location, Location
Another Real Estate cliché, this one is true on many levels. Where you want to live is critical to you, your resale value, your long term satisfaction and the relative affordability.
Granite counters and 5 piece master baths may be high on your desirability list, but the problem may be your budget. I've recently been in beautiful new construction homes offering both of these for around $250,000 in the greater Seattle area. I've also been in homes over $600,000 that didn't have them. The difference is location. Where you want to live?
Generally the closer you are to the city center, the more expensive real estate is. Shorter commutes often translate to higher prices. As you leave the city center you can almost see concentric circles of prices, gradually getting less expensive the further out you go. So one of the first questions I ask is "where do you work and how much of a commute are you comfortable with?"
Another issue regarding location and value is schools. I've had buyers insist not only on specific school districts, but actual elementary schools within the district itself. Even if you have no children, don't plan on having any or yours are grown and out of the nest, schools are an issue to keep in mind. Great schools will always improve desirability which translates into better resale and potentially lower marketing time once it's your time to sell. If schools aren't important to you, I know of great neighborhoods where values are down because they are just outside of a popular school district. The homes are just as nice as those across the street. If the district improves in the future, these values could shoot up.
What other community amenities are important to you for your next home? Recreation, Shopping, Restaurants, Grocery Stores, densely populated or open spaces, are just a few that may come into play. There are lots of resources on the internet and others only available to agents to help you come to a decision that best fits your criteria of the perfect area to live in.
This is Step 3 in a series title Home Buying, 12 Steps and the Serenity Prayer