The chicken or the egg

Education & Training with House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada


What comes first, the neighbourhood or the house? 

There are the three top considerations when buying a house - price, location and condition.  The chicken and the egg are about first finding the house.  What is most important? 

The old adage of "location, location, location" should tell you that you choose your neighbourhood first and then you look for the house.  Some people have told me that they will buy almost anything if they can live in XX neighbourhood, if they can live withing walking distance of the relatives (built in babysitters) or within walking distance of the synagogue.  Others are picking their homes based upon commute times to work.  Time is money, honey.

When presented with a vast array of homes located throughout the city or countryside, pick the neighbourhood first.  Only look in those neighbourhoods but be ready for compromise.  You many not find a new home in an old neighbourhood so your house is not going to be exactly how you envision it but your location will be.  You may have to get slightly bigger or smaller than you want. 

Learn what is important to you - shopping, schools, communte time, parks, access to water, etc and narrow the neighbourhood field to where you want to live.

You can always renovate and change a home but you cannot change the neighbourhood.

Buy where you want to live.

Photo credit:  Chicken or Egg


Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Carol Zingone 07/10/2011 01:07 AM
Home Buying
Ontario Ottawa Carleton Ottawa Stittsville
Ontario Real Estate and Information
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Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA

Valerie....I like to remind my clients - many things about the house you can change - paint, kitchen cabinets, windows, an addition - but you can't change the location.

Jul 10, 2011 08:35 AM #29
Janice Ankrett
Janice Ankrett Home Staging - Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Valerie, when I see an ad with Location! Location! Location! I say to myself this house had nothing else LOL. You are right, you can change the house but not the location. In my area, buyers are buying up smaller older homes to smash down and rebuild their dream home. Seems like an expensive way to get a lot but they do it.

Jul 10, 2011 08:39 AM #30
Ray Waisler
Finance of America - Atlanta, GA
NMLS #6621 - Specializing in Jumbo FHA & VA

Valerie, wonderful advise. when I relocated to Atlanta my first priority was the schools and then the house.

Jul 10, 2011 10:17 AM #31
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Good points . . . and sometimes the neighborhood is great but there's one house that isn't so lovely.  Why'd the chicken cross the road?  To find another location. LOL

Jul 10, 2011 10:54 AM #32
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Valerie, your thoughts are very similar to mine... when selling country property, an acre does not always equal another acre, location, views, topography and landscaping can make a huge difference, you can always modify a home...

Jul 10, 2011 12:30 PM #33
Irina Netchaev
Pasadena Views Real Estate Team, Inc. - Pasadena, CA
Pasadena CA Real Estate

So is it the chicken or the egg?  Which came first? :)

Jul 10, 2011 01:48 PM #34
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


A little spin on this is the changing neighbourhoods. Everyone likes A because it's the best. B is located adjacent to A, but is crummy. After a while all the houses in B are torn down and replaced by mini-mansions, and then B is better than A.


Jul 10, 2011 01:55 PM #35
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

Valerie, I've been trying to convert my buyers to this thought as well. Seeing them with small children, a quite Cul-de-sac location seems perfect. They see the bathrooms need to be redone and a re turned off, but I see their kids free to play outside and knowing the neighbor has small kids too, its the ideal location! 

Jul 10, 2011 02:02 PM #36
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

Valerie -- great way to look at this!  You can always change a house, but not your location.  Even the nicest home in an undesirable neighborhood won't overcome the negatives.

Jul 10, 2011 06:34 PM #37
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Ginny:  I say neighbourhoods (plural) as well.  Ottawa is certainly big enough to give options on where people will want to live.

Juan:  Yes it does.

Mona:  Then maybe the buyers are looking at certain routes or roads that are important.

Michael:  So true.  I know what I want but ....  always a but .... cannot get it in my current neighbourhood so we are staying where we are.

Sheila:  It is a new day and the techies must have been fast at work yesterday morning.  I had the same probelm on other people's posts.

Mike:  There might be a little room for compromise on both - the location and the house.

Jul 10, 2011 09:27 PM #38
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Sandy:  They want the neighbourhood, we find the house and then it is just a matter of the right price - WINNERS!!!

Karen:  Good point.  In the chicken and egg analogy I am going to assume that the farmer bought one or the other (the price is already set).

Barbara:  True.  It is where it is.  Now, sometimes the location changes - goes uptown, gets a freeway, etc but mostly it remains the same.

Bryan:  True - see my point to Karen.   The Buyer has to come in with some range of what they will pay for a house first.  No use looking for at mansion neighbourhoods when the row houses are the real price.

Malcolm:  The price has some flex, the condition of the home has some flex and there may be a little bit of flex on location but I suggest not that much.

Jul 10, 2011 09:33 PM #39
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Christine:  Makes me think of the times that I have seen those huge trailer flat beds taking a house down the road with police and the hydro line people in the lead. 

Christine 29:  It is so much cheaper to change the paint than it is to move because you don't like the neighbourhood.

Janice:  That is happening here all the time.  I live in a neighbourhood that is going through some transition and infills and rebuilds are happening all the time.

Ray:  If 3,000 homes are on the market in your city the only way to narrow the field is first by location - making sure that there are homes in your price range.  Picking the schools or churches or sports teams for the kids are all other ways of finding that location.

Jul 10, 2011 09:38 PM #40
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Carla:  I had a seller ask me why the houses just across the main artery and in a different MLS zone were selling so much higher than his.  Location (even if across a busy street) is a key factor on the price.

Chris:  So true and in cottage country just ask the people about the prime locations.  They all know the right lake, the right side of the lake, the right view, the right beach, etc.

Irina:  We will never know.  It is one of life's great mysteries.  LOL

Brian:  I am depending upon your process to make my neighbourhood the best over time.  I wonder if I will live long enough for th change to happen.  Just wondering, not planning.

Ellen:  Little kids, quiet cul-de-sac - should be a match made in heaven.  Good luck. 

Well, well well - look who was up late last night.  You are right Maureen.  The principle of regression says that the best house in the worst neighbourhood will lose value based on where it is located.


Jul 10, 2011 09:44 PM #41
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495


This photo answers the question once and for all.  :)

Mike in Tucson

Jul 10, 2011 10:35 PM #42
Keith Lawrence
RE/MAX Properties - Mahwah, NJ
ABR, CDPE, SFR, 203K Specialist

Very true

Pick the neighborhood first, then the house.

Jul 11, 2011 12:55 AM #43
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

My son (realtor for 8 year) was working with a buyer that spent almost 6 months just waiting for a house to come up for sale in a specific community.  It finally did!  :)  They didn't care about the house, just that it was in the community they wanted to live.

Jul 11, 2011 02:11 AM #44
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Valerie, I'm not sure you know but your photo is missing. Location does trump all else. If buyers love the neighborhood they should think about the things they can change down the road.

Jul 11, 2011 05:34 AM #45
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Mike:   Now that is bringing a tear to my eye - you know, the one that isn't eying that yummy looking chicken. 

So right Keith.

Joy:   To a lot of people the location is the primary decision factor.

Tammie:  Tammie - I sent a note to the Rain gods - I have been experiencing missing photos for a few days.  Frustrating.  Houses can be changed, addresses not as easily.

Jul 11, 2011 08:20 AM #46
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

Location first then the house. Good analogy...never thought of it that way!

Jul 11, 2011 10:48 AM #47
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Sussie:  I go with the location first.

Jul 11, 2011 11:52 PM #48
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