At a recent party I had a conversation with a fairly new homebuyer from out of state. She was telling me that she moved into her new home a year ago and was thinking of moving out.
My first thought, not knowing her, was that there were financial problems. That was not the case. She told me she purchased the house because, among a few other features, she LOVED the kitchen, with its sleek granite and shiny stainless appliances. It was something she always dreamed of having.
Her problem was that she did not think through the location of the house enough. She was attracted by the kitchen and general appeal, and didn’t really give much thought to the following:
- The house was on a busy cut-through street
- The location was much further ‘out’ than she estimated. Too far away from family, friends, work and shopping. The few trips she made to/from the house before closing didn’t seem so bad. But when she moved in and had to schlepp around all those extra miles every day, it was just becoming very tedious.
- The house was not really in a ‘neighborhood’. Now that she and her husband were expecting a baby, she would like a place to walk the baby and play safely in the yard. With all the traffic and speeding cars and a lack of a true neighborhood appeal, this was not, in her mind, the right location to bring up a family.
- She really wanted a flower/vegetable garden and there was no place for that on her property without having to excavate and cut down a considerable amount of trees.
- The house across the street has multiple cars parked around at various times of the day and night and there is excessive partying going on. She had only visited her house during the day prior to closing and other than 'some' reservations regarding the amount of cars passing through, the area seemed relatively quiet. It changed its personality a bit after the sun went down.
I felt sorry for her as she really loved that kitchen and the house, enough to buy it, but had not thought the location through.
You can always change the house, but you can’t change the location.
Buyers need to think their location needs through FIRST, then focus on the house. If the house didn’t have the beautiful kitchen she wanted, that is something that could have been changed after purchase. BUT, she couldn’t change anything location related.
If you’re thinking of buying or in the process, satisfy your location requirements FIRST. Loving the kitchen is a nice requirement to satisfy, but it's not the most important. You can change almost anything in a house…..but NOT the location.