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How to Choose Between Neighborhood or House

When you’re buying a house, it can be hard to make compromises – and one of the hardest ones to make can be on its location. But the time may come during your home search where you have to make a difficult decision: sacrificing your home wants for your neighborhood wants, or vice versa. How do you choose?

When you started on your journey of buying a house, it was likely your real estate agent asked you to create a checklist – and if they didn’t, get a pen and paper and start now! Your checklist should ideally categorize the things you can’t live without along with the things you would like to have, so that you can prioritize what you want as you’re buying a house. Include things like how many bedrooms it should have, certain wants or needs for the kitchen, whether or not you want a back yard, and where you’d like it to be in proximity to places like work, your kid’s school, and other family and friends. You should also have an idea of what you’re willing to compromise on, so that if or when it comes time to make a difficult decision, you can make your choices with ease.

But if you wind up stuck between a great house in a not-so-great neighborhood, or a fabulous neighborhood with a questionable house, it can help to gain insight from your real estate agent. For example, do they know something about the neighborhood that you’re looking at that you might not immediately see? Or perhaps they have some insight into the house you’re considering, either positive or negative. Having that outsider’s view of your insider issue can help shed light on things you might not be considering as you make your decision.

Let’s say you decide to sacrifice your idea of a perfect location in order to have the home you want. Once again, your real estate agent will come in handy here. Talk with them about exactly what you’re looking for as you’re attempting to locate your ideal space, and they can help you understand the neighborhoods that have what you’re looking for – and also offer insight into their history. They may even have information as to how the neighborhood is changing, particularly if it’s one they’ve worked with before. Their expertise can help you to make a decision on a home that won’t feel like you’re making a sacrifice at all when choosing home over location as a priority.

Conversely, you could consider the inverse – choosing location over the home. Certainly you’ll have to make compromises to make that happen, but there’s the chance that you might still find what you’re looking for, if even on a smaller scale. For example, you could reduce the size of the home you’re looking for in order to be in a better neighborhood, by choosing less bedrooms or less outdoor space.

You may even want to look at foregoing a single-family home and try a duplex or triplex instead. And while it’s nice to move into a space that’s ready to go, there’s also the chance that you could lower the cost of buying by buying a home in need of some renovations. It may add on to your bottom line in the long run, but with careful planning, this could be a dream that can turn into reality. And you never know what kind of negotiations you can enter into with a seller, such as lease-to-own agreements. Anything is possible!

Remember, this is your home buying journey – and it’s going to have some twists and turns. Even though you started out on one path and found yourself diverting to another, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to find your ideal space. The right place is out there for you!


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