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What Matters More to You: The House or the Location?

The old adage “location, location, location” is true; where a home is located has a tremendous influence on what it’s worth. Even an average property in a desirable neighborhood will drive up the price tag, especially in competitive markets. So much of your search will be focused finding the right house and location.

Sometimes when shopping for a home, the stars don’t perfectly align and your ideal home might not be available in your preferred location. You may have to compromise location and compromise amenities to find your perfect location. Are you willing to opt for a property that doesn’t check all the boxes on your wish list in order to land in the right neighborhood? When it comes down to making a decision on which home is right for you, it may require some compromise on your “must-haves.”

Here are some points to consider when deciding if the home or the location is more important to you:

  • How do other homes compare? It pays to shop around and discover what kind of home you could realistically receive for the price in a certain location. Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a specific neighborhood, research the inventory of available homes in the area and identify commonalities between them.

    Do they all have similar asking prices? Do they seem to offer the same amount of square footage and bedrooms? Learn what the properties in the area can offer you in order to have an accurate understanding of the type of home you’d end up with if you chose to live in that location. 
  • Would renovations be possible in the future? Oftentimes a home might be in the right location but go unnoticed by buyers because it’s in need of repairs or upgrades. Does the home’s structure and surrounding property lend itself to the possibility of being remodeled? Take into consideration if in the future you may be able to create your ideal home by putting in the effort and cost of renovating. If you could see yourself staying in the location long-term, it could be the perfect solution to give you everything you want.
  • Can you live with older appliances? Are you someone who needs the latest and greatest appliances and gadgets? In markets that have increased competition with the location as their top selling point, the homes may be constructed using base materials or the appliances may be out of date. If you desire a gourmet kitchen, modernize bathrooms, new flooring or other high-end finishes, you might need to re-assess your wish list and opt for a different place that can give you the quality you want.
  • Is your family going to expand? Your household might just be two people now, but in the future you may add members along the way. Before committing to a location, consider the school systems and crime rate in the area. It will help you to get a better sense of the community and be prepared in the event that you need to assess these types of things in the future.
  • Is outdoor space important to you? If you envision a spacious yard with room for a pool, you will likely pay a premium for a home that includes these features or it won’t be realistic at all in a certain location. Think about how you’d most utilize outdoor space. Do you want it to dine al fresco in the warmer months? Barbecue with friends or family? Check if your target community has a park nearby or any amenities like a pool or tennis court included in any fees. This could supplement your lack of outdoor space and meet your needs without compromising on the location.
  • Are you willing to drive more? You may have your heart set on a certain community because of its close proximity to your job, shops, restaurants or other commercial amenities. If you opt for a home that’s further away from these types of places, driving will become a necessity. Think about how often you visit them and how your life would change if you lived further away.  Maybe a longer commute doesn’t sound like something you are willing or able to do at your career junction, or the thought of being far away from your favorite coffee shop is a deal-breaker.

In popular markets, compromise can be a necessity. Prioritize your “must-haves” and be prepared to cross some items off your wish list if you want to be in a prime location. Think about the lifestyle you want to live, and if landing a home in your perfect location is worth a less-than-ideal home. Trust your instincts and decide what will make you happiest in the long-term. 

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