Buying a House – Location Factors
Buying a house can be a time consuming, stressful, costly, and a confusing process. This series of entries will hopefully assist you with gaining the knowledge you need when buying a house. There will be many topics covered in this series but we are going to start with location.
We are starting with the location since it is the first thing you see when buying a house. Think of it in terms of your relationship; did you hear your significant other first or did you see them and have the initial attraction? What was your first thought when you saw the home for the first time? Your initial reaction should be what you base your opinion. If the home looks appealing at first glance you should go inside to see if it is appealing. Let’s use your relationship again; you were attracted but then you had to get to know the person on the inside to determine if it was the right person for you. It is the same when buying a house. There are a couple of things to look for and we will cover those later in this post. When you are at the home for the first time you should use the feeling you have to determine if you want to pursue this home further. Just like with relationships, buying a house is not always about first impressions. We have all dated someone that we didn’t get along with in the beginning. Some of those relationships turn out to be train wrecks and some last forever. If you have a mixed feeling then you should drive by the home again later by yourself. You gave someone along the way a second date right? The third date didn’t always happen though. The point is to be sure you didn’t miss something the first time.
Now lets talk about some of the things to look for with the location when buying a house. There are many external factors to consider when determining the right location for you.
Safety and Security When Buying a House
You always want to feel like it’s a comfortable and secure area. When you drive to the home did you notice any street lights close to the home and were they common in the development? If street lights are not common it is usually a sign of an area that is not maintained by the local government or power company. It could be an indication of crime or mischievous activity in the area. You can also help to determine an area by the front yard. If the grass does not look like it is being maintained on a regular basis by your neighbors or overly cluttered with junk you may not even want to get out of the car to look at the home. Once you’ve determined the area is suitable for you then consider some other locational factors.
Hearing and Smelling When Buying a House
Now that you have made it to the home and decide to get out of the car to look further you should change to what you hear and smell. There could be a paper mill or waste facility hidden behind the trees. You may hear kids playing or loud music. There could be a school closeby or kids playing in a yard. This is typically a good sign to indicate you are buying a house in a good area. If you hear loud music, yelling, or loud vehicles; you may want to get back in your car unless you like loud noise and neighbors.
Linkages to Consider When Buying a House
One often overlooked locational factor when buying a house are linkages. Linkages are the places you visit regularly such as work, school, church, or shopping. These should be within a reasonable proximity of the home. You should drive to all of these places from the home a couple of times and at different times during the day. It may seem extreme before buying a house but you will drive to these places every day if you live there. It will help you determine if rush hour changes your daily commute or how long it will take to pick up your kids from school. You should also drive to the home from one route and leave going a different route. This will help you familiarize yourself with all of your surrounding. It is common practice in Real Estate for an agent to drive you to the home entering and leaving using the same route. The reasons for this may be a less desirable entry from one route they do not want you to see or it may be the only route they know. Since you are buying a home, not the agent, request to be taken to the home by one route and leave by a different route.
Weekend Factors to Consider When Buying a House
There is one last locational factor that is rarely thought of by someone buying a house. It is rare that someone buying a house will drive by themselves to the home over the weekend during the day and at night to determine if the neighborhood changes during the weekend. All of your neighbors could be diligent workers during the week but host parties or have a lot of noise on your street during the weekend.
If you are satisfied with all of the locational factors there are a couple of small items recommended you do before giving the location a passing grade.
Know ALL of Your Surrounding When Buying a House
Now you should look at satellite images of the immediate area to determine if there is anything in close proximity that would be a negative for you. You can look at satellite images on Mapquest or Google Maps. You should also look at your most recent Census. This is a free service provided by the government. To get the most reliable data you can type in the address and retrieve information, whether it be a half mile or 5 mile in diameter surrounding the home.
It is important to know all you can when buying a house. It starts with the location so gain as much knowledge and ask as many questions as you can prior to buying a house.