If you’re house hunting, you have a lot of factors to consider, but many real estate agents would likely tell you that the most important is location. Where you live will affect your employment opportunities, school quality, noise level, relationships with your neighbors, the way you spend your free time, and how much money you’ll get if you sell your home in the future.
Job Opportunities and Financial Security
Your employment options will affect your ability to pay your mortgage and other bills. If you buy a home in an area with few other employment options and then lose your job, you may find yourself stuck. Ask yourself how much job security you truly have and what you would do if you lost your job. Don’t move to an area where you would struggle to find another job in your field, especially if you don’t have enough in savings and couldn’t rely on a spouse’s income alone to get by until you found another job.
Where you choose to live will also affect the length of your commute and your daily level of stress. A home you like might not be far from your job, but it could take a long time to travel back and forth because of traffic. Consider how long and difficult your daily commute would be, and be realistic about how a long commute could affect your stress level, productivity at work and relationships with your family.
If you have children, the quality of the local schools is obviously a priority for you, but that should factor into your decision on where to live even if you don’t have or plan to have kids. School quality is directly tied to property values. If you decide to sell in the future, prospective buyers will be willing to pay more if your home is located in a good school district.
Quality of Life
Don’t buy a beautiful house in a crime-ridden neighborhood. Feeling unsafe will affect your family in countless ways and make it hard to sell the house, which you will inevitably want to do. If you value peace and quiet, don’t buy a house in a neighborhood where the houses are close together. If eating out, attending concerts and sporting events, and shopping are important to you, don’t buy a house in an area where you would have to travel long distances to do those things. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, don’t buy a house in an urban area where green spaces are few and far between.
Figure out if a House’s Location Is Right for You
Don’t underestimate the importance of location when choosing a house. Where you live will affect virtually every aspect of your life in one way or another. No matter how much you love a house, think carefully about its location, consider any potential downsides, and be realistic about how they could affect your life.