The quality of the house itself is far from the only thing to consider when buying a home. If you’re new to homebuying, you may not be fully aware of how important it is to choose the right location to cater for your needs. This goes beyond identifying a city or town to live in, since even neighbourhoods within small towns can differ in terms of residents’ age, access to social services, and local amenities. Naturally, any area you move to must at least be accessible from your work, or if you have young children, schools. This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. In fact, there are a wide array of factors that you should take into account when looking to buy a house. Here are just a few of the major things to consider when choosing an area to move to.
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If you are retiring, or have a young family, safety should be one of your top priorities when identifying the right neighbourhood. Unfortunately, though not unsurprisingly, house prices are inversely related to crime rate, so the safest areas within cities do tend to be more expensive. If you are on a relatively tight budget then, you may consider moving to one of the more remote suburbs of the urban centre you are moving to. This is because both house prices and crime rates tend to drop the further removed the property is from the city centre. This may sound inconvenient at first, especially if you work in the city you are moving to. However, given that the majority of people in these suburbs are also commuters, transport links within these remote suburbs are usually fairly well-developed.
If the safety of the area is a high priority for you, you should also seriously consider purchasing a home within a planned community. This is because many are gated, or employ full-time security personnel. Most also are fairly particular in who they will sell to, since creating a friendly community is a priority for them. Master planned communities (MPCs) have typically had a negative perception among prospective homebuyers, who consider them to be isolated and lacking in useful amenities. An increased understanding of buyer needs among developers means that today this is far from the case, however. For example, the house and land packages Wyndham Vale offers in planned communities have access to many useful amenities, and are easily accessible from Melbourne.
This one may seem somewhat self-explanatory, since of course you would want to purchase somewhere where you actually want to live! And while it goes without saying that the neighbourhood you choose should be desirable to you, you should also be sure to consider its future desirability on the housing market. Buying real estate is an investment, so you should make sure you do your due diligence while checking property trends, to observe whether prices in the area are peaking, or continuing to rise. Ideally, you should choose an area where there will be a steadily increasing demand for housing throughout the period you plan to keep the property. If you do this successfully, you can ensure a sizeable return on your investment.
Conversely, you should also account for factors that may reduce a property’s value. For example, if you notice a trend of heavy construction projects in proximity to a house, it is likely that it will not retain its value. In fact, there are a number of potential risks associated with house value that conscientious homebuyers should account for. Because of the sheer number of factors to consider, you may want to consult a real estate agent with knowledge of the area. This is because they will be able to give you a holistic view of each neighbourhood.
Access to Leisure Facilities
Another feature that can really improve the desirability in locales is their proximity to recreational areas. It is therefore worth investigation the leisure options in a neighbourhood prior to choosing one. These can range from parks, and leisure centres to more social options like restaurants and bars. This is important as it has a direct effect on the quality of life in these areas. In fact, being in walking distance to green spaces has been directly linked to improved mental and physical health. Proximity to both parks and restaurants has also been shown to increase the resale value of properties.
It is also important to match the area’s leisure options with your lifestyle. For example, if a thriving social scene is a major priority for you, choosing a leafy suburb with a lot of green spaces may not be the most logical choice.
Public Transport Links
An aspect cities vary a lot in is the quality and cost of their transport infrastructure. Cities like New York and Berlin are so well-connected that many of its inhabitants do not own cars. Comparatively, places like LA and Detroit have such poor public transportation that having a car is a near-necessity. Suburbs within cities can even differ in terms of their access to public transport, dependent on its residents’ preferred method of commuting. You should thus weigh up whether public transportation is an important factor for you before identifying a neighbourhood to move to.
The Quality of Schools
If you are moving with children, naturally you should identify areas close to schools. This is not the only important factor related to schools, though. You should also try to specifically target areas with access to good educational facilities. Local governments often restrict access to schools based on their residence’s proximity to the school building. If you don’t account for this, you may then have to send your child to a poorly performing, or difficult to access school. You should therefore make sure you pick a property that is close enough to a good school for you to be able to easily send your child there.
Checking school quality is even important if you don’t have kids. This is primarily for 2 reasons. Firstly, good schools tend to also be a marker of safe neighbourhoods. Second, properties within the catchment area of good schools are reliable bets to increase in value over time.