Con­sider these ex­ter­nal fac­tors when pur­chas­ing a home

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - HOMES ARKANSAS -

So, you’re go­ing to par­take in the Amer­i­can dream of buy­ing a home. You as­sess how much you can get ap­proved for on a loan, you hunt the “for sale” list­ings and hire your Real­tor, but what fac­tors should ul­ti­mately de­cide where you plant your seeds and grow?

Of course, the home is the ul­ti­mate de­cid­ing fac­tor, but what ex­ter­nal fac­tors should play a role in where you and your fam­ily set up shop next?

As some­one who re­cently made the de­ci­sion to move af­ter liv­ing in the same lo­ca­tion for five years, I looked at all the deter­min­ing fac­tors on which part of the city I moved to next. Here are some things to look for:

Avail­abil­ity of con­sumer goods

It’s hu­man na­ture to shop where we live. Ask your­self: If I move to this lo­ca­tion, what will be my new gro­cery store? Do I want to shop at the lo­cal Wal­mart, or do I drive the ex­tra 10 min­utes to the Kroger down the street?

Also, what restau­rants are around? If I don’t want to cook, am I go­ing to be lim­ited to fast-food op­tions, or will I have health­ier op­tions that are more de­sir­able? How close is the near­est Star­bucks? I like to be within a five-minute drive of one at all times.

It can sound silly, as we as con­sumers move more and more to shop­ping on­line with Ama­zon and food-sub­scrip­tion ser­vices, but the avail­abil­ity of shop­ping plays a huge role for many of us when shop­ping around for a house.

Ac­ces­si­bil­ity to ex­er­cise

For some, this re­quire­ment may seem ex­treme, but for oth­ers, it may be the No. 1 pri­or­ity. Mil­len­ni­als are con­sid­ered the “most ac­tive gen­er­a­tion,” ac­cord­ing to many stud­ies, and with mil­len­ni­als par­tic­i­pat­ing in home­own­er­ship more and more ev­ery year, the ac­ces­si­bil­ity to ac­tiv­ity is widely im­por­tant.

How close is the near­est gym? What are the de­mo­graph­ics for that gym? Are there na­ture trails for those who en­joy bik­ing or like to walk out­side?

A lack of ex­er­cise for many can cause stag­na­tion, lack of de­sire and even de­pres­sion. This alone could play a ma­jor role in where you pur­chase your next home.

Com­mute to work

My en­tire life, my fa­ther has com­muted at least 45 min­utes to work daily. He tells me he en­joys the drive. It gives him time to pre­pare for the day, de­tach him­self from his per­sonal life for work and his work life for home, and gives him the op­por­tu­nity to call and touch base with fam­ily mem­bers. I, per­son­ally, re­ally love the lat­ter.

How­ever, I don’t ever want to live far­ther than a 10-minute drive to work. I like the abil­ity to go home on lunch breaks or to run home to pick up some­thing if I’ve for­got­ten it. A new po­si­tion of em­ploy­ment is the sole rea­son for my re­cent mi­gra­tion. The com­mute to work can be a deal breaker and should al­ways be on your mind when pur­chas­ing a home.

School zone

If you’re a par­ent, the school zone in which you live can be a huge deal. Par­ents who have grade-school kids are sig­nif­i­cantly less likely to change school dis­tricts so that their chil­dren aren’t up­rooted from fa­mil­iar sur­round­ings.

Liv­ing in an age of school choice cer­tainly helps the flex­i­bil­ity of where a fam­ily may live — but does it open the field enough that your fam­ily can truly move any­where? It’s the par­ents’ goal, and job, to en­sure that their chil­dren are pro­vided the best ed­u­ca­tion pos­si­ble, and your new-home pur­chase can dras­ti­cally af­fect that.

Neigh­bor­hood

Last — but cer­tainly not least — the neigh­bor­hood in which you live can make or break your new home.

Ask your­self: Do you want neigh­bors? Do you want to know your neigh­bors? Do you feel safe in your fu­ture neigh­bor­hood?

If you have kids: Are there other chil­dren around for your kids to play with? Is there a neigh­bor­hood Face­book page or crime watch? A neigh­bor­hood is a com­mu­nity, and com­mu­nity pro­vides a sense of be­long­ing and safety. This can be the No. 1 fac­tor in deter­min­ing where you pur­chase your next home.

Buy­ing a home can be a huge mile­stone in one’s life. It is the epit­ome of the Amer­i­can dream. When mak­ing a de­ci­sion that could im­pact your life for decades to come, shouldn’t you do as much re­search as pos­si­ble? A home is more than just walls, a roof and fancy floor­ing. It is a lo­ca­tion to build a fu­ture for you and your fam­ily. Pur­chase wisely.

House to House is dis­trib­uted by the Arkansas Real­tors As­so­ci­a­tion. For more in­for­ma­tion about home­own­er­ship in Arkansas, visit www.ArkansasReal­tors. com.

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