Consider these external factors when purchasing a home
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.
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.
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.