The location of the house you’re looking to buy is almost as important as the house itself. The town is just the first piece of the puzzle. Read on for a complete picture of what you need to take into consideration.
So you’ve found the perfect home. It’s got the big fenced-in yard, the wrap-around porch, the fireplace, and a huge walk-in closet. It has one more bedroom than you wanted and the coolest kitchen tile. It’s the right price in the right town. You’re set, right? Maybe not. Too many people jump in and buy a home without thinking about all the other stuff. And there’s a lot of other stuff.
Let’s start with the basics. If you have children, then good schools are a must. Even if you homeschool, you still want to check this out because good schools have good kids. And those kids will be playing with your kids in their free time, whether it’s organized sports or just riding bikes up and down your street. You can get a good idea of how the local schools measure up by going to greatschools.net. Other considerations when you have kids are parks and recreation centers. You don’t want to have to drive an hour for the closest playground in the summer, and recreation centers can be great sanity-savers when it’s been raining for 4 days in a row and everybody’s bored and cranky.
Next, you’ll want to scope the neighborhood out for the places you’ll be frequenting. Where is the closest branch of your bank? Grocery store? Post office? Gas station? I know these things sound silly, but we take them for granted because we use them all the time. A distance of five miles to the nearest supermarket may seem like a lot if you live right across the street from one now. Where is the mall? Do you really want to have to visit 17 different stores all across town when it comes time for holiday shopping? If you are an avid golfer, or a movie buff, or a fishing fanatic, then you want to make sure you have a golf course, movie theater, or lake close enough to visit without having to drive all afternoon just to get there.
Now, let’s talk about medical needs. Whether you have never been sick a day in your life or you need routine testing for an ongoing condition, you’ll want to make sure you have doctors, pharmacies, and hospitals within a reasonable distance. The last thing you want is to be so far away from medical services that you end up delivering babies on your new Pergo floor because the ambulance couldn’t get to you in time.
Lastly, drive around the neighborhood, preferably at different times of the day, so you can see what the traffic is like. If the house is on the side of a major highway and you’re a light sleeper, this may not be the home for you. If the sound of planes makes you crazy, then you don’t want to pick the house down the street from the airport. Don’t forget to see if the city is a hot vacation destination. Some people don’t mind fighting out-of-towners for parking spots at their own grocery store, or sharing their beaches with everybody from this half of the planet, or giving directions to strangers five times a day. But if the thought of that makes you want to run away screaming, then find something a little more secluded. And it doesn’t hurt to see if the homeowner will let you do a 24 hour stay-over to see what the activity level is like around the house at all hours of the day.
You should be able to find a home that fits your lifestyle, as long as you can see past the shiny new appliances and do a little neighborhood homework. Once all of these pieces of the puzzle fall into place, the only one left is you!
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