As overused as the phrase is, it should still impart a great deal of meaning to you. Where the home is located is the most important factor in determining its value — not just now, but also in the future.
Imagine you have the choice between buying two identical homes in the Bay Area: One is near the center of a housing tract and the other is on a busy street. The first house will have greater value. On the other hand, you may be able to afford a 4-bedroom home on the edge of the tract near the busy street for the same price that it would cost to buy a 3-bedroom home in the center of the development.
“Location, location, location” is the biggest rule in real estate, and often the most overlooked by buyers and sellers alike.
You Cannot Move Your Home
It is entirely possible to buy the right home in the wrong location. After all, you can
change the home’s layout and structure and remodel to your heart’s content, but you cannot move it.
The best locations to buy are those in hot spots including homes:
Within good school districts.
Buyers with children are usually concerned about the education their children will receive and will pay more for a home in a desirable school district.
Close to outdoor recreation.
Homes along parks, rivers and oceans have higher value because of the prime location, assuming they are not in the path of a natural hazard. Most buyers will pay more for a home near the water or other beautiful scenery.
With a great view.
Homes with beautiful panoramic views of the skyline — or even just a slight glimpse of the ocean from a single window — typically sell fast and for the most money.
Near shopping or entertainment.
Homes located within walking distance of theaters, restaurants and stores are more expensive than those further out of town.
In conforming areas.
Buyers tend to gravitate toward areas with similar values. This means buyers often prefer to be around similar homes in terms of age and construction, where they will be around people like them.
In economically stable areas.
Neighborhoods that have gone through economic downfalls and remained strong attract buyers who want to maintain their home’s value.
Near jobs and public transportation.
Most people want to avoid long commutes to the doctor, bus lines or work, and they will pay for a home that gives them shorter travel times.
Which Areas are Undesirable?
The areas above are those that draw the most buyers and the highest prices.
The qualities that make a location desirable can be harder to determine as it depends on the general area.
Bad locations, though, are very easy to define.
- Near commercial or industrial property.
Except in the case of downtown property, commercial buildings in the neighborhood will bring values down. This is caused by many reasons, including the fact that home owners cannot control who is loitering in front of their home, as well as the noise factor.
- Near freeways, flight paths and railroad tracks.
No one wants to listen to rumbling and loud transportation noises while they are trying to talk on the phone, relax or even sleep.
- Neighborhoods with high crime.
It goes without saying that people want to feel safe in their home, and neighborhoods with a high crime rate will see a significant drop in value.
- Economically distressed neighborhoods.
If home owners do not show pride of ownership in maintaining their homes, you may want to think twice about moving into the area.