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April Is National Fair Housing Month
Home Buying Location: Does not matter where you live, I am sure you must have heard and read the expression - “Location. Location.
Location” - dozens of times…
Well, that is because in real estate everything is a function of location …consequently price is always a direct correlation to It as well.
You can have the same builder, same material and the exact floor plan and two different locations I can guarantee you the price will not be the same.
$1,000,000 in Atlanta, GA buys you a very nice two-story home with 7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, basement and 3-car garage in a nice piece of land where you can grow your rose bushes and raise a dog any size you want…
The same million dollars would buy you an “entry-level” one bedroom and 01 bathroom condo/apartment in Manhattan. …Besides they may restrict the weight of your dog and parking is extra.
”Location, location, location!”
Note: Condominium X Apartment: in the Atlanta area we use the word “condominium” if own it and “apartment” if you rent it… However I noticed that in New York the word “apartment” is used even if you own it.
But what makes a location different from the other?
Desirability is what comes to mind.
Actually this is a result of market forces: More people desiring the same area will create demand …and Viola! The area becomes hip and prices start to go up.
And you do not need to go across country to find comparisons: I recently was working with one of my clients and we looked a home with the exact description above: A four-side brick home with 6 BR / 4BH, 3-car garage /Formal Living room, formal dining room will sit 8 persons, a large master bedroom with tray ceiling, sitting area and massive walk closet; master bath double vanity, separate tub/shower, whirlpool tub; more than a 1/3 of acre lot, beautiful private wooded back yard, community pool and tennis court
…All of it plus a cul-de-sac address for the asking price of $359,900!
We left that subdivision and hop to another subdivision across the road to check prices on similar size houses they were “starting in the low $400’s" : -(
Albeit the house above was a re-sale with four years of occupancy
Furthermore… you would not need to travel all the way to Manhattan to get “comps.”
In many other areas of Atlanta – that is more in demand - such a home would be offered for twice as much, easily! I am quite sure that you can relate to it and see my example clearly looking in properties around you.
This is all fueled for the human trait called “desirability.”
The more people desire one thing – tangible or intangible – the demand increases and the price will, inevitably, goes up.
It is true for Super Bowl tickets [specially these] and it is true for any home buying location as well.
But what creates “desirability” in the first place?
There many factors that all put together – and sometimes even the lack of characteristics will appeal to some folks.
Let’s look some more:
Schools make or brake a location as well
People care a lot about the quality of their school district – and it should be that way not only due to concerns about their children’s education but because it also can a direct affect on the home buying location prices and who would be willing to buy there.
Even if you do not have kids, you still should give some consideration about schools: One day you will put that property back in the market again and the school factor can help or hurt your equity.
I once bought a house and, on my arrival, just as I was pulling the tuck in, two of my new neighbors came up to me – not to greet me and not to roll the welcome red carpet, but they wanted to know what kind of people were about to move in…
However, not long after I moved to that house, some other folks moved to a rental home next to me. They liked to party – and they meant it! Like three uninterrupted days and nights in a row… Police was called in a few times and they did not last in the house passing their “second party.”
If they were homeowners would be a more difficult situation to resolve. In any case a steady number of professionals folks that really care and understand that value of their homes is also vital of how a neighborhood is perceived.
Talking about rentals, that is another think to watch for – lots of renters are very nice people but there are plenty that are not up to par. And they can tip the scale down, especially in a condominium.
Try to keep informed about the rental ratio where you intend to buy – houses are more difficult to obtain such data, however in a condominium is a public information that is readily available.
In a condo the rental ratio should not exceed 25 to 30% of the units.
Other good neighbors you could wish for in your home buying location are amenities like Golf clubs – I do not know how closely you follow it, trust me, having a golf club nearby always adds value to you investment… Even if your home buying location is not exactly at the view of the green.
Subdivisions are created to cater to a certain profile of like minded buyers. So within that home buying location things will fall in a certain uniformity like all brick homes, compatible home size or even can have more strict requirements for appearance of the homes and yards.
I always make my buyers aware of any of these info because it can be the home buying location of your dreams or it can veer off to a completely opposite direction and you’d better think twice before you sign in he dotted line.
I like to point out that location is not limited to the geographic area being consider but also inside a subdivision or even the placement of a condo in a building
The positioning of a home within a subdivision also is another point to consider about your home buying location.
…Maybe I should name it “micro-location”
Builders are very adapt to creating more desirable points when developing the plot: Their best tool for this is creating as many cul-de-sac as possible …That is what buyers want, and they are willing to pay a bit more to have the “prestige” of a cul-de-sac address!
So you have a built-in differentiated location inside the subdivision.
This is another planned development that came up some years back: “Live, Work and Play” - all in the same place without the need to commute.
It advocates compact, transit-oriented, walkable, bicycle-friendly land use.
It has or has had supporters in many parts of the world. In Atlanta it was being pushed fairly strong: they developed many places, especially condo buildings with offices and shops, offices and restaurants in first floor.
These locations are aimed to young professionals, mostly single and couples with not children. They tend be conscious about time and fuel consumed in commuting.
I do not know how this concept is fairing right now, but again these developments are a new thinking about the old home buying location mix
To read more about it, just please google the term “smart growth.”
Good or not so good influence the whole equation of the home buying location.
A well built and appointed condo overlooking a noise and dusty cement depot would not be so hot… As we say in real estate “somebody will buy” but the demand will be a bit limited.
On the other hand a good view will improve the quality of living and will raise the prices sometime as much as 15% -- such is the case of condos / apartments with great views… A NYC apartment with a view of Central Park is worth gold because the demand would be worldwide.
To all of this, sprinkle some golden rays of sunshine: This is a true and true point to influence your location. It is even more so in high-density land use like in big metropolis like New York City and Chicago.
Wrapping up Thoughts
These are but some examples of the mix that will determine the quality of living, increase the desirability and, as a direct consequence, the value of a home buying location.
There are many more: Traffic, public transportation, airports, climate …celebrities
Countless people will decide for their home buying location based on the opportunity to rub elbow with the “notables.”
…Nothing wrong with that, it is a matter of life style and each buyer should balance his/her wants. There is a niche for every taste.
Have you ever heard the military adage that “three stars general socialize with three stars general and four stars generals socialize with four stars generals?”
The “upper echelon” rubs elbow with the “movers and shakers”
That is why golf communities are so successful all across the country – lots of opportunity to “run into” another person with whom you may do your next profitable deal.
And that is how the ball bounces
However, if you are not star-struck, just move quite along, there will be a beautiful home waiting for you at the end of the rainbow too.
And just the way you are looking for!
I have worked with a young professional who had public transportation as one of her priorities to get quickly in and out of the airport was the ideal home buying location… On the other hand, most of the people in Atlanta area drive, so that is not a big deal around here.
So I came to think that location has more to do with what you want and less of what others have to think about it.
Always keep in mind that a few miles can make a big difference
I think that by now you could judge for yourself why I said that everything is a function of location
…and where the expression “location, location, location” fits in the puzzle
When setting your eyes in a home, “choose wisely” – A home buying location can set prices worlds apart.
…Your experience living there can be worlds apart as well!
Deciding on you Home Buying Location is but one of the ten most important steps that will lead you to a successful purchase of your new home!
Please follow these links to learn more about the other nine steps:
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JC Fagundes, Head Broker
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