Whoever came up with the phrase location, location, location was either very insightful or getting paid by the word. Its probably the former, as most realtors still use it as a key criterion in guiding you through the MLS listings. Thats because the neighborhood you select can be just as important as the home you purchase.
Sure, a big part of that is protecting your resale value. Theres a lot more to it though. The area you settle in has many other ramifications for you and your family beyond the financial. While a skilled real estate agent will give you many things to think about in deciding where to live, it helps to ponder some of them yourself before you wander through the MLS listings.
If you find the house of your dreams in the MLS listings, its easy to be caught napping when it comes to checking out your surroundings, and to do so is to miss half the picture.
Sure, the kids bedrooms look great and the kitchen is perfect for family dinners. But what are the areas parks and libraries like? Is there a recreation centre nearby with a pool for your daughters swimming lessons and a tennis court where your son can work on his backhand?
For single people, are there good restaurants and nightlife in the vicinity of your chosen MLS listings? What about trails so you can keep up with your jogging or impress other singles by pretending to jog?
Seniors may have their own priorities such as social clubs or community halls. Whatever your age and stage, you need to decide what elements you need close at hand as you browse the MLS listings and evaluate that dream home with your eyes wide open.
Whether youre single, retired or a couple with kids, safety is a priority in searching the MLS listings. You want your home to be your castle where you feel secure. Thats why its crucial to do some research on the neighborhoods crime rate and how it compares to where you currently live.
As with many aspects of the home-buying process, your realtor can be invaluable here by providing the latest crime statistics and helping you make an informed decision when it comes to MLS listings. Keep in mind that even if a higher than average crime rate doesnt bother you when you purchase the home, it may when you go to sell if it deters buyers reviewing the MLS listings. So with all of that at stake, failing to do your research on such an important topic would be criminal.
You want your kids to excel in school, so it just makes sense to find a school that excels. After narrowing your search with the MLS listings, do some initial checking online and then visit the local schools in person, looking for encouraging signs: Good library; well maintained grounds; lack of metal detectors. If you like what you see, talk to the neighbors for their impressions and take your child on a school tour.
For those without children, be mindful as you browse the MLS listings that school quality can have a big impact on resale value. Even if your classroom days are far behind you, its a subject youd be well advised to study.
Its easy to be blinded by first impressions from the MLS listings or the latest open house, but dont let it happen to you. Do your homework, talk to your realtor and take a big picture view with the MLS listings. After all, deciding where to settle down should be an uplifting experience that nets you the neighborhood youve always dreamed of. So dont settle for less.