Location Matters When Buying a Home

San Francisco HomesYou’ve already made a lot of choices in your decision to buy a home. You know how many bedrooms you will need. You’ve figured out the size of your back yard and even what kind of kitchen cabinets you want. But you don’t quite know exactly where you should be looking for your dream house. How do you choose between different neighborhoods? As the old mantra states, the three things that matter in real estate are “location, location, location.”

Where you plant your roots is critical. If you work with a gay real estate agent, he or she can help you choose locations ideal for your family. They have expert knowledge of gay neighborhoods and gay communities in all cities. As a member of the LGBT community, your agent will find you a property with your best interest in mind. They can understand your hurdles and personal needs. When meeting with your agent, think about what you want and need in a new home.

Local Amenities

What kind of shops and restaurants are nearby? Is there a grocery store within walking distance? What about parks and green spaces? If you’re a drama buff or music fan, are there clubs and theaters close by? City planners often talk about the “livability” of a neighborhood. Take a walk around and get a feel for the area. Are there many people out and about? Are people on their porches or stoops? Do neighbors seem to know each other? How walkable are the sidewalks? Sure, you can choose a bigger yard over local nightlife, but think about whether you want to drive an hour to indulge in your favorite hobbies or entertainment and dining options.

Local Infrastructure

How does each community rate its local infrastructure — its police force, post office, its libraries and parks? What do locals think about how responsive the local councilman or alderman is to community concerns? Are the roads and sidewalks in good repair? Is there decent public transportation nearby? What is the parking situation — if there’s no garage or driveway, is there ample street parking? Will your car be safe? If you have children, you are obviously going to want to check out each neighborhood’s local schools.

Red Flags

Is the property unusually inexpensive for a reason? Is there a coal plant or landfill around the corner? Are there pests or infestations you need to be aware of? You probably don’t have to be concerned about whether the house was built on an old Indian burial mound that’s now haunted by vengeful demons, but, still, it wouldn’t hurt to research any dark history the neighborhood may have. Maybe the golf course or speedway across the street is right up your alley — then again, maybe you don’t want errant golf balls in your flower bed, or the roar of engines on a Sunday morning. . .

Commute Time

How far will you have to drive or take public transit to get to work? What you save in mortgage fees can easily get eaten up by transportation, gas, and parking costs if you are a long way from work. Are you close to a main thoroughfare or interstate? If you bike, how bike-friendly are the streets?

Personal Support Network

Consider whether the new neighborhood is far from family and friends. Are you going to be isolated from your social network? Will you be able to befriend your new neighbors? Do you belong to a religious institution that is nearby so you can practice your faith within the community? Will there be activities and opportunities for your children to make friends?

Insurance and Tax Rates

Check out http://homeinsurance.com/rates-in-your-state/ to find out home insurance rates in each area. Like transportation costs, insurance rates and property tax rates can sometimes affect the cost of owning the house itself.

How Comfortable Do You Feel Here?

Walk around the neighborhood. Does it feel like “home” to you? Ask yourself whether you would want to hang out there. Do you want the solitude of quiet, sleepy side streets, or a bustling, busy main drag? Do you want a more family-friendly area with lots of kids running around or do you want a more hip, trendy vibe with tons of nightlife? If you’re moving to a new city and can’t walk around in advance, there are plenty of Internet sites where you can look up a neighborhood’s walkability level, search maps of the area for activities, schools, restaurants, and other amenities.

Make a list of the non-negotiables

What features can you absolutely not live without? A yard? Access to public transit? Parking? Access to restaurants and grocery stores? Affordability? Decide what you’re willing to compromise on and what is an absolute must-have. Once you’ve narrowed it down, you can choose the neighborhood that’s most going to feel like home.