Location, location, location – when buying a home, what else matters?
We continually hear that location is the number one factor to consider when buying a home. A good location will boost your property value and help you when it comes time to sell. But not all of us can afford a penthouse suite in Manhattan. So what other factors are nearly as critical as where you buy your home? Let’s take a look:
The neighbourhood in which you live: Is yours emerging or deteriorating? That’s a tough one to guess. But there are ways. Neighbourhoods on the cusp of being the next hot real estate market often start out as ugly, rundown districts bereft of the badges of gentrification such as young families and thriving commercial activity. Some are former industrial areas. Others are just old, outdated and untended neighbourhoods that could use an injection of charm and vitality. The benefit to either moving into or investing in a neighbourhood on the rise is that if you get in early enough there’s money, sometimes substantial money, to be made.
Learn all you can about your neighbourhood. Is there a neighbourhood association or concerned citizens group? Inquire at City Hall about the property and neighbourhood zoning, as well as any potential easements, liens or other restrictions relating to your property.
Noise and smells: Environmental factors such as noise from high-volume traffic, sirens, train whistles or barking dogs might not bother you one bit, but could wreak havoc on those who are super-sensitive to certain sounds. The same goes for odours. You may have grown to enjoy the smell emanating from the nearby birdseed plant, but it can make some prospective buyers gag.
First impressions matter: Especially when it comes to selling your home. Hose down the siding and polish your windows because cleanliness certainly adds to your curb appeal. Landscape your property so it’s an attractive feature as opposed to an eyesore. Add an interesting walkway, bench or some lighting. Replace your old front door. The more spit and polish you invest, the more value you’ll get back.
Size and layout: Considering a four-bedroom home for just you and your spouse? Your washer and dryer are in the basement and you plan to situate your bedroom on the third floor? Perhaps you need to rethink these notions. A big house costs a lot of money to own and operate. They also require more time. Go smaller and save your money for exotic travel. Consider layouts that better suit your lifestyle – mud rooms for dogs, less stairs for the elderly or disabled, or a home office with a beautiful view.