Home location plays a major role in your life. Property taxes, school districts, and the cost of living are standard details that go into choosing the best-fit location. . . but what other factors could you be forgetting? Here are 4 home location components that deserve a spot on your house-hunting priorities list.
1. Daily commutes and ease of getting around
A daily commute can directly impact your quality of life. It tends to dictate what time you wake up, how much free time you have after work, and your daily stress levels. Do some dry runs to see what your new commute would be like during your travel times. And if you don’t have the ability to physically check out the commute, most online map programs or mobile apps will show you traffic volumes and estimated travel times in real time so you can estimate your morning and evening drive times.
2. Walkability and public transportation options
The freedom of around-the-corner shopping, walking to work, and using public transit can be desirable for some, but uncomfortable or limiting to others. Consider everything from your travel preferences to your shopping habits. Do you tend to pick up your groceries fresh as you need them, or are you a buy-in-bulk kind of family? Looking at how you shop now will make you more aware of the options to look for in your new locale.
Check walkability score on sites like Zillow—there’s usually a section that gives it a score out of 100 and explains why!
3. Square footage, lot size, and privacy
How much house you can afford is going to change based on location. A willingness to live in a distant suburb most often translates into more square footage on a larger lot. Most people are going to know what they want in lot size, but when house hunting, it’s all about priorities. Make a list of your must-haves (have your partner make one, too), and you may be surprised at what you’re unwilling to sacrifice in exchange for that extra half-bathroom.
4. Social life and cultural amenities
A major draw to city life is an abundance of activities. However, some suburbs boast city-like activities on a smaller scale, or you might find that the occasional city trip is enough. Think about how you spend your weekends now, where and how often you eat out, and where your social circle is. Even if you’re moving to a different side of the country, you’re likely to carry those same habits and preferences with you.