Shari Sagan McGuirk's Blog
When it comes to finding the ideal neighborhood for your next home, there's no "one size fits all" formula.
While some people enjoy the hustle and bustle of an urban environment, others prefer a quiet family-oriented neighborhood in the suburbs.
Whatever your preferences, convenience is near the top of just about everyone's priority list. Here's why:
Closeness to Work: Long, daily commutes are not only stressful, but they can cause you to miss family dinners, school events, and relaxing evenings at home. There's also the added cost of gasoline, highway tolls, and wear-and-tear on your vehicle. If you happen to be leasing a vehicle, then long commutes could result in additional mileage charges at the end of your lease. Although car leases vary, exceeding the mileage allotment set by the leasing company can sometimes run you as much as 25 cents a mile. That can potentially add up to a hefty surcharge!
While there are a lot of reasons to look for a home that's relatively close to your job or business, quality of life issues are among the most important. As an example, if your daily commute is 45 minutes, each way, that adds up to an hour-and-a-half on the road. If you factor in occasional traffic jams, road repairs, and other inevitable delays, you're talking about more than eight hours a week just driving back and forth to work. It's equivalent to adding an additional work day to your week! Although it's not always feasible (especially in two-income households), there are major advantages to finding a house that's less than a half-hour commute to your job(s).
Proximity to Conveniences: Life will also be easier if you live close to a well-stocked supermarket. When you shop at a large, high-volume grocery store, prices are more economical and food tends to be fresher. Corner grocery stores and pharmacies are nice to have nearby when you just want to pick up a few quick essentials, but for selection, price, and freshness, supermarkets are usually your best bet!
Other desirable locations to keep in mind when house hunting include good-quality schools, reputable childcare centers, and proximity to family and friends. Depending on your lifestyle, you might want to be close to airports, major highways, recreational facilities, and entertainment. It can also be an advantage to choose a home near medical and dental offices, a veterinary clinic, and a preferred church, synagogue, or mosque.
When launching a search for your family's next home, the key to success is to stay focused, create detailed priority lists, and work with a seasoned real estate agent. Whether you decide to live in a rural area, suburbia, or downtown, a real estate agent has the knowledge, training, and negotiating skills to help you get a good deal and match your lifestyle goals with your budget and timeframe.