Location remains the single most important factor when choosing a home, according to Mary Lynn Stone, President of Century 21 New Millennium. However, there is a lot more to a prime location than waterfront views. “Before you even start house hunting, you should be location hunting,” suggests Stone. First, decide what you want in a town or city, and then do some research and talk to real estate experts to find a few choices that fit within your specifications.”
Of course, what constitutes an ideal location will vary from buyer to buyer. Because everyone’s preferences vary, lifestyle will determine the best place for you to live. Some people prefer the suburbs while others thrive on downtown living. If you like peace and quiet, do you want serene woods or rolling hills? If you favor city living, find out what part of the city suits you best—a fast-paced neighborhood or one slightly more subdued. When searching for your ideal destination, feel free to dig deep. Talk with the neighbors and check out details like traffic patterns, and even sounds and smells.
“No one wants to purchase a house to find out it’s slammed with school bus traffic during morning rush hour, or downwind from the dump,” says Stone. “Make sure to get below the surface level when it comes to location. Spend a few Saturdays hanging around local hot spots to get to know the crowd and character of the community.”
What else should you take into consideration? Basic guidelines can include property taxes, while other specificities will depend on where you are in life. Are you newlyweds? Accessibility to work and local school systems may be important factors. Retired and looking to downsize? Consider local recreation, community, and distance from any grandchildren who may need routine visits.
“Location is important—more important than the number of square feet or cost of your down payment,” notes Stone “By focusing on it before you start to house hunt, you will be less likely to fall in love with that old colonial or gorgeous five-bedroom on the water, only to be heart broken when you find out the commute is terrible, school systems are shoddy and property taxes are through the roof.”
CENTURY 21 New Millennium. Smarter. Bolder. Faster. CENTURY 21 New Millennium, www.c21nm.com, is a full service real estate brokerage company specializing in residential and luxury properties. In addition to its newest Washington D.C. location, the Virginia locations are in Alexandria, Centreville, Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Gainesville, McLean, Stafford, and Woodbridge. The Maryland offices are located in Annapolis, Columbia, Dunkirk, La Plata, Lexington Park, Lusby and Waldorf. Its core services include: mortgage financing, investing, settlement services, property management, property insurance, global relocation assistance, and commercial real estate.