When you are looking to buy, it’s all about location, location, location! That being said, the location you buy in is just as important as the property itself. Your dream home can really be anywhere, especially for those of you open to renovating to make your dream come to fruition. What you can never change is where your dream home is. When looking to buy it is important to do your homework, use every reputable resource at your disposal, and consider the city you want to live in. While traits of every individual home are a pro or con, the area you purchase the home in should be under the same level of scrutiny. At the end of the day, your new home will be where you establish a permanent life in a community that you will be a part of so consider these factors that make certain cities better than others to settle down in.
Look for potential for growth
Let’s be honest, the most recent housing crash coupled with the deep recession has changed the market for good. Some cities were hit harder than others and some have not even seen pre-recession levels. That being said, this is a key factor to look at when determining if a city is the right place to buy a home. What you want to assess is the potential for the market, real estate and otherwise to pull itself up by its boot straps and rebound healthfully. Consider some important questions: Is there a surplus inventory? If so, does this mean that buyers are scarce or fleeing? Why are buyers absent?
Of course some of the best cities are those that are already becoming revitalized, but at some level you may begin to “chase heat” and miss opportunities to get in and buy at a low. Although the local economy of rebounding cities may not yet be at pre-recession levels you should examine its recovery movement. If it appears that recovery is happening at a positive, consistent rate you just might be able to get in before growth potential becomes realized and homes are no longer priced at a steal.
It might seem obvious, but a component of a city’s growth potential in today’s economy lies in the ability for buyers to crop up. While low prices may be abound you should take a step back and assess what is the reason for it, and will it change? While supply and demand will ultimately change, you should think about what lies beneath the surface. The job market is a great indicator of what is in store for the local economy, whether that is, in fact, recovery or not. The demand for key industries in any given city should give you a good idea of the likelihood for the economy to bounce back. The reason this is an important determinant for a good city versus not is that it provides a domino effect. While housing may appear affordable—especially if you’re coming from a city/state with a higher cost of living—the value of your new home is at risk should employment and industry fail to continuously capture alpha.
Keeping crime at a low
Speaking of a domino effect, stronger economies and safer communities go hand-in-hand. The best cities to live in are not just those with better off economies, but also those which have lower crime rates and. While it is no guarantee that statistically safer or affluent communities will always remain that way you’re better off with better odds than not.
Some other things to keep in mind…
Transportation, whether public or private, plays into the rankings. Whether you will avail of public transportation like buses and trains or in your car on the highway take into consideration the experience. While suburban growth has ultimately outpaced city-dwelling the best locations are those where the majority of your time isn’t spent inside a crowded bus ride or packed freeway. You will want to enjoy your new home so be mindful of your potential city’s transportation score. Extra points if walking is a popular mode of travel!
Getting around by foot isn’t just for your busy day-to-day life. Some of the best cities to buy in are those with plentiful and lush landscapes to enjoy by foot. Not only does that translate into a more pleasant way to get around town, but it also signals the option for outdoor recreation. Great cities have a positive cumulative effect on the health of its residents especially when it promotes healthy outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, and avenues for sports play. Look for cities that host numerous opportunities to be active, and other indicators of healthfulness like farmers’ markets and community wellness programs.
Once you have covered your bases and are ready to put down roots in a winning city let the professionals take over. The one who should be able to validate the pros and cons of your chosen city is your real estate agent. Successful Realtors are those who know the market inside and out so be sure to test potential agents’ knowledge with the right questions.