When it comes to buying your forever home, should you be looking for the property of your dreams or the perfect neighbourhood? Here are some things to consider to help you decide.
HOME OR LOCATION?
What do you envision your dream house to look like? If you’ve been house hunting for some time, you probably have a specific set of requirements that you’re hoping your future home will have. It can be hard to choose between home and location, especially if you can’t find (or afford) both. Let’s imagine you have finally found your perfect home, but the location is not ideal. We’re not talking about a terrible area versus a really good area, but instead comparing a very desirable location with an average location. What do you do? Alternatively, maybe you’ve found yourself a less-than-perfect home, one that doesn’t fit all of your requirements, but is in your dream neighbourhood. How would it feel to know the house itself doesn’t fit the bill, and is that worth the sacrifice of a great location?
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
If you can’t decide whether the home or the location is more important, then ask yourself these important questions before you start (or continue) your property search:
● Is your next home a forever home or something short term?
● What is driving your decision to move?
● What makes your ideal location so desirable?
● If you’ve found a great property in a less than ideal location, what can’t you change about the home that might be a deal-breaker?
● What are your must-haves vs your nice-to-haves?
● Would you rent a property in a less favourable area first, i.e. try before you buy?
Another way to approach this conundrum is to c. Take the time to do this properly, making sure you write absolutely everything down and ask yourself all the questions above.
These days, it almost means more to shop for the dream neighbourhood than the dream house. A lot of people would choose location every time as a home can nearly always be improved. But are small improvements or heavy renovations something you have the time, energy and budget for? If you’re really stuck, then ask yourself: am I able to broaden my search to meet somewhere in the middle, i.e compromise for something between the ideal home and the ideal location?
DO YOUR RESEARCH
If you’re leaning toward location over home, then do some thorough research about the neighbourhoods you’re interested in. Firstly, start with past property prices. You only have to look into the past two or three years, but you’ll be in search of steady price growth as this indicates a stable area. A neighbourhood that suddenly increases in value probably might not remain popular for long. When you’re doing your research, also keep an eye out for new buildings going up. If new houses, apartment buildings or even restaurants are being constructed, that means this is likely an up-and-coming area. Likewise, the sign of an upcoming and growing neighbourhood typically has a lot of younger people in it and is likely near another popular part of town. These people will also attract those new infrastructure projects, so look out for new cafes and coffee spots.