Location: Home Buying Tips

No matter what you do to beautify your home, you can’t take it out of a bad area. Your real estate agent knows it’s true and now you know it. Location is key to buying a wonderful home that will appreciate over time.

You can’t accurately predict exactly how much your home investment will gain over the years. You can, however, gauge how successful the possible rate of return will be based on a handful of factors.

Home Location Checklist


It’s obvious that a house in a great location is going to appreciate. When you tour the area, are the buildings well maintained? Do the schools have a solid reputation? Are local businesses thriving? As long as that neighborhood is neat and tidy along with the houses in the surrounding area, the area will continue to do well. Reputable schools and local businesses are seen as an asset for the community, and are a clear indication you’re in a good location.

Buying a home in an area that meets these criteria might hit your pocketbook a little harder. Don’t worry, though. Buying in a desirable area means you’re making a good purchase that will give you a decent return over time.

Curb Appeal

Is your favorite pastime taking a cruise to look at the new houses in the neighborhood? Looking at homes that have gotten obvious TLC over the years makes us feel good. Even something as small as a painted, customized mailbox has appeal. Is there nice new furniture on that porch showcasing the generous space? Are the lawns manicured as green as a golf course? It’s critical to look for these signs of maintenance and care.

These properties draw us in and make us want to spend time there. The houses in such places become more than structures; they are easily identifiable as homes where people build their lives. We’re not talking about a needle in a haystack home either. Hunt for neighborhoods where the majority of homeowners—blocks and miles of vested homeowners—adore their homes so much their care is obvious.

Mild Fixer-Uppers 

There are good investments, requiring little capital that will look sharp with a little attention. Generally, the people who purchase these properties are intent on repairing and restoring them so they match the properties around them.

If after doing your research into the neighborhood, you stumble upon one of these treasures, seriously consider snatching it up! You’ll be living in a neighborhood worth your investment and getting in under the price wire as long as the ratio from repair to mortgage is reasonable.

Don’t Buy the “Best” House In the Neighborhood

The best house in the neighborhood—the biggest, showiest house—is the one that tests the curve. Because of this, this house will never rate what it’s really worth. Think of it this way: if you were to take the grandest house in the neighborhood and plop it down into a more comparable area, would the value be the same? Most likely, the value of that home would increase and finally the property would be priced at what it’s worth.

So, what happens when that house exists in a neighborhood where other houses can’t keep up with its size and grandeur? The price of the best home drops, of course, to fall in line with other properties in the vicinity.

It’s vital to learn the ins and outs of home buying. At the end of the day you have two choices: make a smart investment, or purchase a home that won’t measure up.

For more tips on what to avoid and what to look for, check out this neighborhood guide.