What do you look for first – the home then the ‘hood, or the ‘hood then the home?
As much as you may love the home, if it’s not where you want to live, then shut that door and move on.
A great location is not only about the ability to keep or add value to your property investment, but it is essential to how happy you are going to be for the next, say, 5- 7 years.
It all comes down to the L word -Lifestyle – how you live, or aspire to live.
There is no point buying the home of your dreams if it is not near your friends, your work, if it doesn’t support your interests, and your family.
A house can be changed- you can renovate, detonate, paint, plant, change it whichever way possible to make it the home of your dreams.
But a neighbourhood? Not so easy to alter.
Whether you are in the market for a new rental or a property to buy, there are some key aspects to making sure the “hood is right for you.
Round peg, round hole
Don’t try and fit into an area that just isn’t “you”.
If you would rather spend the weekend on the beach, surfing, swimming, fishing, working on your tan, then aim to be within an easy driving distance- if not walking distance. No point spending half your Sunday travelling and enjoying just a couple of precious hours getting sand encrusted.
If you would rather go bush, or visit museums and art galleries, then it makes sense to be nearer to those.
Need to be close to a bit of hustle bustle, and seeing people? Don’t go bush.
It makes sense, but sometimes when we see a home and fall in love with the walls and floors – it can actually cloud our rational thinking.
Tick Tock – on the car clock
We all wish for the ideal lifestyle – spending time doing what we love, but in order to have that, we also need to work.
Just how long do you want to spend commuting to your work each day?
What may seem like an easy hour travel each day each way can quickly lose its appeal – particularly in the colder darker months of the year.
A great neighbourhood that offers a café or two, shops for those essential items, a library, and maybe even a gym shows longevity and good community.
Hey, good looking.
Go for a drive around the ‘hood and see how homes on different streets look.
Are there home improvements happening? New homes being built? Are the homes looked after, tidy gardens, no broken down cars left to rust in the street. Ultimately you want to live in an area where the majority of residents are looking after their investment.
Do some people watching.
Are there people walking around the ‘hood, are there children playing, people exercising, enjoying their environment. These are all good signs of a ‘hood that is happy and feels safe to be outdoors.
A community well supported by the local government should have a hospital and a selection of schools. Check them out.
Will they be somewhere you would go if you were sick?
Would you want to send your children to be educated there?
Planes, trains and automobiles
Maybe not planes, but look into the local public transport. Check that are there buses, taxis, and trains with regular services and stops close by.
Buying a property, whether your own home or an investment property, is a huge investment so you need to do a fair bit of research.
Find out whether property prices have improved in value. You may think you’re getting a bargain compared to a “better” area, but if the prices have plateaued for a while or just don’t seem to have risen at the same rate as other areas, this may be a red flag.
Next door neighbours
The ‘hood before the home is generally the rule, however, if the ‘hood of your dreams is not quite in your budget, check out the neighbours.
Often an osmosis effect occurs and over time, these “side suburbs” can become the next “hot spot”.
Added bonus- they are still close to the lifestyle you want without going over your budget.
Still not sure?
Try before you buy!
Renting in an area that you are interested in will give you an incredible amount of insight without the full commitment.
After living somewhere for a while you will soon know if it where you want to reside permanently.
So many ‘hoods, so many homes, have fun exploring and finding the right one for you!