What area do we want to settle in?
Ridiculous question, I know. This depends on so many different things, and we were familiar with the neighborhood we were considering. Can you imagine trying to decide where to buy when you are moving cross-country and unfamiliar with neighborhoods? Anyone who has done this automatically earns some points with me :-)
For The Big Guy and I, there were a few important things to consider:
1) Proximity to work: We both work in decent neighborhoods, so we wanted to buy a house no more than 7 miles from work. I know that 7 miles does not seem like very much, but in the city that translates into a 20-minute commute, which was our limit. You can adjust this based on your commute tolerance and whether you work in an urban or rural area.
If we did not work in good neighborhoods, we would have extended our radius to extend into better neighborhoods. Better neighborhoods translate into better:
2) Resale values: Obviously, housing prices are down (umm, that is why we bought now as opposed to later!), but we were looking for a neighborhood where the values were rising. We looked to see how high the crime rates were in several different neighborhoods, as lower crime rates mean better resale values. We also looked to see if home values were on the rise, as well as how much of a hit the average home value took when values dropped.
We know that we are not going to live in this house forever, so we either want to be able to sell the house for a profit, or rent it out for a decent price, to decent renters :-)
3) Taxes: Love them & hate them! The Big Guy and I were not looking to buy an extraordinarily expensive home with equally expensive taxes. We were looking for a foreclosure that would only require aesthetic repairs in a good school district and neighborhood. Unfortunately, good schools and neighborhoods mean higher taxes, regardless of the home price. As is stands right now, our tax payment per month is actually more than our mortgage, go figure :-)
But, we were willing to take a tax hit because buying a home in a good neighborhood and in a good school district (with the accompanying taxes) means that the house will sell easier, and at a higher price.
Short-term sacrifice, long-term gain ;-)
While everyone should consider questions such as these when determining where to buy a house at, there may be more factors that are important to you?
What do you think? What did you take into consideration when choosing where to buy your house?
Other Posts In This Series:
We Bought a House (at 22)! – Part 5