Just how important is location?

Wed, 02/14/2007 - 9:36am
By: The Citizen

By Patti Harris Ayers
President of the Fayette County Board of REALTORS

Most prospective home buyers have heard the old adage that the three most important factors to consider when buying real estate are, "location, location, location." In reality, although location is important, there is much more to consider in any real estate transactions which is why most home buyers and sellers choose to work with real estate professionals.

Just how important is location? A National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey found that although affordability ranks high in importance, buyers' focus on neighborhood, distance from work, access to shopping and schools demonstrate that location is indeed significant.

"People who have bought real estate, especially those who have had a number of transactions, are aware of the value of location," Patti Ayers, president of the Fayette County Board of Realtors® says. "However, first time home buyers should be careful to choose a location that meets their needs, even if it means paying a little more," she says. "A bargain found in a less-than-advantageous location might look to be a good deal, but its chances for resale may be lower."

The NAR survey found that value of location is unique to the buyer interests. Home buyers with growing families are likely to look for a neighborhood with close proximity to work and schools. Retired home buyers consider availability of shopping a higher priority the survey shows.

"Neighborhoods are key to the type of environment the buyer is searching for," Ms. Ayers explains. "For example, neighborhoods surrounding elementary schools tend to attract families with young children," she notes. "This won't necessarily change, since families whose children are now grown find other locations more convenient and are apt to sell, creating sufficient turnover for new families with younger children."

Buyers who own two cars also tend to rank closeness to schools higher than nearby shopping, work and other factors such as public transportation, churches and recreational facilities.

"It's important for potential buyers to examine what ranks high on their own list of priorities before they begin the house hunting process,” Ms. Ayers says. "In that way, they'll have a clear idea of what amenities and services are available in the community they want to join."

The value of a house can change after its purchase. However, any change is likely to be gradual and will depend on factors such as the age of home. Older neighborhoods tend to change more gradually. Houses located near an institution, such as an elementary school, are usually a good investment since their worth is related to a factor that is long-lasting, in this case, the school. In some cases, a buyer may want to sacrifice an asset such as close proximity to a school if a larger house further away is more affordable.

"The whole subject of location is a personal choice for the buyer, President Ayers says. "That's why a real estate professional will interview the buyer to determine his or her interests, priorities and financial position in order to select a range of possible homes to show."

The Fayette County Board of Realtors ® is one of more than 1,800 local boards and associations nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. As "The Voice for Real Estate," NAR is the nation's largest professional association, representing 750,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry.

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