Real Estate Watch: What determines where you live?

Real Estate Watch: What determines where you live?

I’m always curious as to how, what, why and when individuals, couples and families go through the process of deciding and determining the home, condo or co-op they will determine to purchase or rent.  Is it actually the price, schools, location, demographics and transportation that they are basing it on?  

I believe from experience, that, there are a multitude of factors in most cases.  

First, the smart buyers will first determine what they can afford, by getting qualified by a licensed mortgage broker or banker based on their verifiable financials (income, credit and debt/income ratios) and then the mortgage person will provide either a pre-qualification or commitment letter.  

Then the purchasers must decide what towns that they would like to reside in, noting my old adage, “location, location, school district!!!”  Sometimes these variables may not work, mainly due to the financial situations of the indivual(s) or families, so they may be restricted to certain affordable areas and try to find the best schools within their qualified price point.  

After dealing with customers and clients for over 32 years, I believe, schools, for those with or planning to have children, is tantamount as the major determining and crucial factor in choosing those towns that they will want to live in, based on their qualified price range.  

However, there are those that are empty nesters and those that are just starting out that may not consider schools as a primary consideration For resale, i believe, it should be a consideration, even though one may no longer have kids, have none right at the moment, but may have, in the very near future or do not plan to have any at all.  

The better the schools, the better the resale value. 

However, exceptions will apply in vacation and retirement areas around the U.S. 

There are those that don’t really care about schools regardless of the potential resale value, which I think is a bit shortsighted. Others will choose an area based on the demographics, proximity to transportation, style, condition and potential for appreciation.  

There are those that will only want a specific style of home, regardless of other factors.  Some, who can afford and spend the necessary dollars, yearn and just have to have their dream home that they always wanted to live in as the most important factor.  

Everyone has their wish list of “wants” in their search for a place.  

However, today as compared to 2004-2007, when the market provided mortgages to those that had barely a “pulse.”   

I see today, that one’s “needs” are those things that fit the amount of money that they can afford or want to spend each month, that keeps people grounded.  

This will for the most part, determine where they will want to grow their roots, whether for the near or long term.  Others may be relocating and have much shorter term goals.   

The “wants” are their “champagne tastes and beer pockets” on their “dream list” of things that they would thoroughly love to have, but may not be able to buy and have, due to the  “old money factor.” 

One should focus on their “needs” and then figure out if there are any “wants”, within their buy range that they can afford, but by no means stretch themselves, like many did years ago.    

Unless you know for sure or are willing to take a calculated risk, due to future, somewhat guaranteed increased income and want to go for those specific “wants” (newer kitchen, bathrooms, etc.) or dream home;  I suggest that you buy what you can afford, but don’t be so conservative that you miss out on a place that you really can afford and would thoroughly enjoy!!!

Whatever your reason for buying or even renting, one must try to logically sit down and create a plan and breakdown the most important items that you “need” and “want” in your home based on your income(s), qualifications, amount of downpayment, the size of their monthly mortgage payment and other costs.  

Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” 

So do all your planning in advance and dont be a “Monday morning quarterback.”

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