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  Location, Location, Location.

Location Local Community, Town or City

Before you can actually pick out a house, you need to choose what
cities or communities you would like to live in. There are many factors
you should pay attention to, not only for yourself, but because you
intend to eventually sell the home to someone else. Carefully choosing
your community is the first step in "location, location, location" and
can help maximize your future potential resale value.

Economic Stability

When choosing a community for your purchase, it makes the most
sense to buy in a city with a viable and stable economy. Five, ten, or
even fifteen years from now when you want to sell your home you
can have a reasonable expectation that your community will still be a
desirable place to live.

In addition to residential neighborhoods, there should be a healthy
mixture of commercial and business districts. These not only provide
jobs to the local residents, but also add an income source that the city
can use to upgrade and maintain roads and city services.

In fact, you should take a drive and see how well the community is
maintained. You have probably heard of "pride of ownership" when
referring to an individual home or an automobile. Look to live in a city
that demonstrates community pride, as well.

Local Government Services

In addition to community pride, check on the services provided by local
government. One example would be the local library system. Are there
several library branches? Do they stock a good selection of books,
including recent best sellers?

You should also look into local crime statistics and see how the city
compares to the national average and other local communities. Is the
police force effective and responsive to community needs? Are fire
stations located strategically around the community so that they also
can respond quickly in an emergency?

Another area of inquiry is community services. Does the city sponsor
youth sports and have well maintained athletic facilities and parks? Do
they sponsor community events, such as an annual parade? Are there
activities available for children, teenagers and senior citizens?

Your local agent, if they are a good one, will have amassed a wealth of
information on these subjects of inquiry. It is also another reason to
always use a local agent.

Schools

Even if you do not have school-age children and do not intend to have
children, you must pay attention to the local school system. That is
because when you sell the property, many of your potential buyers will
have concerns of this nature.

You will want to know if the local schools are overcrowded. Take a
drive around and see if there are auxiliary trailers outside the local
schools. Call up the local school district and see if elementary aged
children always attend the school closest to their home. If not, ask
why. Are there enough schools to support the local population? If not,
are there plans to build new schools? How will building new schools
affect local property taxes?

You should also check to see how local students score on the
standardized tests. You can ask your agent about these things, but
you should also get the local phone numbers so you can ask yourself.

There are also school reports available for free on the Internet.

Property Taxes

Property taxes may be higher in one town than another nearby city.
This can sometimes affect whether potential homebuyers view a
community as a desirable place to live. Often, they will choose not to
purchase in a community with higher taxes, though this decision is not
always justified. Higher property taxes often mean newer and more
modern schools, well-maintained roads, and bountiful community
services.

In addition, you will often find that the "cost per square foot" of homes
is lower in cities that have higher property taxes. This means you can
buy a bigger house for less money. Since the mortgage payment may
be lower, but the property taxes a bit higher, the monthly housing
costs may be approximately the same in each city.

However, many agents and prospective buyers have a bias against a
community with higher property taxes. If resale value is important to
you, make property taxes a consideration when choosing the location
of your new home.

copyright 2000 by Terry Light and RealEstate ABC

 

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