Sometimes, you might think you were born in the wrong place. Or you moved somewhere that was the right place for awhile, but now you’re thinking you’d be happier somewhere else. What gives? For some people (like me,) living by family and friends is the most important thing. For others, the draw of a fresh start or an amazing opportunity to see the world might pull them to a different location. Here are 6 things to consider before buying a home – more can be found over at Money Crashers.
Money is necessary; can’t we all agree on that? Cost of living is more than just housing. Factor in consumer goods, transportation costs, utilities, and taxes. My good friend lives in New York City and even though we pull in similar salaries, my dollar goes a lot further here in good ol’ Metro Detroit.
Some states don’t collect sales tax, and others don’t collect income tax. Do some research on the taxes of the area you’re considering. Sometimes, even if the housing prices are affordable, the taxes can quickly rule out a particular location from a budget standpoint.
Check out the situation in your desired area. Has there been growth in your industry? A steady job market? Different areas cater to different careers. Investment bankers and technology whizzes might not find jobs everywhere, while teachers, engineers, and medical professionals have a little bit more flexibility. Keep in mind that salaries are usually based on the cost of living in the area, so $100,000/year in NYC might be relatively the same as $40,000/year in Detroit.
Real Estate Value
If you’re buying a home, make sure the market in your desired area is stable or growing. Housing prices fluctuate pretty regularly, so do research on the surroundings to determine the average home price and whether or not it’s likely to rise. Are more businesses moving to the area, signifying a period of extended growth? Do people tend to live in the suburbs and commute downtown, making city living more affordable?
Crime happens everywhere, so you can never live anywhere that’s 100% safe. However, researching crime rates and statistics can help you gain a better perspective on the safety of the area you’re considering. Check out local initiatives to keep the area safe and determine where you’re the most comfortable.
Family and Friends
Are you the type of person that has a large family with whom you’re extremely close? Or are you looking to get out of your comfort zone and move clear across the country – and not too worried about when you’ll see your family next? Consider the travel time and expense for family visits. I for one couldn’t move more than a few hours’ drive outside of the Metro Detroit area, otherwise I’d be too homesick for my huge, super-close family. But other people I know can’t wait to get out of here. To each his own!
By Janelle Witting