Choosing a Region When Buying a House
Know what to look for when buying a house in different regions
If you're thinking about buying a new house, you know there are countless considerations that factor into your decision. Chief among them is location. If you're being relocated by your employer, you won't have much say in the general region you're moving to, but you'll still need to select a neighborhood to call home. If your move isn't work-related, choosing a region you and your family will enjoy and feel comfortable in is key to a happy life, whether you move one town over or across the country. Take a look at some of the elements to look for when buying a house in a new region.
Cost of Living
You don't want to end up living in an area you can't afford, so it's important to research the average cost of living in the regions where you're considering buying a house. Housing prices are definitely not one-size-fits-all and can vary based on the region. A four-bedroom home in a rural area for example, would probably cost much less than a comparable one near a city like Philadelphia. The same goes for gas, food and other general living expenses. As you begin planning your move, compare average home prices across the country. This is a good way to gauge the general cost of living. Once you do this, you can narrow down your location options to areas that align with your budget and the size of the home loan you can obtain.
For some people, weather is a huge factor in determining where to live. If you grew up in Florida, for instance, you may have a harder time adjusting to a colder climate like Upstate New York, and you’ll want to be sure to find a well-insulated home with an efficient heating system. Spend some time comparing climates and weather patterns in various regions throughout the country and consider how those might affect the kind of home you buy. The kind of roofing and building materials, insulation and energy sources used will differ between warm and cool climates. For example, a home on the Florida coast will require windows with hurricane-protective glass, while buying a house in upstate New York may mean you'll want to purchase a snow blower or other snow removal equipment.
If you have children, the quality of the school system in which you're buying a home is obviously a very important factor. Luckily, there are plenty of online resources available to research school systems across the country. A great place to start is the National Center for Education Statistics, a government organization that provides essential facts such as school enrollment numbers, student-to-teacher ratios, and gender and race statistics. This website also includes The Nation's Report Card, which will give you statistics and assessments of schools based on their overall performance in major learning areas such as reading, math and science. Finding a school district you like might even end up being the final factor in determining where to move.
Culture and entertainment
A major part of quality of life is doing the things you love. You should keep this in mind when buying a house in a new region. If you're passionate about hiking, for example, consider buying a home in an area with easy access to parks, hiking trails or even in a mountainous region. Even if you don't have specific hobbies you want to gear your home search toward, research the local nightlife, restaurants, theaters and other entertainment options in the regions you're interested in. Take a look at travel guides for the areas you're considering and see what kind of cultural activities are mentioned. This will give you a good sense of the local color and whether or not it fits with your interests.
When thinking about what to look for when buying a home, the crime level in the potential area should be top of mind. Even if you don't have children, you still want to live somewhere you feel comfortable and don't have to worry about your personal safety or the security of your valuables. Do a simple online search for crime statistics in the specific cities in which you're considering buying a home and pay particular attention to personal and property crimes in that area. You can also contact the local police department and ask for similar crime and safety information. This might even garner you a personal and professional take on that community's level of safety.
Get information on home loans from Citizens Bank
Once you've settled on a location and are ready to start the process of buying a house, trust Citizens Bank for your home loan needs. Call one of our home loan advisors for more information on our mortgage options and to apply for a mortgage pre-approval today.