Buying a House: How to Choose the Right Location

Location, location, location.

It may be sound trite, but real estate agents are absolutely right when they tell you those three words are the most important aspects of a house. Especially in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest property market.After making the decision that you’re going to build a house, the first item on the agenda is where you are going to put it. Your uncertainty is well founded; choosing the right spot is kind of a big deal. And for good reason. It will determine what type of house to put up. It will determine what features and amenities will be equipped. It will even determine what the house will look like. Just to mention but a few.

There are usually some very valid reasons as to why a patch of dirt in one neighbourhood may be worth more than a patch of dirt in another; be it between different new home communities, in the inner city, or the suburbs. Never mind everyone has different needs and preferences.

What to Look for

Building costs a pretty penny. For this reason, it can be mind-boggling thinking about the potential value your house could be worth in a couple of years. But know this: if you’re looking to construct a home where your family will be living for the foreseeable future, you could be better off brushing off that concern.

If your intention is to live in the house, then focus on finding a location that is:

  • Convenient
  • Comfortable
  • Safe
  • Within your budget

These four are what most people instinctively want when deciding on a location for their home. Should you manage to zero in on one that ticks the first three – provided it’s within your budget – then finding a buyer later on shouldn’t be a problem.

How can you tell a Location is Comfortable?

Convenience and safety have a hand in how comfortable a location is for you, but your lifestyle carries a lot of weight in it as well.

Everyone has different tastes, it doesn’t need telling. Most people have an idea where they want to build. If it’s not picture-perfect, how about you start by wrapping your head around the sort of things you categorically need (or want to avoid)? That way, you can be more assured of genuine comfort in any location.

Measuring Convenience

No doubt a big deal when choosing a location to build. For many, it may take precedence above all else.

When thinking convenience, factor in your own life as well as the rest of your family’s. Some of the things to consider include:

  • Place of work for the breadwinners, and how long it takes to get there through various means: car, public transport, bicycle
  • The route traffic generally flows – going against traffic during peak hours would be best if you’re able
  • What schools you want the kids to attend
  • Distance between family and friends
  • Whether or not you have avid hobbies or interests you might need to make a journey for
  • Nearby facilities and amenities: restaurants, supermarkets, gyms, libraries, hospitals, parks, you name it

Measuring Safety

Of course, objectively measuring how safe any given location is can be a pain. However, there are various ‘cheat codes’ that can help you get a feel of a particular neighbourhood without exploring it in the middle of the night.

The Victoria Crime Statistics Agency is a good place to get you started on the kinds of general threats and social issues around a particular place. They have an online tool just for that. This, along with suburb profile and demographic stats, can help paint a pretty vivid picture of how safe a particular location or neighbourhood is likely to be.

Other Considerations

Bad guys aside, there are other safety issues you need to consider when choosing a location to build. Think:

  • Soil movement
  • Flooding
  • Bushfires
  • High winds (or cyclones)
  • Presence of salt or dangerous chemicals in the soil
  • Termites and borers

It might sound a little over the top, but it pays to find out in advance of the things you need to worry about. Plus, getting a hold of such information is never much of a challenge.

Remember, you are yet to choose a location and you don’t want the architects to come later and tell you of the intricacies involved which could have a bearing not just on the budget, but also on the ideal picture of the kind of structure (and general layout) you had in mind.

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