How To Choose The Right Location

By January 24, 2013 BUY
Map of Edmonton - Two Possible Property Locations

So everyone hears about how important location is in real estate. Well it’s number one, really. Nothing affects your life more than where you live, and nothing affects the value of your home more than where it’s situated. So that’s all fine and dandy, we know it’s a big deal, but how do you know you have a good location? And do you know you have the right location for you?

To start, there are really two kinds of locations we’re referring to when we talk about location. There is a general location and then there is a specific location.

General Locations

In generalized terms, you’re going to have a favourite neighbourhood or area they you want to live in. This is where you would look for a home and if one popped up, you might check it out if it’s the right size and has the amenities you want. In that general location sense, there are some things to consider before you pick your areas. They really have to deal with where you go most during the week.

Your Work

Travelling 40 minutes to work adds up to almost an extra full day of work per week!

Almost everyone has to work somewhere, but most importantly, everyone needs to get there and get back. Depending on the distance from home to work, living in certain locations could really eat up time in your day. If you commute for even 40 minutes a day, each way, you’re spending a lot of time in the car and that time is money. Think about it, that’s 80 minutes a day for 5 days a week – a total of 6.66 hours a week. That’s almost another day of work! Also, there are fuel costs, wear and tear on the car, oil changes and even your tires to consider. This may seem all a little ridiculous to talk about, but it adds up. You could actually be costing yourself over $100,000 in your lifetime by living just 40 minutes from work! That’s a big chunk of change. And you thought you’d save money by moving farther out of town.

If you have the luxury of working from home or don’t work, this will of course not be an issue. But if you’re planning on taking the bus or the LRT, don’t forget that your time is still valuable. You may not be using up gas and tires, but still, you could be spending that time in your lovely home instead of commuting!

The Kids’ Schools

If you have kids, they’re probably going to school. When looking to buy, consider the distance to school from your home. When I was a wee lad I was able to walk to school in 10 minutes and we had no busy streets to cross on the way. This was comforting to my mother because we kids could all walk to school together. There are more elementary schools in Edmonton than Junior Highs and High Schools for a reason – people don’t want their kids travelling long distances when they’re small – kids are enough of a handful already. So if you can, choose a home with schools nearby that you’ll want your children to attend. Make sure the school offers what you want otherwise you’ll be putting your kids on a yellow school bus or driving them every day. If you don’t like the school in your neighbourhood, maybe that’s not the neighbourhood for you? Think about it: kids have friends who come over, birthday parties, sleepovers, school projects – you might be driving over to a different part of town more than twice a day – it could get a little tiresome. Everyone is busy – even kids! so maybe think about being nearer to places they go, too.

What Else Do You Like To Do?

Do you go to a religious assembly? Maybe you run on Edmonton’s excellent river valley trails? Perhaps you play bridge with your friends 3 times a week? Whatever it is, take into consideration your proximity to these places as well. You’re not going to be close to absolutely everything when you buy a home – it’s just not possible these days – but you might find something that allows you to be close to the places you like to go to.

In General

Think about where you go during the week and maybe make a map of where you travel to most.

Think about where you go during the week and maybe make a map of where you travel to most. If your kids go to school on the south side and work is down there, too – and since those are the big ones – maybe it’s time to move across the river if you haven’t already. If you change jobs, maybe you don’t consider that factor and if you work in a different place each day, maybe a central location is best.

Specific Location

So after choosing a general location that takes into account your travelling distances, you have to consider more specific areas within that general location. Every neighbourhood has homes that are more desirable than others. That is, you can have a neighbourhood where some homes are in better locations than other. For example, the map below shows 3 locations for homes in Holyrood, Edmonton:

Specific Location Comparison Holyrood, Edmonton

Specific Location Comparison Holyrood, Edmonton

Perhaps you really like Holyrood and you really want to live there, but where in Holyrood will you live? It’s close to work and has a great school for the kids, but which house would you choose in the neighbourhood? This is what I mean by a specific location. There are some areas that are on busy roads, some that are tucked away in the neighbourhood, and some that are tucked away, and are near a park. All 3 of these specific locations are different and may be desirable to different people.

Traffic

You could just take a less desirable specific location so that you get a more desirable area in general.

Traffic is a big issue when it comes to choosing a location. Not only can it be annoying to have a lot of traffic on your street, but it can be dangerous too. People speed down a busy road by our home all the time and it’s a little unnerving when we go walking the dog or or pull out onto our street. All neighbourhoods have some sort of busy road running around them or through them but not all of them will be disruptive to your life. Plus, maybe some traffic is good. Maybe you want to be able to catch the bus right outside your door. If you’re on a well serviced bus route, that’ll be perfect. And if you own a rental property, being on a busy road can be a great way to be able to still afford the general location you want but at a cheaper price. You could have a house in the right neighbourhood, but not pay top dollar for it. You can often accept a less desirable specific location so that you get a more desirable general location.

Noise

Some locations are noisier than other. Usually being close to main roadways is the biggest issue, but there are other things that contribute as well. For example, living right next to a school might mean you have to deal with a buzzer every school day. If you’re a shift worker, that might really suck. If you’re already up by the time the buzzer sounds, it’s not likely going to bother you. Listen carefully when looking for homes – perhaps there is a train that comes by every hour on the hour and sounds it’s horn; or maybe there is a lake at the back of your property and the geese start honking every morning. There could even be a windmill causing unwanted vibration and noise in your area – it could be anything. You never know what could drive you nuts, so be sure to check the map, and investigate any potential noise issues.

Parks

A lot of people like to live near parks. They’re open, attractive and they make for fewer neighbours. Typically lots that back onto parks are more desirable than houses that are sandwiched on all sides by other homes. Not every house in a neighbourhood can be adjacent to a park, but if you’re into getting the most out of Edmonton’s parkland, maybe this is worth thinking about.

Being Specific

These are just a few of the things that can affect you when it comes to choosing a location for your next home. Be sure to talk over these points and any others that might be important to you and your family before settling on a home. All properties will have benefits and drawbacks, but location  will affect you the most of anything else when it comes to how you live – and it’ll affect you when you go to sell, too.

Where Do You Want To Be?

There is a saying that you have time for three things in the week – your work, your family and your hobby. Now you can shuffle time around a bit, but this is essentially accurate – after all, there’s only 24 hours in a day, right? However you slice it, you’re probably going to be travelling to a few places throughout the week. Maybe you have church on Sundays, or Mosque five times a day. Whatever the case may be, each person is different and each location will suit that person differently that it would another. And being close to things is just one part of the equation. Don’t forget to think about what each location offers you within a general area as well. You might be surprised to find that the locations within that area are so different, too. It’s impossible to have everything you want when you buy a home, but you can certainly be up on what each location offers and what it will mean to you.


by +Alan F Macdonald REALTOR® | Copyright © – gimme-shelter.com

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Alan F Macdonald

Author Alan F Macdonald

Alan F Macdonald is a real estate agent with Maxwell Challenge Realty in Edmonton, Alberta.

More posts by Alan F Macdonald

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