Location, Location, Location?
Everyone knows the three tenets of real estate – location, location, location. But does everyone know what that really means? Let’s face it, not everyone can live in the same place. At the same time, I would say that most people are fairly happy where they live. So, why are so many different locations perfect for so many people?
Let’s take a look at those elements that really make up the location discussion. First and foremost, location means determining what elements of life make you the happiest. Sounds simple right? Just park me next to the ATM with an unlimited cash withdrawal account and I’m just fine. Unfortunately, reality is quite different. Different people prioritize their lives very differently from each other. I boil the main location components down into the following elements: transportation, shopping, schools and recreation. Now, everyone can think of other categories, or sub-categories that they feel should be their own categories. However, at the end of the day, we are all either working, playing, shopping and eating or sleeping. If we find housing that addresses these issues, we are usually doing ok.
Transportation can take many forms. Most people will gravitate towards thinking of their drive time to work. But how about those that like the convenience of public transportation. Or those that walk to work. What about those that travel constantly and prefer to be close to the airport or train station. I haven’t even touched upon those that like public trail systems and bike lanes to bike to work. Finally, what about those that don’t work and are just concerned about local traffic patterns.
Who can forget about shops and restaurants. We all like the finer things, don’t we? To stroll around a nice indoor or outdoor mall, grab a latte with friends at the corner Starbucks, stop by a nice pub for a pint after work, hit the midnight showing of the latest chick flick release (okay, gratuitous family plug to my wife and two daughters). Others prioritize proximity to a local grocer or medical facilities. But what about those that shop online or hate areas filled with shopping congestion. They may not care about shopping convenience.
Then there are the all important school systems. There are a tremendous amount of people that refuse to live anywhere that does not have a top rated public school system. Other people won’t live anywhere that their kids cannot walk to school. Still others will choose a system by the size of its classrooms or size of total student body. There are also those that gravitate towards schools with rich athletic traditions and there are families that could not care less what the local schools are like. Their kids go to private schools. Let’s also not forget the active adult segment of the market where schools are a complete non-factor unless the school location causes traffic delays to their daily routine – see Transportation.
Finally, we cannot forget about recreation. For some, this means access to large, open green spaces and parks. Or, even just a large lot with lots of trees and lawn area. For others, it is access to water for boating or golf courses for personal torture. In some cases recreation and shopping get blurred for those that want to be able to walk to shop and consider it a sport.
Now, once all these items have been sorted through, thought through, hashed about, looked at every which way and then looked at again, they are all then reviewed for a final time through the lens of the great equalizer – price. Sometimes a price compromise will manifest itself in having to settle for a smaller home. For others, price will force a choice among the lifestyle options. Commute over schools. Recreation over shopping convenience. Many times it is just driving until you find an exit you can afford.
In any event, location, location, location, as with beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. It is a lifestyle pot roast filled with all the things that are uniquely special to who you are and what you do. Like snowflakes, no two people’s decision processes are ever the same.
Till next time.
Keep kicking the dirt.