How to decide where to live
Ask these 11 questions before buying in a new community
Where you choose to buy a home is as important as the home you choose to buy! When you are thinking of buying a house in a new community, ask yourself these questions.
Are there affordable homes for sale?
A good first step is to decide if there are affordable homes in the community where you want to live. Be sure to look at the real estate taxes as well as home prices, since the cost of property taxes can have a big impact on your total monthly housing expenses. Also consider the kinds of houses you can afford in the place you want to buy. Single-family homes are often more expensive than townhouses or condos.
What is the cost of living?
The cost of living in a community includes much more than just housing expenses. The costs of food, clothing, utilities, gas and transportation, health care, child care, state taxes, and local taxes are all important to consider too. You can research these costs online. Check out this calculator from the Economic Policy Institute.
Do you want a city, town, suburb, or countryside?
Some people love the energy of a big city. Others love the quiet of the countryside. Think about the size of community you like best and look for those places.
How is the job market?
When employment opportunities are important to you, research the kinds and numbers of jobs available as well as what they pay in the community where you want to live. Look at how far you may have to commute and how much it might cost you. Having a profession that allows you to work from home can give you more choices!
How are the schools?
When the local schools are important to you, visit department of education websites to see the school district’s report cards. You can visit local schools or talk to parents in the community. You may want to look at the availability of day-care centers and after-school programs as well.
How safe is the community?
Crime rates differ from place to place, and they can be different from neighborhood to neighborhood within a community too. Research local crime statistics and decide where you’ll feel safe living.
Are there activities and organizations you enjoy?
Do you like great restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and culture? Do you enjoy access to beaches, lakes, forests, or mountains? Do you want to find faith communities that follow your beliefs? Think about what’s important to you and look for places to live that have them. If you are moving away from family and friends, a place with many activities and organizations can help you meet new people.
How is the medical care?
You’ll want good hospitals and health care providers to handle needs you may have. Look at your current health insurance and find out if you have good coverage where you want to live. Many health plans are based around regional networks of doctors and hospitals. If you have a specific health issue, you may want to reach out to your current practitioner to get recommendations for continuing your care.
How is the local transportation network?
Is the community walkable or do you need a car to get everywhere? How is the local network of trains, buses, bike lanes, and more? Consider all the ways you can get around the community.
How close are highway, rail stations, and airports?
If you like to travel or visit friends and friends around the country, living close to highways and major transportation hubs makes these activities easier and less expensive.
How is the weather? Is the climate changing?
Do you like having four seasons or do you want beach weather all year around? Do you hate being cold or can’t stand being hot? The kind of weather you like best can be a big factor when you are deciding where to live.
It’s also a good idea to think about how the climate may be changing where you want to buy a home. The risks of flooding, drought, heat, storms, and fire are changing in many parts of the country. These changes can make it more difficult or expensive to get insurance coverage on your home as well.
Last reviewed and updated December 2022 by Freedom Mortgage Corporation.