Love Live DC: Buying in 2018 — Step 3: Location

This column is written and sponsored by D.C. real estate agent and Edgewood resident Jessica Evans. Email her questions at  [email protected].

Hello February! It’s so hard to believe that we are already 1 month into this year. If you’re thinking about buying in 2018 you have plenty of time, and this week were moving on to Step #3 in this series. If you missed the first 2 columns, you can find them here:

Step 1: Define your objectives
Step 2: Figure out your financing

After you’ve decided what you want to buy (and why) and how you plan to buy (and how much you want to spend) the next thing to figure out is where. I completely understand if you’re thinking “Do we really need to spend time on this topic? I already know where I want to live.” The answer is, yes. To make an informed decision you should know what your options are in a variety of different locations.

When you think about location for renting, the typical mindset is what can I get for my money where. When you think about location for buying the decision is magnified by the fact that you will be investing money in you and your future life, money that you hope will grow into more, and you will need to consider your future happiness and needs along with your present.

I’m not suggesting that you include the entire DC area in your home search, but I do recommend considering a few different neighborhoods, with different price points and offerings, so that you can compare what you get within your budget in each. Here are a few things that I think are helpful consider when exploring different locations for your home purchase:

  • Appreciation: Looking at past pricing trends and year over year appreciation we can see that there are neighborhoods that have experienced appreciation at rates that are double the average. How important is above average appreciation to you? What sacrifices are you willing to make in order to achieve this goal?
  • Commuting: How do you get to and from work now? How could this change in the future? What length of time are you comfortable spending commuting? Google maps is a great tool that can help with this.
  • Lifestyle: What type of environment makes you happy? Do you need to have certain amenities within close walking distance?
  • Community: What are you looking to find in a community? How important is it to you to have community organizations that you can participate in?
  • Schools: For some buyers this may be your most important location criteria, in some ways that makes narrowing down the options even easier.

Location is so much more than just a point on a map when it comes to where you live and is worth spending time exploring. Having lived in a few very different locations and neighborhoods, I can say first hand that where you choose to live will impact your life in pretty big ways, from the people in your life to your future financial situation, as well as your day to day mindset and view on the world.

At the end of the day, where you end up may be exactly where you started, but at least you will know that it was an intentional choice and that you considered the alternatives.

Looking for help figuring out where you can find what you are looking for? Send me a message and I’d be happy to help — [email protected].

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