Don’t overlook the importance of how the location of your dream home affects your life

I read an article in the Star Tribune on Sunday about a super cool house that the seller loved and didn’t want to leave, but the location just wasn’t well suited to where they need to live. It was a 20-minute drive from her children’s school, and although she just bought it last year (because of the coolness factor) she had to sell.

Over the years I have had multiple clients who found a ‘dream’ house they absolutely loved… but didn’t buy it because the location didn’t fit their lives. However, it helped them clarify their priorities so they could truly focus on locations that fit their lives and ignore everything that didn’t fit regardless of how cool they were.

When where you live fits your life you may not even be aware of it because it is such an integral part of who you are. When it doesn’t fit, however, it can have a profound effect on you and your whole sense of well-being, impacting both your physical and mental health and how you relate to the world around you. What it is that makes your place fit you is different for everyone, but usually involves different senses…it could be the smell of fresh baking bread or salty ocean air…the feel of the wind in your face or the sun warming your body…the sounds of birds singing or the buzz of the city. It is likely more than just proximity… whatever it is, it is what speaks to you.

To define how a location fits your life, think of what your lives look like over the course of a day, a week, a month, a year. Think about travel patterns to work and school… and perhaps even more important… what you do outside those hours. Where do you go and what do you do on a regular basis? Sports, music, school activities, theater, church, gym, dog parks, biking/hiking trails, golf courses, parks, family, etc… where do you spend your time?

You can now easily search by travel time to various locations at different times of the day. Where you live can make your life easier or harder and is an important factor in finding the right location for you.

Is it important how close you are to things such as…

  • public transportation/highways/airport
  • schools/libraries
  • medical facilities
  • coffee shops/restaurants
  • shopping
  • church
  • friends/family
  • work
  • recreation – parks, trails, workout centers, etc
  • rivers, lakes, streams

Are there specific neighborhoods you prefer? Why? What are you looking for in a neighborhood?

What is important to you in your home setting? Why?

Do you want to be in or near specific school systems? Why? Would you consider others? Open enrollment?

What architectural style home do you prefer? Is style a deal breaker?

What is most important to you? Is it style of house, school district, drive times, other?

It can be dizzying when many factors are important. Prioritizing Your Priorities can help you identify what is truly the most important to you.

Most life decisions require some compromise, whether buying or selling a home, deciding where you want to live or work, or making other major life-changing decisions. It’s usually not too hard to come up with a list of pros and cons for two choices but when you have many priorities you are trying to juggle you can be left in a muddle trying to figure out what is really most important to you.

Here is a link to a tool to instantly download that can help you ‘prioritize your priorities‘.  (click for a pdf to print)

First, come up with a list of ten things that are the most important to you in making the decision. If you are buying a home, it could include things like 15 minutes or less to school, updated kitchen, master bath, fenced yard, walkable neighborhood, room for a king size bed, hardwood floors, close to transit, trails, etc.

Enter your 10 priorities onto the list. Then compare #1 to #2 and circle the one that is most important to you…compare #1 to #3 and circle, etc until you have a number circled for each pair in the voting grid.

Tally the number of votes for each numbered priority… the one with the most votes will be #1 on your prioritized priority list. You may be surprised to learn that some items on your first list don’t get any votes at all!

(If the coolness factor or a specific architectural style ends up your top priority, you may be able to make concessions for a less favorable location… but be sure to mentally ‘live’ through at least a week at that location… you may be surprised by how important location still is to your lifestyle.)

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results – shensrud@homesmsp.com

Written By

I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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