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Three Magic Words: Location, Location, Location

Among real estate industry professionals, "location, location, location" is considered to be the real estate agent's motto. It's a philosophy that all real estate agents live by and you will probably hear it more than a few times during those days, weeks, and months you spend with your agent looking for your new home. What do these three magic words mean to you, the buyer? 

Many agents say that successful buying or selling is linked strongly to the location of the home. While you can change almost anything about a home, you cannot change its location. Just think, you can paint the walls, remodel, put on new siding, add landscaping, add a deck, decorate and repave the driveway, but you can not move the home to a different location. 

While you may find the house of your dreams next to a railroad yard, you will want to rethink purchasing that home. As a future investment, a poor location will severely limit a property's ability to appreciate in value and will hinder your ability to sell your property quickly in the future. If a home has a price that is too good to be true or the house has been on the market for a long time, there is probably a good reason behind it. Sometimes homeowners make dramatic changes to the home to make it more salable, but if its next to the trash dump, the homeowner will likely never see the money that they spent putting in an expensive sauna and remodeling the entire kitchen. In the end, the location alone can make the home extremely difficult to sell. 

What Is A Poor Location?

So what is considered a "poor" location? Defining poor may be a matter of taste in most instances, but to an agent, any number of these could make a home difficult to sell: 

  • Next to a railroad yard or train tracks. 
  • Near a toxic waste or municipal garbage dump. 
  • Next to, or on top of, a highway or expressway. 
  • In the center of a busy nightlife area. 
  • Near a very busy intersection or the busiest street in town. 
  • In a high-crime area. 
  • On a run-down block or deteriorating neighborhood. 
  • Next to a school where fleets of school buses line up twice a day, groups of kids hang out on the corner, and there are constant nightly activities. 
  • In a city, county, or suburb that is having significant budget problems, poor public schools, or a wavering local economy. 
  • Backing up to a different type of housing or public area, such as a single-family home that backs up to an apartment building or a shopping complex. 

Don't be perplexed if the home you find isn't in the very best neighborhood. Many people have turned what might normally be considered a poor location into a positive benefit. If you buy a home in an area that is a little run-down but is surrounded by yuppie housing, you might be able to turn a considerable profit as the neighborhood improves over the years. Also, while an elderly couple might think being near a school would be a poor location, it can allow a family with small children the ability to check on their child without a hassle and guarantees quiet summers.

What Is A Good Location?

So what is considered a good location? Generally one that allows the owner to thoroughly enjoy every aspect of his or her home. Often that means close, but not too close, to shopping centers, restaurants, work, public transportation, good schools, and major traffic arteries. A good location is one you could easily sell to another without having to explain any major "issues." The choice between a gorgeous home in a lousy location and a slightly smaller or less gorgeous home in an excellent location should be an easy choice for the informed buyer.