How Do You Decide WHERE to Buy a House?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by HappyDude20, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. HappyDude20 macrumors 68030

    HappyDude20

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    #1
    hello community,

    For about the past year, more than a year actually I felt like I’ve been in a rut jumping from apartment to apartment. I’ve tallied how much on rent and utilities I’ve spent in the past couple of years and for a one bedroom apartment and for the past 3 years it’s just over $38,000.

    Considering I’m not tied down and dont have kids, ive been entertaining links that friends and family have been Sending if available houses in their neck of the woods.

    My folks would love if I moved back to San Francisco but the lowest decent priced 1 bedroom homes (not apartments) are north of $550,000.

    My college roommate who I’m still really close with (though he has a wife and kid now) live in Washington DC and I saw a great 2 bedroom house about 30 miles away from the city center for $330,000.

    My high school best friend lives in NYC and has sent multiple links for studio apartments to own for $400,000+. However admittedly I’ve visited her many times and I don’t think I can live in the city. It’s so hectic and I recall every morning waking up to honking and the bustle.

    For the past 3 years I’ve lived in apartments in Las Vegas, NV and have noticed many homes for sale between $300,000-$500,000 that are decent and about 1,500 sq ft.

    I suppose the reason I ask how you go about choosing is because I feel each location here within the US has unique benefits. The benefits of living in Las Vegas is great and I can get great food any hours of the day, but the homes north of Washington DC are so secluded and quiet and filled with trees.

    Naturally this is where perhaps profession plays a huge factor in deciding all this and as it turns out I travel for work. I’ll visit all these cities and more every few months.
     
  2. velocityg4 macrumors 601

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #2
    Everyone has different priorities. I'd say you need to look at your priorities. Then look at how different areas meet them.

    Activities: Think about what you like to do outside the home. Going to restaurants, the beach, hiking, skiing, &c. Then look at what is available and how far away it is.

    Job: Is there good employment opportunities? Do you care about a specific field? How about wage. Remember when factoring wage for your field to also factor cost of living and commute. You might make more in a profession in LA than Atlanta. Is it so much more to make up for the massively higher real estate costs and commute times?

    Family/Friends: How important is it for you to be near them?

    Politics: Do the politics of that state match well with your beliefs? Does it matter much to you?

    Cost of Living: How much is the real estate? Will it force you to have a long commute to get a place you can afford?

    Space: Do you want a big house or small house? Do you want a lot of land?

    Weather: How important is the weather to you? Do you want to deal with sub-zero temperatures, humidity, dry weather, heat or temperate weather?

    Pests: Different areas are wrought with different pests. You could be constantly battling ants, wasps/hornets, mosquitoes, cockroaches, rats, &c.
     
  3. HappyDude20 thread starter macrumors 68030

    HappyDude20

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    #3
    I can’t put a down payment on a house anytime soon but friends and family keep sharing of awesome unique houses in their areas and I’m thinking it would be cool to have one loooooooooooong term.

    Space is cool. Pets are cool too. I hate traffic. But long term seems to be the ultimate thing.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 21, 2018 ---
    You know what it is also? I’ve been spending too much time on the Zillow InstaGram page.
     
  4. niji, Oct 21, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018

    niji Contributor

    niji

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2003
    Location:
    tokyo
    #4
    there are two paths:

    Path 1: home ownership is considered primarily as a financial investment. Live there for as long as the market is right, and sell it if the market is favorable for a profit.
    A home is a financial instrument.

    Path 2: is totally different from Path 1. Path 2 is to forget about primarily thinking about a home as a financial investment. A home, a place to ground yourself. One for long term.
    People who have a need for roots need to choose this one.

    Both are legitimate paths, but both have completely different guidelines and plans for purchase.

    for the last 100 years Path 2 has never resulted in hardship or mistakes.
    whereas Path 1 is risky.

    i think you have no need for roots.
    and as much as you think you are losing money by renting, that may not be case.
    but, a house does tie you down. it limits job change opportunities and lifestyle changes.
    i think Path 2 is not for you. a person with so many different options for where to live ipso facto means s/he will not benefit from rooting in any one place and will feel tied down eventually.
     
  5. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020

    A.Goldberg

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    I’ve lived in Boston for about 11 years now- technically I’m in the MetroWest area but it’s basically Boston considering it has local MBTA train/trolley service. We’re about 12 minutes to Fenway and 20 to Copley via Green Line- about 3 miles from the Prudential Building. Living slightly on the outskirts, there isn’t quite as much traffic making my commute easier. It’s also a bit quieter.

    My girlfriend and I rented an apartment for several years. She’s graduated Med school now and is in her residency- she was matched in Boston. So considering I have a career here and she’s in residency and Boston is a great place for healthcare (I also work in healthcare)... it’s a good spot to be for us. It’s also a fun city with lots to do.

    We recently purchased an condo in a brownstone here. It’s pretty expensive here but it’s just not worth paying rent and having that money go nowhere in terms of future investment.
     
  6. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #6
    Excellent post with much good advice which the OP would do well to ponder.

    Also a very good post, well worth thinking about.
     
  7. tromboneaholic Suspended

    tromboneaholic

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Clearwater, FL
    #7
    Apple Store within 30 minute drive.
     
  8. Gutwrench Contributor

    Gutwrench

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #8
    School district
    Reasonable proximity to work
    Quiet neighborhood
    Convenience to freeway and shopping
    Parks and recreation
    Potentional neighbors

    Ps - sorry I just realized you’re struggling over the city and part of the U.S.
     
  9. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #9
    @velocityg4 gave the best response thus far and it that the OP needs to work out in his own head what matters to him most and how he can find a way to making that happen.

    In an ideal world, what would a house he likes have? What features does he value, need and want in, or near, a house?
     
  10. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #10
    When my job moved me from one end of the country to the other, we researched stuff like the following before deciding on an area;

    Local schools (my daughter was coming up one).
    Commute to work.
    Things my wife (who at the time didn't drive), could get to whilst I was at work all day.
    Local crime rate.
    Affordability.

    Then you narrow it down to the type of property you want and the like.
    I only wanted a detached property. Garage and off road parking were also high on my list.
    A garden for the little one to play in.
    3 bedrooms.
    Separate lounge and dinning room.
     
  11. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #11
    Some even decide based on their internet connection requirements.
     
  12. jbarley macrumors 68040

    jbarley

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #12
    It appears I'd qualify for your "Path 2"...
    purchased our modest home in 1965 for $8900, note the 2 zeros.
    still living in it 53 years later with no plans to move
    today according to my tax appraisal it's valued at approx $200,000 which my kids can fight over after I'm gone, which won't be too much longer.:(
     
  13. daimos macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    #13
    There’s also mortgage interest that is deductible come tax time for US. Some analysts think this is the reason people keep buying houses out of their reach. On the other hand, matching stock options is a good free money if you have any extra.
     
  14. Lioness~, Oct 22, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018

    Lioness~ macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    #14
    The reason where I've located myself has varied during life.

    I bought my 1st condo at the age of 15 :)
    Houses have never been of interest, at least not his far. I'm a city girl.

    The location at the time where chosen from how close it was to where my soccer/football team was located.
    After that, I've bought condos where I felt I would stay some time. Rented when that was unclear or short time.

    The reason of location have varied from where my partner worked or was located, where my studies/work/growing path could benefit from it, etc.
    Will see what next location(s) will be. It still depends on pretty much the same things.
    It's more where my heart is then investments for me. But things usually turns out well when heart's comes 1st ;)
     
  15. JamesMike macrumors demi-god

    JamesMike

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2014
    Location:
    Oregon
  16. Mac'nCheese Suspended

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #16
    You said you travel for work. Think about the best location for you to be in if you leave this job and need to find a new one.
     
  17. RootBeerMan macrumors 65816

    RootBeerMan

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2016
    #17
    You might want to give some serious thought to flyover country. I live in the Indianapolis area and it's a great area to be in. Lot's of jobs, lots of affordable housing. A great airport, since you travel for work. Low taxes. And the towns around Indy (mostly to the north where I live) are consistently rated as some of the best places to live in the US. No matter where you go,though I suggest diving into Realtor.com for info. They have comprehensive listings of everything from property values to schools and crime. Virtually everything you'd like to know about any area will be at your fingertips.
     
  18. Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #18
    Your profession may dictate this somewhat, but once you have decided on a city or geographic area, the realtors will tell you location, location, location. :) No power plant in the back yard. My son wanted to buy one of those. We talked him out of it. Stay out of flood plains. Close to downtown, plan on spending more. How far are you willing to commute? How big a city do you want to live in? I loved Minneapolis (about 2 Million when I lived there including the suburbs), but I detest Houston (6 million) because, just too many people for my tastes. I consider 1-2M the ideal size for cities, so they will have cultural events like a ball team, or a symphony. I love the East Coast where I grew up, but DC and Northern Virginia have become paradise lost because of development. New York and Boston, gridlock.

    If you choose a little ways out, for the peace and quite, don't be surprised if its gets crowded quickly again because of development. Most places close to cities are not stagnate, they are in a constant state of development, so everything changes, usually for the worst when it comes to congestion. There is no way, I'd ever consider living in Vegas, personal preference. Way too hot, and the housing market tanked when the housing bubble popped. I've always thought there was something unnatural about volunteering to live in the desert. ;)
     
  19. TonyC28 macrumors 65816

    TonyC28

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #19
    As far as Path 2 goes, people are starting to look at a house as an investment less and less. And I say that's a good thing. My advice would be to think of it as a purchase with no expectation of any increase in value. And one that will cost you money to possess due to taxes and interest. I bought my first home a couple years ago after renting before that. I'm feeling some regret these days.
     
  20. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #20
    I think that kind of depends on where you live. We doubled our money on our first property almost in three years. You just have to be lucky to buy and sell at the right time.
     
  21. TonyC28 macrumors 65816

    TonyC28

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #21
    I know it's not really the point of this thread so I don't mean to get too far out in the weeds on this one, but just curious, when you say you doubled your money do you account for money you paid in taxes and interest? I live in Illinois and since it definitely does depend on where you live I may just be a touch cynical.
     
  22. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #22
    Yes pretty much. This was in London and prices were going up daily. I’m not sure what you mean by taxes and interest. The interest on the mortgage? Well the mortgage was less than I was paying in rent, so to me that was money saved either way.
     
  23. niji Contributor

    niji

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2003
    Location:
    tokyo
    #23
    hi
    we are thinking alike, it seems.
    the "buying a house as an investment" thing really needs to be seen for what it is: as an investment thing.
    whereas buying a home because you want a place that is yours for as long as possible, mainly to provide a foundation for yourself or a family, then what you look for is different.
    and, as well, renting (in most markets) is an approach that provides total flexibility (at somewhat of a cost) but it preserves options. in renting, you need to couple it with an aggressive approach to stashing away savings in place of the equity you would have been building if you purchased a home.
    in uncertain times, options that provide long term flexibility can be the best way.
     
  24. shinji macrumors 65816

    shinji

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    #24
    I'm sure you have property taxes in the UK? The amount you pay is based on your home's value, and it goes to fund the local community, i.e. schools, police, etc. It can be quite high in some parts of the US.
     
  25. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #25
    Council tax we call that. You pay it regardless of whether you own or rent, so that’s not a consideration really. You have to pay regardless.
     

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31 October 21, 2018