What’s More Important: The Size of a Home or Its Location?

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What’s More Important: The Size of a Home or Its Location?

When it comes to purchasing a home, what’s more important: the size or the location? While both are crucial factors, the one that’s most important to you will depend on your specific needs. Realtors will be the first to tell you that it’s all about the “location, location, location.” However, empty nesters looking to downsize and growing families looking to upsize may need to sacrifice the “perfect” location for more square footage in order to get everything they need. If you’re struggling with the size vs. location of a home, take a look at our guide to solving this age-old dilemma below.

The size of a home is more important if…

  1. You plan to start or grow a family
    Planning to start or expand your family? It may be better to direct your housing search towards finding a larger home. In many cities, this may mean moving out to the ‘burbs where families can often get more bang for their buck. While the location might not be ideal in terms of work commute and access to city amenities, it may be the best place for young couples looking to start a family.
  2. You already have a large family
    Need more bedrooms and living space for an already large family? If you’re ready to graduate from your starter home into something more spacious (and practical!), then strongly consider sacrificing location for size. In addition, a larger home may mean more outdoor yard space for your pets and kids to enjoy.
  3. You need more space for house guests
    Does your home already have a merry-go-round of visitors and guests? Then you may need to consider moving to a larger place. Whether its in-laws popping by, friends visiting or family crashing on your couch, having a larger home with more bedrooms and/or a guest home will significantly improve your quality of life.
  4. You’re downsizing
    Sometimes you just need a smaller home. Whether its for retirement or for the sake of simplicity, there are many reasons why moving to a smaller home makes sense. If you’re moving away from a familiar neighborhood filled with friends to an area with smaller homes or apartments, it may seem like a bit of a sacrifice. However, you’ll likely save on utilities (and housekeeping bills!) when moving to a smaller home.
  5. You travel a lot for work and don’t need a large home
    Traveling a lot? You may need to focus your house search on smaller homes (think: a small pied-a-terre or landing pad for when you’re in town). If you find that you aren’t using half the bedrooms or space available in your existing home, then purchasing or renting a smaller abode makes sense. In addition, given that you’re rarely home, the location of your house likely won’t matter as much. 

The location of a home is more important if…

  1. You plan to rent out your house
    Whether you’re planning to rent out your house to tenants or to short-term Airbnb visitors, the geographic location of your income property is extremely important. Not only does it affect your rental’s supply and demand and overall desirability (think: tourists want to stay in an ideal location and renters want to live in a great spot), but it also determines how profitable the rental will be.
  2. You have school-age children
    Moving with school-age children? Then you’ll need to consider how good the schools are in the area. If highly rated public or private schools are high on your list of priorities, make sure to let your Realtor know before beginning the house hunting process. You can also check com for GreatSchools ratings of nearby schools.
  3. You plan to eventually sell your home
    Unless you’re planning to make this your forever home, you’ll need to consider the resale value of the property when house hunting. When it comes to resale value, the location is one of the most important (if not the most important) factors in determining a home’s long-term appreciation potential. So if you’re hoping to sell your home in a few years, then location should be a strong consideration.
  4. You want a more ideal work commute
    Work in a busy city? You may want to opt for a better location closer to work over a large home out in the ‘burbs. While a city apartment will likely be smaller and more expensive than a home in the suburbs, a short work commute could make it worth the sacrifice. Study after study has shown that those with a shorter commute enjoy more free time and less stress.
  5. You need access to certain amenities
    Whether it’s public transportation or coffee shops, everyday amenities are an important consideration when moving to a new home. From grocery stores and restaurants to shopping and parks, those in need of certain amenities should place a heavy emphasis on the location of their home instead of on the size.

What else to consider when purchasing a home?

  • The housing market – Is it a good time to buy? Make sure to do your homework on the area’s housing market before taking the plunge.
  • The neighborhood and neighbors – The last thing you want are disruptive, inconsiderate neighbors. So spend time in the neighborhood before deciding on a location.
  • The age and condition of the house – Age and condition are important factors to consider prior to buying a home. If you decide to buy an older home be prepared for the typical quirks (some might even say “charms”) that come with vintage houses.
  • The price (and your budget!) – Obviously, your budget is one of the most important factors to consider before house hunting. Make sure to look at neighborhoods with homes for sale in your price range. Whatever you do, don’t waste your time and energy looking at homes outside your budget.
  • The crime rates in the area– Be sure to check out the crime rates in an area before buying a property. Not only can crime rates affect your home’s resale value, but they can also affect your overall safety.
  • The insurance rates – Looking at a home close to the beach? Be sure to check property insurance rates prior to purchasing a house. The home’s construction materials may also affect your insurance rates.

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