It seems like an eternity ago that I bought my house, but in actuality it was only a few years back. Since that fateful day at my closing I’ve seen siblings, cousins and friends all go through the same process that I did: looking for the area that best fit their needs. For me it was a relatively easy process. Being in close proximity to my family was the most important thing, so that narrowed it down to a handful of areas. Since my parents still live in the town I grew up in, it was a relatively easy evaluation process because I was very familiar with the surrounding areas. Once I had narrowed down my search, strong schools became next on my list, because I wanted my future kids to be able to attend public school and get a good education. In the end I bought a house right back in the very town I grew up because I knew exactly what I was going to be getting in terms of environment.
Not everybody is a homebody like me though. Some people want to branch out and see what else is out there in the world. I personally don’t envy people that try to do this without help. Buying a home is a HUGE decision, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. With so much at stake, it seems as though the more information you have at your disposal, the better. The concept of “lifestyle” is bandied about by people in the Real Estate industry without a real clear notion of what it means. Just for kicks I Googled the term “Lifestyle” and one of the first hits came from Wikipedia. Its definition:
In sociology, a lifestyle is the way a person lives.
So let’s go with that as our basic definition. How does a person live? Do they live for their family? Do they live for entertainment? Do they live for their job? These are all valid questions and definitely things to be taken into consideration when deciding where that next big move is to. Unfortunately, there’s no super computer out there that can scan your brain and tell you exactly where it is you should buy a house. However, we’re making the decision process easier on the consumer by narrowing down the search based on key criteria that they find relevant to how they live their life.
Just think about how much less daunting of a task it is moving far from where you are now if you are armed with a list of areas that fit your life needs as a home buyer as opposed to starting from scratch. I’m talking real life needs too…not just general information about an area. I love Colonel Sanders as much as the next guy, and when I think of the 11 herbs and spices on a KFC drumstick I get a little choked up. However, I’d never buy a house BECAUSE it was located close to a KFC. Eating the Colonel’s chicken isn’t usually a lifestyle choice; it’s an impulse because you’re hungry. I think the same can be said about letting any kind of local establishment drive a purchase decision. Are you going to buy a home because it’s near your bank or are you going to buy a home in an area that’s right for you and just switch banks if need be?
In the end I think it all boils down to priorities. If your priority is to live near a McDonalds, Citibank or Best Buy then we can agree to disagree over what choosing where to live based on lifestyle really means. However if evaluating the quality of what’s there and finding people with shared interests to go along with local amenities in an area ring truer with you, then you’re reading the right blog.
Image Credit: Wikipedia