Even if you’re not thinking of moving right away, it’s always fun to look at places where you would rather live. But it’s not so simple as just finding your dream house,
especially if you have kids. We’ll look at some more in-depth issues with choosing your next home.
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Registered sex offenders are required to make it public knowledge where they live. This means you can use the database to check your area for convicted sex offenders prior to moving. It’s disturbing to see how many there are, but this isn’t a case where ignorance is bliss. You can also see what crimes they were convicted of. If you have small children, this makes it easier to specifically avoid those types of predators.
You can also check for crimes in your new neighborhood, and what houses they are reported at. You might look at a house that’s practically perfect in every way, only to check the crime reports and see 15 disturbances called in at the house two doors down.
I hate commuting. So if I have to sacrifice, I’d rather have a smaller house much closer to where I need to go every day than the perfect house. This varies a lot per person, though. Some homeowners prefer to live an hour away if they can own a house that’s 50% bigger.
I understand the appeal of a bigger house, but spending 7 extra hours a week commuting, away from my home and family, is not something I can live with. The closer your house is to stores, schools, restaurants, etc, the less time you’ll probably spend at home. A consequence of living farther out from your destinations is: there isn’t really anywhere to go.
With the advent of Amazon Prime and Walmart’s recent switch to two-day shipping for many orders, the necessity for local stores is changing. This means you can live without easy access to a lot of stores and not have nearly as much inconvenience as five years ago. I like having access to all the local stores, but in reality, I still shop more online than in person.
But there is no online substitute for nearby hospitals, restaurants, schools, zoos, clubs, or other activities for your children.
In my opinion, being close to everything still wins out over a better, more out-of-the-way home.
If you’re moving to a new city or even a new state, how do you pick what town to live in? Moving across state lines is difficult because you often don’t know the area well enough to make a well-informed decision about whether Greatville is truly better than Best Town.
But the internet is here for you! This website will give you more information than you knew you could want about your new town. The range of information is startling and extremely fun to compare, with everything from what percentage of the population is married to how many days are cloudy. No, I’m not kidding! It’s that detailed.
Check the nearby highways. Cars are a major source of pollution and the effects of a highway several hundred feet from your home should be considered for more than the possible noise. Though it’s not often mentioned, living closer to a major roadway can seriously affect your health. Scientists have found a living near a highway increases all kinds of health risks.
From the American Lung Association, being close to a highway raised the risk of: “the onset of childhood asthma, impaired lung function, premature death and death from cardiovascular diseases, and cardiovascular morbidity. The area most affected, they concluded, was roughly 0.2 to 0.3 miles (300 to 500 meters) from the highway.”
As always, unfortunately, children are the most at risk for damage from this type of pollution. But adults showed more risk of all these diseases and more, including dementia.
This is not something people tell you to look out for when buying a house, and I’m not sure why. The science is pretty conclusive.
Get your home inspected before you buy. Put it in the contract that it has to pass inspection by the inspector you select. In addition to structural, electrical or plumbing issues, it’s important to have your house checked for health hazards like mold. Even if you don’t have allergies, it’s possible to develop them, especially when continuously exposed to the allergen.
Check the nearby airports. Sometimes houses are cheaper because they’re directly in the flight path of planes as they land and take off. This can be pretty noisy. Definitely make sure you know beforehand if you’ll be experiencing flybys every couple hours of the day.
Check out what you would be able to rent, even if your heart is set on buying. It’s always interesting to see what you could rent for the same amount of money per month.
If you’re not planning on staying for long, or you’re concerned that in a few years you might owe more than your house is worth, for example, renting could be a better option. Moving is a huge pain, and there’s a big appeal to owning your own home. Generally speaking, the longer you’ll be in a house, the better it is to own.
But things like not having to worry about maintenance, decreasing home value, and being able to upgrade to a better house without having to sell your current one could decrease your stress significantly.
Plus, you can usually rent a better quality home for the same monthly cost, unless you put down a large down payment. But it’s a very complicated equation. Fortunately, there’s a calculator for it! Just put in things like your down payment, total cost, years you expect to live in the house, and so on, and see what it recommends.