You can change your house, you can fix it up, you can remodel, you can put on an addition, you can landscape, yadda yadda yadda, but you can't (at least single-handedly) change your neighborhood. When it comes to real estate, you've likely heard the adage a million times "Location. Location. Location."
It's important to know your price range. You should think about the features you want in a home. Consider your preference for granite counters or silestone. Carefully ponder how many bedrooms and baths you need and whether you want a front-loading washing machine.
However, when searching for and purchasing a home in Northern Virginia, there's probably no bigger consideration than which neighborhood you'll ultimately decide to call home. My buyers are always interested in touring around the neighborhood, seeing where stores and restaurants are located, testing out the commute to work, and making sure that the neighborhood appears to be well-maintained. Northern Virginia homebuyers essentially "buy the neighborhood first, and then buy their home." A recent survey of 2,071 adult Americans conducted for NAR in February showed this to be true.
Here's a few graphs and some key data that was determined from this national survey.
Majorities of Americans rank space and privacy as top priorities, but a lengthy commute can sway them to consider smaller houses on smaller lots. A single-family home on a large lot still remains the American Dream.
As you can see, the neighborhood is a much higher consideration for most buyers than the size of the house. More than 7 times as many people think the neighborhood is more important that the size of the home.
- Two thirds of Americans see being within easy walking distance of places in their community as an important factor in deciding where to live.
- Sidewalks and places to take walks ranked third among factors considered very important in deciding where to live.
- Top places that people want within walking distance include grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals and restaurants.
Thus, when looking for your home in Northern Virginia, consider commute times, walkability, and the overall neighborhood.
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