Location. Location. Location.

Everyone knows that in real estate location wins. We’ve all heard the phrase “location, location, location” at least a million times — nonetheless, does anyone actually know what that means? What makes for a good area? What makes for a bad one? Below we breakdown everything you need to know when assessing a property’s promise to hold value.

Tips to spot a favorable location

  • The home is in a coveted school district. Even if you’re not planning on raising a family in the home, the future owner might be. Great Schools offers a quick and easy way to search school ratings by zip code.

  • The city or town has a strong economic outlook. Is the community’s population expanding? Are companies moving offices to the area? Are new businesses opening? Is the median household income growing?

  • The area is in walkable distance to restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, parks and more. A Walk Score is a real metric that measures and reports on this.

  • There is a relative ease of commute. Convenient access to major roadways? Proximity to public transit? Presence of bike lanes? Remember this will vary by city, depending on how people like to get around.

  • Zoning is in place to protect residential properties. What are the rules and regulations governing the area? Who can amend them?

Red flags of a not so good location

  • The city offers room for development. In contrast, consider a place like New York City — where there is a limited amount of space for new construction. This limiting factor keeps property values high.

  • The home is within close proximity to commercial buildings. Think airports, office space, pharmacies, and so on. Having these amenities in walking distance is fine, but next to or in view of the property — not so great.

  • The street has road issues. Is the property on a street that is a major cut through? Are the streets often used as parking for beach access or other attractions?

  • The neighborhood has a high crime rate. Use ADT’s illustrative map to understand a neighborhood’s relative crime rate. Or check out Spot Crime for a more detailed report on the types of criminal activities per location.

Ignore the bells and whistles

It’s easy to be swayed by a property’s “bells and whistles” — high ceilings, a modern look, new appliances, and so on. Please do not fall into this trap! We beg of you. Remember, time and time again, homes in the best locations outperform. When house hunting, always prioritize location over luxuries.

Find a trustworthy local agent

Still confused? Don’t know how to identify a “good” location in your city? It’s always best to find a trusted advisor — friend, family member, or realtor — who knows the area really well. This is even more important if you are new to the area. In this situation, you may even consider a short-term rental, giving you plenty of time to learn which areas you like most.