Where Should I Live??

Kevin McDonald
Published on June 26, 2017

Where Should I Live??

Where Should I Live?…

You will not get everything you want.  At least that’s for 99% of the population.   You have to understand that the benefits of homeownership, with the tax advantages and home appreciation, should far outweigh what sacrifice you will make. Buying a house is a process of elimination! This is the fun part! I created a little exercise I call, “Where Should You Live Quiz”. I have to warn you that nobody gets everything they want in their home regardless of their price point (maybe a few, but not EVERYONE).  This is usually when the couple gets in their first argument or when a single bachelor realizes that he’s finally growing up.

Buying a house is a great accomplishment and experience, but I would be lying to you if I told you that most people get everything on their wish list. Let’s start your home search!

Sacrifice-Where Should You Live Quiz

I’ve been doing this a long time and never seen someone get everything on their wish list regardless of a buyer’s price point. I don’t care if you had millions of dollars to your name and were buying in cash.  I would put my money on it that you would be making a sacrifice in some way, shape, or form on at least one thing.  You might get the kitchen you want, but you might end up in a different school district. You might spend $50,000 less than you intended on spending, but your commute to work may be 20 minutes instead of 10 minutes. You can divide this up in so many examples, but I think you get the point.   The best way to determine what you can do with or without will require you to think a little bit more in depth about what’s a need vs. what is a want.   Here are the key points to think about when deciding what your buying criteria is.  There is no right or wrong answer on any of this.  Use these points as a worksheet to think things over. These points will help you successfully take the where should you live quiz. This is the beginning of your home search! 

The Buyer’s Triangle-Where Should You Live Quiz

1.)   Price – The most important part of the  “Where should you live quiz” is determining a price point.  Price is always a factor because most of us have to live by some kind of budget.  This is the first place you start your Los Angeles real estate search. My best advice to you is to reverse engineer your price. You want to start with you total monthly budget you feel comfortable allocating towards your housing expense.  Once you have that number you should be able to back into a loan amount that is within line with your desired monthly mortgage payment.  Your real estate agent can start sending you some listings to give you an idea of what you get for the money in certain neighborhoods.  Your agent should be able to immediately point out what is realistic or not in your desired area(s).  Once you are comfortable with your price point, deciding on your location and amenities/property attributes will follow.  I would start by exploring what you get for the money in certain areas. Remember that real estate pricing is relevant to what you get. It’s more important that you are comfortable with the monthly expenses associated with your home purchase than you are with the gross sales price.  If you are buying a condo, you have to take into consideration the monthly homeowner association dues that are payable as well.  They add to your total monthly housing expenses so make sure you take all monthly expenses into consideration. The annual real estate taxes for your future property will also vary from certain cities and counties.

2.)   Location – You narrowed down a price point so it’s part II for the “Where Should You Live Quiz”.Once you get a generalization on your pricing,  you need to narrow down the location you desire.  You want to see what’s most important for you regarding location.  Some good examples for deciding factors are the following: school districts, location to public transportation, location to local shops or possibly freeway access. Some things you may consider are if you drive to work you may want to check out what the commute is like and draw a desired radius that is reasonable for you.  Do you want to be closer to a certain school or belong to a specific school district? Your search may be based on certain school districts in areas you can afford.  As you know by now, real estate pricing will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.  Once you you have your monthly budget figured out you can now see what you get for the money in certain neighborhoods. You will start to see that by starting at your monthly budget you are now able to narrow down the areas you can afford to come to a conclusion on what’s affordable in your price range considering all costs involved. This should be discussed with your agent up front at the first meeting. When buying a house in Los Angeles, it’s important to drive around and get a good feel of areas before starting your real estate search.


3.)   Amenities – The final step in the “Where Should You Live Quiz” is separating your wants vs. needs. This is where you list your wants and needs regarding the property itself.  You need to see what you can do with or without.  I suggest making a laundry list of things wanted and things needed.  There is always a sacrifice and it usually comes in this area.  It’s important to know what you can do without before getting started on your home search. Are you looking for a house that is in true move in condition?  How about the bathrooms?  Are they upgraded or do they look like they are from the 80’s? Does the property need new hardwood floors throughout or will carpet suit you fine?  How about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms needed?  This is the hardest part of the quiz.  Sometimes you just walk into a house and know that it’s the one you been waiting for.  Don’t be surprised if you end up buying something completely opposite of what you originally said you wanted.  This list will change as you realize what’s most important to you.  As you go through the process of buying a house, what you want may change a bit.


Where Should You Live Quiz In Conclusion

Buying a house is a process of elimination.  Sometimes you may find it right away and other times it could take a while.Real estate is always about timing.  You will know the house to buy when you see it and it’s never planned.  The best advice I can give is to decide as quick as possible what things you can or cannot sacrifice. Have fun with this and don’t turn this into a fight with your significant other.  Buying a house is a fun and exciting time in your life.  Just remember that the benefits of homeownership far outweigh the color of the countertop in the master bathroom(that can be changed).  The fact that you are in a position to buy a house should have you appreciative than those less fortunate.  Be grateful!


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