Choosing where you live is a huge, immensely significant decision. As I jokingly tell my buyer clients – “it’s no big deal â€¦ you’re just deciding where you’re going to live for the next five to ten years â€¦ “
Last year I asked you what were the most important factors when evaluating where you want to live. I’m finally getting around to publishing the results. (and thank you to all who answered – for answering and for your patience).
While by no means a scientific survey, as the RealCentralVA readership is probably skewed (I’d argue towards the more informed) 86 responses isn’t insignificant.
Not surprisingly, the top two answers to “What’s the most important factor when choosing a neighborhood?” are “Maximum walkability” and “Quietest/safest.” “Other” came in a reasonable third place.
What’s the 2nd most important factor when choosing a neighborhood? Revealed an interesting shift – “safety” and “neighborhood with character” came in 1st and 2nd with “activities for kids” edging out walkability and length of commute. Sadly, there are few “neighborhoods with character” being built in Charlottesville, so new construction buyers are left choosing from either soulless “neighborhoods” or older housing stock that likely needs some degree of renovation and updating, but may have the “proximity to stuff” that matters.
From my perspective, everything is about location (naturally) – but “quality location” can be a relative term.
The “Other” responses were interesting – perhaps more interesting than the choices I offered in the survey itself. Bolding are the words of the respondents. Non-bold are my brief insights
– Price. Housing prices are ridiculous paired with the salaries of many jobs here.
– Strong sense of community/neighbor interactions
– School District
–Surrounding environment (outdoor activities, schools, neighborhood community values) – more and more of my clients are stating explicitly that they want to be in a strong community – they want to be part of something.
– Rules & Regs — lawn mowing; clothes lines; home improvements; etc. – few of my clients want to live in a community with a homeowners’ association, but HOAs are seemingly unavoidable if you choose to live in a neighborhood built in the last 30 years.
– Density (2nd most important) – folks like being in a community
– Multi-income/price points (2nd most important) –
– Different types of homes (2nd most important) – architecturally diverse neighborhoods just aren’t being built right now.