Southern Suburbs Top List of Best Places to Buy a Forever Home
Posted By Courtney Price Davis on February 7, 2017 at 9:47 am
There’s a picturesque town in southeastern Texas outside of Houston, the kind of place where almost anyone would love to live. It was planned that way – as an ideal place to draw people away from city life to the suburbs – by oil industry investor George Mitchell and dedicated in 1974. Even its name, The Woodlands, sounds enticing.
The schools there are top-notch. The home values are on the rise. Its population grew 23% from 2010 to 2015. And the crime rate is second-lowest in the country.
It’s exactly the sort of place you’d want to buy if you were in search of a place to settle down for good.
That’s likely why it was the No. 1 city on the GoodCall® list of Best Places to Buy A Forever Home.
The list was compiled by analysts who crunched data from more than 500 cities nationwide. Six of the top 10 were in Texas.
The 10 best places to buy a forever home were:
- The Woodlands, Texas
- Centennial, Colo.
- Frisco, Texas
- Allen, Texas
- Richardson, Texas
- Edmond, Okla.
- Flower Mound, Texas
- Sugar Land, Texas
- Mountain View, Calif.
- Fargo, N.D.
Most important factors in choosing a forever home
Ask any Realtor what they consider the most important aspect to consider when buying a forever home, and you’ll likely hear the same answer: location.
According to the data from the GoodCall® list, the best places to settle down tend to be in suburbs in the South and Southwest. Those areas are typically affordable and have strong growth, low unemployment, and a well-educated populace.
But location isn’t everything. GoodCall® reached out to some real estate professionals to gauge what other factors homebuyers should consider when looking for a home.
Denise Supplee, director of operations for SparkRental.com, says to look for a home with expandable space. “Besides keeping within your budget, be mindful of location – make sure that the house will ‘grow’ through as many circumstances you can imagine. Check with local zoning to see if a second floor may be added later or a kitchen can be made bigger. A bit of planning now, can save a move later,” she says.
Steve Shwetz, managing broker at Mesa Property Management, agrees that it’s about thinking about the future, rather than just the current wants and needs. For example, living in the country might seem like your ideal life for a 40-year-old, but in old age when medical care becomes a principal concern, a home that’s miles from the nearest hospital won’t be as practical.
“When buying a two-story home, having the master bedroom on the first floor can be the difference between your home being temporary or permanent,” he says. “Maybe you are relieved your kids have finally moved on and moved out, but someday having them close by and able to help you out occasionally if needed could be the difference between staying in your own home or ending up in a retirement home.”
And of course, don’t forget the schools. Brad Pauly, of Pauly Presley Realty in Austin, says that’s an important factor even for people with no children.
“These families are growing, and being zoned to a quality schools becomes more important,” he says. “Since they are paying school taxes, might as well be zoned to the best schools.”
Thinking about the details
Jing Pu, CEO of Edgewise Realty, points out several other areas that might not make or break your purchase decision, but could be smart to keep in mind:
- Don’t overspend on a house for its technology (such as security systems or cameras), since tech gets outdated quickly.
- Pay attention to efficiency. Energy savings add up over time, and features such as a tankless water heater or good insulation are worth it.
- Is there enough parking? When your kids start driving, you will likely need room for more vehicles. Don’t rely on street parking, in case future development wipes it out.
- Look for a space makes you happy, with a nice backyard or deck and a layout that makes sense: open living and eating spaces down to more private, closed bedrooms or office.