5 Factors to Consider When Choosing Where to Live


Being financially ready to buy your first home is an exciting time. Now, you just have to figure out where you want to live. While some people find their dream home and drop everything to get it, others like to take a more intentional approach when choosing their new location.

There are many things that a first-time homebuyer should consider when choosing where to live, as those choices will affect them for years to come. Things like school districts, work proximity, commuting times and real estate value should all be considered before making a decision. Luckily, credit Unions like Solarity Credit Union can help you secure your first home loan and give you one less thing to worry about.

Here are a few things that first-time homebuyers should consider when choosing where to live.

School district

Buying a home for the first time can force you to think about the future in a way you haven’t before. Family planning is a subject that may come up, and if you do plan on having children, or already have them, you’ll want to consider what school district you’ll be living in. The location of the house you buy will determine which schools your children will attend from kindergarten through high school. Education is a high priority for most families, so you’ll want to consider the school district before you become too attached to any potential homes.

Most first-time homebuyers don’t plan to be in that home forever. As your family expands, a first home can be considered a starter home that allows you to work up to buying your dream home in the future. For this reason, your child might not be in the school district of your first home for the longevity of their educational career. Keep this in mind.

To make a more informed schooling decision, look beyond the school district in which you’ll be living. Consider the specific schools that your children could attend. Schools in Washington State are given a rating each year, based on student performance and other factors. These ratings can help you determine whether a home you're considering is near the quality schools you like.

Cost of living

When you’re buying a home for the first time, you’ll be more aware of your finances than ever before. A lot of time can be spent trying to secure your first home loan, determine your monthly debts and figure out your spending habits. You can account for most things that way, but one thing that first-time homebuyers often forget to account for is the cost of living in the area they’re hoping to move to.

Figuring out the cost of living for the area you’re looking at can help you make a better decision. Regardless of your income, it’s important to make sure that you can live comfortably in your new home, and the cost of living in the area can affect that. If your house is affordable but local amenities are more costly in the area, you’ll need to adjust your budget to reflect that. Taking that into account beforehand can prevent you from getting in over your head in terms of finances.


Most first-time homebuyers already have jobs when they move to their new homes. It’s one of the criteria that can help you to secure your first home loan. Consider how far your job is from where you’ll be living. It can make a big difference when it comes to how you’ll reach your job and how long it takes. Proximity to work is a big draw when it comes to buying your first home. A home too far away from your current job can create a longer commute time each day and minimize the time spent in the home you just bought.

You should not only consider the physical distance between your new home and your job but also potential traffic. If you’re moving to an area that requires you to take a busy highway to work, it can take longer than you imagine it would be based on mileage.

If you’re looking to change jobs soon after moving or are in the market for a new career, you should look into what employment opportunities are available in the area you’re considering. It would be unfortunate to move to your first home only to find out that it’s in an area where there are few job opportunities. A few quick searches can tell you what companies in your field are located in that area.

Transportation and commutes

Along the same lines as work proximity, determining how long it will take you to get places and your transportation options can help you to better decide where you want to live. Many first-time homebuyers like living in places that provide many options for resources close by. How far away are grocery stores, restaurants, shopping centers and doctors’ offices? Ask yourself how far you’re willing to travel for these services.

Many people are trying to live more green these days. If that’s you, you might prefer a location where you can take advantage of public transportation or walking to get to where you need to go. Public transportation can also be a great option for getting to work and skipping traffic on the highways. Plus, good transportation options can help you to save money on a second car or gas and give you more money to put down on your new home.

Real estate value

Most homebuyers’ first homes don’t end up being their last. In fact, over 60% of first-time homebuyers under the age of 38 don’t stay in their first homes for more than 8 years. Because of the high likelihood of moving, it can be helpful to be aware of the current real estate climate in your new location. This can give you more confidence in your ability to sell in a few years and potentially make a profit.

Some neighborhoods become more popular for a few years, which increases home values over time. If you find a neighborhood that’s trending toward becoming more valuable over time, it can be a good choice to purchase there before the price goes up any further. Getting into an up-and-coming neighborhood while the homes are still affordable can prove to be a good investment for your future.

Once you’ve chosen the perfect place to live, and before you even start visiting potential homes, it’s a great idea to visit a credit union such as Solarity to secure pre-qualification for a home loan. This will help you look for homes in the appropriate price range and signify to sellers that you’re serious about any offers you make.

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