Where to Live Now

How to Decide Where to Live Now

Deciding where to live is one thing, but actually putting down roots is another. Whether you’re a lifelong renter who enjoys leaving the repairs to your landlord, a first-time homebuyer eager to own real estate or somewhere in the middle, staying on top of housing markets and real estate trends is important.

And with sky-high housing prices affecting nearly every community across the country right now, it’s never been more important to consider what buying a house or renting will actually cost you if you’re planning a big move. After all, buying a home is likely the biggest investment many of us will ever make in our lifetimes. By analyzing median home values in the area, Livability’s annual Top 100 list factors in housing affordability in small- to mid-sized cities so you can make a highly informed decision about where to live.

Understanding a community’s cost of living, job opportunities (and salaries!) and home prices can help you plan for the future and make a budget that works for you. If you’re a remote worker, you may decide to settle down in a community with more affordable real estate so that you can make your paycheck go further. If working in a brick-and-mortar office is more your speed, you’ll want to consider your new home’s proximity to work, as well as transportation and commuting options.

Real estate prices aside, understanding the diversity of housing options in a community is also key. Do you want a trendy, high-rise condo? A sprawling suburban property with a turf-grass lawn you can be proud of? A rustic cabin in the mountains? A ranch-style home that’s close to a community center for your retirement years?

Even if you’re not sure exactly what type of housing will best meet your needs, it’s a good idea to factor in a city’s various styles, types and availability of housing options. The pandemic is also likely to change the way homes are built and renovated in the future, so keep an eye on housing trends, too.

Neighborhoods each have their own flair and personality, too. The old adage “location, location, location” definitely rings true when you’re trying to buy a house or sign a lease in a new community. Walkability, the presence of locally-owned shops and restaurants, public transit, parks, trails and safety all factor in when comparing one neighborhood to another.

Buying a home can be stressful, even if you’ve done it before. That’s why familiarizing yourself with local real estate agents and lenders is so valuable. And even if you don’t plan to buy anytime soon, it can still be fun to ogle other people’s homes and see what you’d be able to get within your budget in other cities.

Once you’ve chosen where to live, it’s time to venture out and explore the food scenes, along with the experiences and adventures your new place has to offer!

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