You’ve probably heard about the 3 LLL’s in real estate: Location, Location, Location, but have you thought about why it’s actually so important? Well, for one, you can always change the house—you can remodel, re-shape, and renovate—but unless it’s a mobile home, you can’t ever change where it’s located.
Buying a home in San Diego is going to be a great investment as home values continue to rise, but the question is, which neighborhood? Purchasing in certain areas can be better investments than others, and since this is the place you will be living, you want to make sure the location suits your lifestyle. The surroundings of a home matter, not just the property itself. In San Diego especially, there’s a lot of variability between neighborhoods, even just a few miles apart, so it’s important to evaluate the whole area based on your needs.
Here are some of the considerations about your home’s location that have the biggest impact:
Whether you want to be near hiking in the Poway area, beaches in La Jolla, nightlife in the Gaslamp Quarter, or Mexican food in Old Town, there’s truly a neighborhood for everyone in San Diego. If it’s important for you to be able to take a quick stroll on weekend mornings to grab coffee and a breakfast burrito, then look for homes in areas like North Park, Birdrock, and Del Mar where things are within a comfortable walking distance.
Do you want a place with a view? Do you have pets and want to be near a dog park? Do you have a favorite grocery store that you want to be close to? These are all questions you can consider while talking to a realtor as you figure out your must-haves. The good news is that if you fall in love with the location of a home but the house itself is less than perfect, your realtor can help you negotiate down the price. For example, if the place is in need of new plumbing, this can help in driving down the cost.
Every parent knows how important school districts are when it comes to test scores and teacher to student ratios. High performing schools within the proximity of a neighborhood raises the value of the homes whether you have kids going to school or not. A good school nearby generally means it’s a safer area with lower crime and is usually family-friendly with a population that skews younger.
School districts can shift over time as new developments come up so be sure to pay attention to the current lines and if they have plans to update it. Even if you don’t have children yourself, the quality of the school system in the neighborhood you’re looking to buy will have an impact—your realtor can help you navigate this so you find the right home in your price range with what you need.
San Diego isn’t really known for its state of the art public transportation, but things have actually been improving over time. The trolley light rail extension is one of the newest developments and will connect the UTC area all the way to downtown. So if you are anywhere along the I-5 near UCSD, La Jolla, Clairemont Mesa, Pacific Beach, and Mission Valley, you’ll have easy access to hop on and make your way downtown where you can avoid trying to find parking.
We may not have a subway system, but San Diego has a network of buses so you can check for where the stops are and look in those neighborhoods for potential homes if you rely on the bus to get around. Luckily, ride sharing (e.g., Lyft and Uber) are available throughout the city so you aren’t limited in your location by that. If you’re a city dweller and like to use electric scooters, downtown San Diego might be a good option for you because you can find one on pretty much every corner.
The price we pay for living in beautiful Southern California is having to deal with all of the traffic. There are ways to be strategic about traffic though because it’s not always backed up in both directions, and there are certain pockets within San Diego that don’t have as much traffic as others.
Before you buy a home, pay attention to the traffic patterns to and from the places you need to go. Are you coming home from work during rush hour? Do you have any standing appointments that are in a certain part of town? Do you travel often and need to get to the airport? It can be a smart idea to drive the routes you’d need to go during the times of day you normally would to check out the traffic expectations before making any big decisions about where to live.
Do you like being close to a freeway for the convenience of it or does the noise from the cars bother you? These are important questions to think about in addition to considering how much traffic you’re willing to sit in on any given day.
Potential for Future Appreciation
The last (and maybe most important) consideration in thinking about your home’s location is the expected value in which the home will appreciate. The market changes daily and is not 100% predictable. However, it’s possible to make informed estimations for the future prices using market data, historical values, and factors in the economy overall.
You can’t really predict how the neighborhood will evolve over time in the long term, but you can look for places with the right aspects that are ripe for appreciation. It’s not that you need to find the perfect house; you’re really looking for the whole package—the home, the surroundings, and most importantly, the location. The location is the biggest predictor when it comes to appreciation, much more so than the house.
Remember: location, location, location!
If you’re interested in buying a home in San Diego, Contact San Diego Realtor Nick Rogers to get the conversation started.