Buying a Home in Iowa City - Step 2: Choosing the right area to live
This is the second part in a 7 part series to give you as a home buyer a better idea about the home buying process in Iowa City.
Today I'm going to cover the question of choosing where you want to live. At the same time you want to consider the style and age of home you have in mind. There's no point looking for something that just isn't there - For instance a new ranch style home in downtown Iowa City!
First I want to touch on a subject that is very specific to people relocating to Iowa City. If you are relocating the area and your top priority is to live within walking distance of the UI Campus, then you need to be aware that there is a VERY high demand for that...
Higher demand generally means higher prices. That's the first thing. Then there's the fact that downtown Iowa City has some wonderful turn of the century homes in character filled historic neighborhoods. Finding a newer home on the other hand, that's a very different story. (Hence my comment earlier in my post). Some of the older homes have been updated, many have not. My point being that if you do want to live within walking distance of campus, you should know that your options are limited.
So now to the more universal aspects of choosing your area to live:
Price Range is obviously a huge factor when it comes to choosing where to live. Even in a small town like Iowa City the prices vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. Getting pre-approved of course will help you here and you'll be able to narrow your options on location by knowing where you can afford to live. This might be a good time to mention that if you get "sticker shock" when you see Iowa City prices, you may want to take at the surrounding areas, for instance North Liberty as an option. North Liberty is "hot" right now with home sales in July increasing by a massive 46% in comparison to last year.
Distance to your place of work, (or study) is another big one. Some people are fine with a longer commute time. Others prefer to live close by. Your personal preferences will factor into the location of your new home, along with the distance to schools and other amenities like shopping, restaurants, parks, fitness centers... In short whatever you think is important should be considered now. (You can always compromise later. To start out it's a good idea to make a "wish list").
An equally important factor is to decide whether you want to be close to relatives or friends in a certain area. This is often a big motivating factor when you have children. For instance living closer to grand parents where children go after school, or maybe best friends.
That just about covers the basics of how you go about narrowing down the area as you choose where you want to live. Remember to keep in mind the style and age of home as you consider the location. It used to be that location was everything in real estate. That's changed as buyers realize sometimes they need to compromise on location to get the type of home they really want to spend their time in. You might decide it's worth a 15 minute longer commute if it means you get the home that is perfect for you and your family.
The next step in process is Step 3: Finding the Right Home for You
Buying a Home in Iowa City: For your reference: links to all steps in my 7 part series:
Step 1: Getting pre-approved for a home loan
Step 2: Choosing the right area to live
Step 3: Finding the Right Home
Step 4: Making an Offer
Step 5: Home Inspections and Repairs
Step 6: Preparing to Close on Your New Home
Step 7: You're Closing on Your New Home
If you're new to the home buying process - a first time buyer or maybe relocating to the Iowa City area - all this information may throw up more questions than answers...There are a couple of solutions for that. You can either leave me a comment and I'll respond to that, or you can contact me directly either by phone or email, whatever suits you best.
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Although the information provided is deemed reliable, it's not guaranteed