Ownership costs are an important factor influencing your decision to buy a home. However, you must look beyond the price when picking your new residence. The metro area in which it is located also has a major impact on your finances, plus the overall quality of life. With all this in mind, how can you adequately compare homes in different cities, counties or even neighborhoods within the same city? This brief guide provides some insight, pointers and factors to consider when evaluating your home buying choices.

Research Area Home Prices 

You may be able to score your dream home at a great price, but what about the rest of the area? That price will certainly differ from prices for comparable homes within the same metro area. A two-bed two-bath 1,500-square-foot home in the Falconbridge neighborhood of Chapel Hill/Durham may sell for between $300K and $400K. Meanwhile, a similar house in Hillsborough could list for almost $700K.

Many factors can account for such differences. The Falconbridge house may be a townhome, while the home in Hillsborough might be a single-story ranch. Homes in the Hillsborough Historic West district can sometimes price higher depending on size, features and amenities. But you may not be able to discern all that information just from address and list price alone.

Compare With Homes in the Same District

Looking at homes in two different areas is one thing. Meanwhile, it's also important to look at a home's price when compared to others in the surrounding community. If the seller's offer is higher or lower than similar nearby homes, this may not be ideal. Higher-priced homes can be harder to sell later down the road. A lower-priced home is also a gamble: Will you see a decent ROI if you buy and upgrade it?

Look at Neighborhood Characteristics

We just saw how two homes with the same square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms can differ vastly in their selling prices. While floor plans and features can impact these prices, neighborhood characteristics definitely play a large role. Area demographics are a significant factor: gender, age, average incomes and population changes, to name a few. Baby Boomers who are aging in place can affect the number of properties available in a given area. Millennials with children may seek lower-priced homes.

Besides demographics, you should look at traditional indicators. The quality of nearby schools, green spaces, the walkability of the neighborhood, local culture and accessibility of goods and services all tie into resident satisfaction.

Consider Your Commute 

When looking at your home price, you should also consider the cost of commuting. Even if you find an excellent home at a reasonable price, it's not really a bargain if your transportation costs double or triple. They could eat up whatever money you save, making you question whether your move was worth the time, trouble and expense.

Life in your new home doesn't happen in a vacuum. When looking at its sticker price, you must consider other factors such as surrounding home prices, neighborhood amenities and your commute. Check out Chapel Hill Realty Group's available listings to start browsing and comparing now. Contact us online or at (919) 942-4149 today to tour your new home!