The decision about where to reside when you’re shopping for an apartment, or rather where one calls home, is one of the most important decisions a family can make. Location significantly impacts happiness, comfort, and to some extent, even health.
The selection of a home or apartment should go well beyond financial considerations. It should include questions of convenience to schools, shopping, work, and transportation. It should include apartment size, comfort, reputation, and amenities.
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Why Location Is Important
After financial considerations, the location of an apartment community should be given the highest priority with regard to choosing a place to live. People usually travel to work, school, shopping, medical destinations, and family and friends’ homes from their place of residence. They go to houses of worship, recreational facilities, entertainment venues, and cultural centers. It is important to consider distance, travel time, and transportation costs to all these destinations when apartment shopping.
In addition to the above, one should also consider the walkability of an area.
Walkability is a term often used by housing professionals like builders and architects. It refers to the renewed emphasis and focus on more interactive neighborhoods. How easy is it to walk around the area so you can acquire the things you need in your day-to-day life (think groceries and pharmaceuticals, for example). Walkability factors include things like sidewalks, the right of way of pedestrians, and proximity.
There is so much to consider, a company has developed a proprietary algorithm to determine an area’s walkability or “walk score”. You can compare walk scores of various apartment buildings by simply entering in the address or name of the apartment building onto the WalkScore Website.
Easy Access to Downtown
Living in the suburbs has its benefits, but living in the city generally allows for a greater selection of shopping and educational opportunities. Cities are also where an overwhelming majority of the national and regional cultural (museums of art, history, and science) and entertainment centers (such as ballparks, and theaters) are to be found.
Parks and Recreation
The advantages of living downtown can often be reversed when you consider access to recreation facilities and parks.
Most suburban municipalities have considerably more parks and sport-specific recreational ball fields than center city.
Travel Time and Cost
With the advent of tools like Bing and Google Maps, it is relatively easy to figure out a route and travel time to your desired destination. Google (and other sites) allow you to not only consider driving time, but travel time via any combination of driving, train, and walking routes. Even if you are somewhat familiar with an area, the use of such a tool will quickly provide answers that allow you to compare one location to another. If you commute to work or school on a regular basis, the time (and cost!) of travel are of primary consideration.
Many more people are choosing to live near transit hubs because of these very reasons. In fact, an industry acronym for such a property has been coined TOD or Transit-Oriented Development.
In addition to saving time and money, transportation modes such as the train reduce stress and afford the traveler the ability to rest or to take advantage of travel time for productive purposes such as work or study.
If one makes exclusive use of an automobile as their primary mode of transportation, one should consider the best route to and from the start location and the destination point during peak and off-peak traffic hours. Wintertime travel should also be considered. How far and over what type of roads will one need to travel and how will this affect travel time? Primary roads such as US-1, I-95, and the turnpike are the first roads to be cleared in the wintertime. Depending on the snow event, secondary roads may not be attended to for as much as one, two, or more days after a major event.
The location of an apartment being considered as your primary residence is important because it affects the convenience and quality of your life. There are many things to consider before you can arrive at the “right” decision for you and your family.