The decision where to reside, or rather where one calls home is one of the most important decisions a family makes. Location of where to live 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.
Location: Is it Important or Isn’t it?
After financial consideration, location of an apartment community should be given the very next priority with regards to the selection of a residence. Typical primary travel destinations are work, school, shopping, transportation, and visits to family and friends. Not to be overlooked is travel to houses of worship, recreation, entertainment, and cultural centers. It is important to consider the relationship of the apartment to the above destinations from the perspective of distance, time and cost of travel.
In addition to just distance, consideration should also be given to the walkability of the area.
Walkability is a term often used by professionals such architects. It refers to the renewed emphasis and focus on more interactive neighborhoods. How easy is it to walk around the area to access the things you need, such as grocery stores, retail, and more. Factors include things like sidewalks, right of way for pedestrians, and proximity. Fortunately, there is a company that has developed a proprietary algorithm to determine their definition of each areas “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. The advantages of downtown can often be reversed with regards to access to recreation facilities and parks. Areas of cities outside of their downtown, as well as, most suburban municipalities have considerably more parks and sport-specific recreational ball fields. With the advent of tools like Google Maps and Bing Maps, it is a relatively simple task to develop a proposed 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 cost and time of travel are of primary consideration.
Transit Oriented Development
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 reduces stress and affords 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 for their primary mode of transportation, then one should consider the best route to and from the proposed home 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 does one need to travel will directly influence travel time in the winter. 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.