What Is Important to Buyers as Far as Where They Buy?

Posted by Judy Orr on Friday, December 18th, 2009 at 10:42am.

This is the 2nd of 3 posts regarding survey results from IAR (Illinois Association of REALTORS).  The question asked was "In choosing your most recent home, other than price, which of the following was most important in deciding where you would buy?"

Like my first post about What Services Buyers Felt Were Most Helpful, I will add my comments in blue after each result.
IAR HOMEBUYER BENCHMARK 2009
ALL RECENT HOMEBUYERS | n=1000, Margin of Error= 3.09%

PROXIMITY TO YOUR WORK ..............................................................22.8%

I am not surprised at this at all since I've always hated doing a daily commute, especially if it's far.  My first real job was working in an office downtown and I hated wasting so much time driving to the train station and the train ride.  I love trains and I did a lot of reading and even got into crocheting, but I hated the daily drudge of commuting.

However, most people accept that the commute is a part of life and there are many buyers who want to be near a train because they work downtown Chicago.  I also get couples that settle on a mid-area between jobs in two different directions.

QUALITY OF SCHOOLS NEAR THE HOME ........................................ 19.9%

I do get a lot of buyers with children that are definitely interested in an area because of the schools.  Most of them already know which schools they prefer but I do sometimes get inquiries on what is the best school system?  I cannot give my opinion on that (read my post here) so I refer them to a website like Great Schools.

PROXIMITY TO FAMILY OR FRIENDS................................................. 18.6%

Although most buyers don't cite this as a reason, it is reasonable to expect that many buyers don't want to live too far away from parents and siblings, if possible.  Many buyers that state this is a primary concern have parents that babysit and need to be close enough to drop their children off and pick them up.  Other buyers want to live near an elderly parent to offer help when needed.

To me, this figure is higher than what I see, or maybe most buyers don't mention that fact to me when they tell me the towns they want to live in.  Many years ago my Mom invited me to move to Arizona.  I declined because all of my friends were here - but at the time I had no interest in Arizona.  Now we own a Scottsdale, AZ townhouse and would love to move there full-time, although I'd miss my grandchildren too much.  So we'll always keep a place here - I think!

SAFETY AND SECURITY OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD......................... 16.8%

I think for most people this is a given.  Everyone wants to live in a safe neighborhood if they can afford it.  Again, I get asked this a lot and I have to refer buyers to statistics so they can make their own choice of what they consider a safe area to be.  I cannot offer my personal opinion.

In fact, I think this is such a reasonable expectation that this choice skewed the results.  This is probably every buyer's most important desire when searching for a home.  The largest response was a home close to their work, but if they deemed the area closest to their job unsafe they would search for an area acceptable in distance to their work place that they considered a safe neighborhood.

PROXIMITY TO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION........................................ 8.5%

I do get this request from time to time.  Many people who take the train to work prefer to be able to walk to the train depot instead of having to drive and park.  I'll also get the request from senior citizens that no longer drive that want to be very close to a bus stop.  That is why many properties listed in the MLS state that they are close to public transportation.

PROXIMITY TO GROCERIES, SHOPPING AND RESTAURANTS......... 5.3%

This one is interesting to me because as much of a city girl I am and I love my current location where I can walk across the street to the grocery store, this would not be my first criteria for buying a home.  It's nice (to my husband and I) to be close enough to a popular franchise restaurant that we could actually take the pager home with us, but it would not be our major choice of consideration in buying a home.  However, it was to 5.3% of respondents!

PROPERTY TAX RATE WHERE THE HOME IS LOCATED.................... 3.6%

This one surprises me since it's so low.  Buyers mention areas based on perceived taxes all the time.  Sometimes I have to dispute their thoughts that one village has so much higher taxes than another.  I have to show them listings to prove to them that taxes are no higher in village A than village B.  I guess I figured this would at least be more important than being close to shopping and dining.

UNSURE/REFUSED [DO NOT READ]................................................... 4.6%

If you're interested in purchasing a property in the southwest suburbs such as Orland Park homes for sale, give me a call at 708-536-8200.  Remember, you can search the MLS from my website to get a feel for areas and prices.

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