Has anyone ever asked you the question "Do you love where you live"? Have you ever asked yourself, your spouse or your kids that question? If you haven't, why not?
As a real estate agent, my job is to help people find their perfect home in a perfect place ALL. DAY. LONG! I love it! One thing I have noticed is that a lot of people purchase a home in a specific area because of a job, kids schools or "because that is where they are from"; not necessarily because that is where they WANT to live.
My husband and I recently moved to the northern end of Dawsonville, GA (mountain town in metro-Atlanta). Both of our families are "from", or live in now, Cumming, GA (about 30 minutes south of Dawsonville). So how did we end up in the mountains? We picked this town based on a few things: 1. We could afford a larger home for a smaller amount of money than in the surrounding areas. 2. We wanted to live close to the mountains and local lakes since we love to spend time outdoors. 3. Spending less on a home gives us more time/ financial freedom to have fun! I am sure there are more reasons, but those are the main ones!
Why didn't we move to the beach? Or California? Or Tennessee where we both have family? Well trust me, we considered it. Once we weighted out the different options, we determined North Georgia was HOME!
So with all of that being said, how do you balance where you SHOULD live and where you WANT to live?
In my professional opinion, being that I spend a lot of time with people making these types of decisions, there are 3 key factors people consider when making a move. Those key factors are their financial status (income, job, reserves), location (schools, to job, family) and lifestyle (quality of life, entertainment, extracurricular activities). Now that you know those 3 key factors, how do they play into where you live now? Did you make a move based on any of those things alone, or did you use all 3 without realizing thats what you where doing?
As an example, here is how someone would lay out the questions to help direct them to a desired location:
**start with the "want" and back into the "should"**
Lifestyle: My family wants to live close to the mountains. We also want to be in driving distance to a beach. Living away from the hustle of a city is preferable, but we still want the convenience of shops and restaurants. Neighborhoods and near by parks would be beneficial for the kids. Palmetto Bluff, SC is one of our favorite places in the world, so living there would be a dream. We want about 3 bedrooms and a basement for the kids and preferably 1-2 acres of land.
Location: Our family is from North Georgia, so we would like to be close to them. We love to travel, so being close to the main highway to the airport would be nice. But, we also love the community and lifestyle in Coastal South Carolina. Being in an area with good schools is important.
Finances: Our family makes about $70,000.00 a year in income. We have a one income household and a stay-at-home mom to avoid daycare cost. We have 6 months of household bills saved in an account and about $35,000.00 saved for a down payment on a house. We would need to be within 30 minutes of our job.
Okay, so now that you have read over this brainstorming, we now need to narrow down a prime location to live!
Being that this couple said their family is from North Georgia, I would ask the question, "How important is it to be in the same state as your whole family?". This would narrow down being in Georgia vs. South Carolina. Another thing I would mention is the cost of living in the 2 different areas. To live in coastal SC, the cost of living will be a lot higher than in North Georgia. Do they want to be able to save money and freely entertain, or are they okay with maxing out on a house payment to be in that area? You would do this type of Pro/Con list for each of the bullet points to your list!
After discussing each item on the list with them, they can use the Pro/Con list to help them determine if the WANT or the SHOULD wins the battle!
I would hope that your decision on where you want to live isn't this complicated, but this method does help if you are stuck in a bind.
If you want a fun way to determine where you should live, check out the link below for a personality quiz and how it determines your perfect destination!
Also, here is a fun map to determine your perfect state to live based on your personality:
My perfect state should be a mix between Tennessee and California....but lets face it, I am a born and raised Georgia Peach!
If you are thinking a move is in your future, but you aren't 100% sure, feel free to reach out and I can help walk you through the process above to see if you are a good fit where you are or not! Sometimes having someone to brainstorm with can reveal all of the answers!