If you grew up in a New York apartment where the only thing you saw out the window was a brick wall or back alley, a panoramic view such as you get from Salt Lake City's east bench might be your top priority when deciding which house to buy.
But that would be a mistake, says Bob Peterson, a real estate agent with the Salt Lake office of Mansell and Associates. A nice view should be a consideration, but not the main reason for choosing a house.He's supported in that reasoning by a survey of 1,000 corporate transferees by PHH Homequity Inc., a Connecticut-based network of 300 independent real estate brokers nationwide, including Mansell.
A house with a view is nice, the transferees agreed, but it was well down their priorities list as they looked for a home in their new locations.
Of much greater importance were the following, ranked in order of importance:
- SECURITY was by far the top priority for transferees, who demonstrated a strong concern for crime protection. They want to know the frequency of police patrols in the neighborhood, whether the house has a burglar alarm, and the distance to the nearest police station, fire station and hydrant, and hospital. They want to know about street maintenance and any history of flooding.
- FINANCING is a key concern. Transferees want to know if mortgage money is available and at what interest rate, whether the house would be a good buy in another location, its resale value, condition and current appraised value. They want to know about property taxes, the mill rate, whether there is a building inspector's report and what repairs may be needed after they move in.
- CONVENIENCE is important to relocating families, generating concerns such as travel distance to work, school, church, shopping and services such as cleaners, barber shop, hair dresser, plumber and electrician. Availability of city services is important, including municipal water, sewer, garbage pickup, road maintenance, snow removal and whether speed limits are enforced.
- RECREATION is important, particularly nearness of golf courses, tennis courts, jogging areas and water access for fishing, boating and water skiing.
- AESTHETICS of the neighborhood was the fifth most important criterion, including how well the neighbors maintain their properties, general appearance of the neighborhood, comparative value of other houses in the area and, finally, whether the house has a view.