If you ever watch Barbara Corcoran on the Today Show talking about real estate, she always stares Al Roker down to remind him it’s “location, location, location”.
Al usually laughs nervously… since he knows she’s a shark.
Location is essential and can be a real problem for home sellers who did not think that concept through when they bought their home. Or maybe they thought it through but their location has changed over the last decade or two.
Why? Because these days location is a moving target.
Yes, your location changed!
Over the past two decades there has been a ton of change that has taken place in Northern Virginia. Most of that change has occurred because of a thriving economy that has pumped private and public money into every nook and cranny imaginable. The results have been impressive with a growing population, improving infrastructure and quality of life.
So a home’s physical location will still be the same on a Google Map, but the surrounding community can change which will impact the value of the location.
I met an old friend for lunch recently and we took a short walk after lunch. As we walked along talking about football and work, I started to point out restaurants, the coffee shop and where the farmer’s market is over the weekend. It really did not feel like a sales pitch to me, but he was in shock because Vienna had not been this way when he lived there in 1993.
“I used to just drive down this street, now it’s where I could hang out” he said.
The location was exactly the same but now it was much more interesting because there was a sense of community.
“Let’s look elsewhere”
When some clients told me that they wanted to make sure that their new home didn’t feed into “that” high school in 1999, I took that mandate and found them a home that went to their desired school district. Clients ask me about schools every week and I usually reference the Fairfax County Public School Boundary page for verification. Yes, boundaries can change over time so you will need to do some homework.
But an interesting change actually occurred, “that” high school in now a sought after school. It now is the #3 ranked academic high school in Virginia and USNews ranked it #55 nationally.
So keep in mind that boundaries can change, but also can the character of a school.
If they build it…
It may have been generations ago that they built the Capitol Beltway, but really, they have never stopped building it.
Pretty soon the Beltway is going to open up
Lexus new toll lanes to speed up traffic, the new Silver Line Metro will open on its way through Tysons Corner to Reston, and new building are under construction to accommodate those future workers, commuters and residents.
For some local home owners, the result of all this build-out has actually impacted their properties negatively. The Beltway had to be widened and the Silver Line needed infrastructure like electrical sub-stations. And another negative impact: noise pollution. Ever try show a house when a Metro train passes and breaks the silence? I have and the sound does take some getting used to.
Is it gentrification or transformation?
If you lived in my Vienna Virginia neighborhood and moved away fifteen years ago, then you better be prepared to see a big change if you decide to visit the old homestead. Or, if you lived in a comfortable split level in McLean when you were growing up, prepare to see a new look on your old street. Yes, the GPS location is the same but it’s a safe bet that there are a few, totally new homes on the street (all priced over $1.3 million).
Communities have transformed themselves as the economy has grown and the location has become more valuable. Being a “townie” is now more urban hip because consumers are looking for walk-able communities. Residents in the Arlington Courthouse corridor would not recognize the place I saw twenty years ago… because all those used-car places were pretty sketchy.
Don’t even get me started about the Reston Town Center transformation.
You need more than just a Realtor pitch
What I do may seem unorthodox, but if a client wants to buy “the wrong house” then I will try and talk them out of it. When a client was working on a possible reconfiguration for a house he wanted to buy, I pointed out how dysfunctional that would make the space look… especially if he got a dream job offer in Palo Alto and had to move.
Get my point?
Once when a client loved a home and neighborhood, my research uncovered a planned roadway directly behind the back fence. That home would have been in the same location, but not the same sense of community.
We can talk about location but let’s also discuss the community. And when selling a home, it is essential to discuss the interesting parts of the community as well as the location. Discuss these concepts with me or your Realtor because Federal Fair Housing laws pertain to you and not just the real estate licensee.
So, has your home’s location changed since you moved in?