Buying a new home is one of the biggest decisions a person makes. It is a somewhat lengthy commitment of both time and money for most people and affects everything from commute time, how one entertains, and the type of environment one experiences each day. Since 2011, the average length of homeownership has increased; some contribute this to the effects of the recession on the housing market. As of 2011, the average home owners stay in one location for about nine years. Regardless if one is looking for a forever home or merely a place for the current phase of their life, deciding on a home is a decision with long lasting effects.
Everyone has heard the cliché that real estate is all about “location, location, location,” and in terms of one’s health the location of a home can play a major role. Few eager home buyers are considering health when they are deciding if a two story home with no garage or a sprawling estate with a smaller yard makes the better choice, but a look at the many influences that location has in regards to health and fitness may revolutionize the way smart buyers look at real estate.
Forget just taking in the curb appeal of the home, check out the entire neighborhood while driving to look at a potential property. Looking at the layout of the neighborhood can reveal a lot about the fitness potential that lies ahead as a home owner in the area. Is it easily accessible for active residents to run, walk or hike? Or is it so busy that kids will be driven most places? The absence of safe walking and biking paths in highly concentrated urban areas can lead to a lack of activity. The more accessible something is, the more likely it is to get used. A neighborhood with green spaces and parks in easy walking distance is more likely to foster an active lifestyle among residents. This is especially important for those with young children, as childhood health and fitness patterns often continue into adulthood.
Aside from recreation, can locals bike or walk to take care of basic errands such as dining, shopping, and so forth? A suburban area that is too far from shopping areas might require a car for these outings. To judge this look for bike racks placed outside of businesses, count the number of walkers and bikers out in the area, and look for easy ways to access these places by foot or bike. Once again the more opportunities that are available to be active, the more likely one is to use them.
Ask the realtor, current homeowners, or even neighbors where they do their grocery shopping. Dense city areas, especially those with a majority of low income residents, can become what are known as “food ghettos” where there is little to no access to affordable, healthy food choices. Perhaps a formerly unpopular neighborhood is the next up and coming hot address, if the food shopping has not caught up this makes a difference in terms of personal health and well-being. Once again, what is most accessible is indicative of probable patterns. For home buyers especially concerned with eating local or organic foods, look for health stores, farmer’s markets, or even community gardens.
There are other important aspects to consider that most home buyers take into account when looking for a home. Consider nearby pollution, communities with factories or plants nearby can more likely to experience lower air quality. Safety is something that everyone is concerned about, but this also affects fitness and health. Residents who perceive that they live in an unsafe community are less likely to go outside for exercise and recreation.
After choosing a great new home in an amazing location that will afford optimal chances to live a healthy, fit life, homeowners can really maximize their activity levels while settling into their new home. Doing yard work is a great opportunity to tackle chores while getting exercise, and planting a few vegetable gardens ensures plenty of time working outside while growing nutritious foods. Home ownership has many rewards, so capitalize on all of them by finding a healthy location.
About the author: Ken Thomas is a professional blogger that enjoys providing real estate advice. He writes for Onboard Informatics, a leading real estate data company.