Location, location, location. As the real estate agents say, it’s the No. 1 attribute in real estate. But it’s not just true when it comes to assessing a home’s value—it’s also a key factor in determining your future happiness, according to Katherine Loflin, a consultant in the new field of “placemaking.”
You live in a home, but your life happens in a place. Both are important to us living our best lives. People want a place they find beautiful, with opportunities that they enjoy, in an environment that feels welcoming. And places where residents were happy with those qualities experienced higher local economic growth.
Q: What advice do you have for people who want to find the right place?
First, create a wish list for the place you want. What kind of place are you seeking, given where you are in your life—kid-friendly, retiree destination, walkable, cultural offerings, quintessential experiences that you crave? Just as we know the kind of person we are seeking as a partner, we should know the kind of place where we would thrive.
Next, spend some time there—date your place. And just like you should probably see your potential life partner with the flu before you marry, you have to learn about the challenges of the place. What are the issues the place is facing? Do you love it enough to want to help, or at least accept it, warts and all?
Don’t move there based solely on vacation experience(s) there. Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there”? That’s a real thing. Second, don’t make the mistake of thinking this is about “good” and “bad” places. Just like when you’re dating, it’s about your compatibility. While all people like places that are welcoming, different places do this different ways. In some places, welcoming means people hug you when they meet you. Some people love that, others not so much.