Finding the Perfect Location for Your Dream Home

With the kids grown up and out of the house, you finally have the chance to build your absolute dream home tailored exactly to your needs and tastes. But where should you put down new roots? The location you choose will hugely affect your lifestyle and home investment for years to come. To that end, here are a few tips for picking the ideal spot.

Set Your Priorities

Before looking at specific areas, get clear on your biggest wants and needs for day-to-day living. Do you crave a peaceful, rural environment or urban amenities at your doorstep? How important are things like proximity to family, great schools for grandkids, medical facilities, shopping, parks, and recreation? Make a list of your top five priorities to guide your search.

Factor the Future

While an area may check all your boxes today, also think 5-10 years down the road. Research population projections, planned developments, road construction and other changes coming to potential locations. An up-and-coming suburb can be perfect if you get in early before prices rise. But a declining neighborhood is likely not ideal long-term.

Consider Climate and Geography

Does your dream retirement involve golfing year-round or adventuring in snowy mountains? Make sure the location’s climate and geography fit your preferred pace of life and activities. Also assess any potential weather risks like hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, or earthquakes if buying in a disaster-prone region.

Scout Schools

Even if you don’t have school-aged kids, a location’s school district quality still affects property values down the line. It’s wise to view the ratings, parent reviews, test scores and other key stats for schools near prospective neighborhoods. The same applies to colleges if you envision grandchildren visiting regularly.

Get a Lifestyle Feel

Numbers and data only tell part of the story. Once you’ve narrowed locations, spend time getting a feel for each one in person. Wander the streets, check out community spaces, venues, shops, and recreation areas locals frequent. Notice the vibe and energy level. Can you picture yourself there long-term?

Weigh Affordability

Early in your search, determine your target home price range based on savings, investments and proceeds from your previous home sale. Compare median prices and costs of living for different areas on your list. But also look at property tax rates, HOA fees, and the long-term tax burden if a specific location is much cheaper upfront.

Once you’ve settled on your ideal budget, estimated costs and preferred location, the experts at Jamestown Estate Homes recommend you research “custom home builder near me” to find reputable local companies that can make your specific dream home vision a reality at a price you’re comfortable with.

Find Your Community

A key part of choosing an area is finding a welcoming community that fits your stage of life. Look for neighborhoods with a solid number of other active adult or retired residents. Attend community events and chat with current homeowners to gauge if you’ll feel at home. You’ll likely be spending lots of time in this location, so make sure you vibe with those around you. An area with shared values and interests makes it easier to form new social bonds.

Be Realistic

While searching for perfection is understandable, aim to fulfill at least your top 3 priorities rather than every single wish list item. Realistically, you’ll have to make certain tradeoffs and compromises. The more flexible you can be, the more areas open up for consideration, and the greater chance you’ll land an amazing forever home.


Finding the right location is a crucial first step. With patience, research, and some serious self-reflection on your wants and needs, you can identify the ideal spot to build the home you’ve always dreamed of.

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