Guest Post courtesy of Andrea Davis.
It can be overwhelming to hunt for a new place to call home. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or looking to move for the third or fourth time, the number of factors you have to take into consideration can seem endless. HomeAdvisor is interested in making it easier for people to understand the factors that contribute to a happy home. Here are the happiness factors that make for a happy home and community.
In a first-of-its-kind survey, HomeAdvisor found the happiest and least happy metropolitan areas in the United States. The survey collected answers from residents of all 50 states and 36 major metropolitan areas in the country. The results revealed common factors that contributed to ultimate happiness with a home and neighborhood, or lack thereof in some cases.
Tip #1: Safety matters
HomeAdvisor found that the sense of safety in a neighborhood contributed immensely to the happiness that homebuyers in that area felt with their community. Safety was broken down into two specific factors:
- Sense of safety in general
- Trust in the fire, police and medical services
The city of San Francisco landed the number-one spot in the survey and when you look at their safety factors, it’s easy to see why. 64 percent of respondents felt safe in their communities and an equal number had trust in their local police, fire, and medical services.
Tip #2: What’s the neighborhood like?
A lot of respondents in the survey also identified the sense of community within their neighborhoods as an important factor in their happiness. Across the board, most of the 36 metropolitan areas surveyed had positive views of their neighborhoods. Again, there were two factors used to determine happiness among neighbors:
- Enjoyment of neighbors
- Trust in neighbors
Even in the case of cities that didn’t rank highly, such as Milwaukee, homeowners’ neighborhoods contributed significantly to their overall happiness. People in Milwaukee responded highly in both categories, with 60 percent saying they enjoyed their neighbors and a whopping 74 percent saying they trusted their neighbors.
Tip #3: Look for amenities
No one wants to live in a beautiful home with no access to local amenities. The cities that ranked the highest in our survey had optimal access to a wide variety of shopping, entertainment, and cultural centers.
Let’s look at the top four cities in the survey, respectively:
- San Francisco: 85 percent of respondents live within one hour of the metro area and 77 percent have access to shopping
- Los Angeles: Those same figures were 82 percent and 77 percent, respectively
- Denver: Figures in both categories were even higher, at 89 percent and 79 percent
- St. Louis: Figures showed 94 percent and 75 percent
Tip #4: Proximity to work
HomeAdvisor found that accessibility, proximity to work, and commute times played a major role in residents’ happiness with their homes.
Tip #5: Diversity
Another major factor in the ultimate happiness of homeowners was the diversity of their city and neighborhood. HomeAdvisor looked at two particular diversity factors:
- Racial diversity
- Religious diversity
Milwaukee placed 31 out of 36 in the survey and had extremely low figures for both racial and religious diversity. Only 34 percent of respondents said the city was racially diverse and 48 percent said it was religiously diverse.
Tip #6: Love of the home itself
Despite owning some of the oldest homes on average in the survey, at 42 years and 34 years respectively, top-five finishers San Francisco and Seattle ranked extremely high in terms of affordable, well-functioning homes that offered enjoyable accommodations.
Some 67 percent of San Francisco respondents were happy with their home’s size and layout. 77 percent of respondents had also renovated their homes. In Seattle, 75 percent were pleased with their home’s current size and layout, while 82 percent had renovated at least some space in the home.
These are just some of the factors that can contribute to a homeowner’s ultimate happiness. Be sure to keep these happy-home facts in mind as you search for your dream home.
About the Author
Andrea Davis is an editor for HomeAdvisor, the nation’s largest online home improvement marketplace. Visit HomeAdvisor for design inspiration, budget advice, and access to trusted home service professionals.