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POLL: Perfect house in a bad location or awful house in a perfect one?

HouzzAU Polls
3 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

Would you rather live in your dream home in a bad location, or live in a horrible house in the perfect location? Assume that you will not be changing the house or the location for the sake of the poll. Vote and tell us about it in the comments!


Somerton Park, SA · More Info


Perfect house in a bad location
Horrible house in a perfect location

Comments (64)

  • mrplod
    2 years ago

    Surprised you even had to ask! Location ALWAYS wins!

  • pucciplan
    2 years ago

    Always location. You're making an investment and with some ingenuity and vision (if the house is a do-upper with potential) the financial return will be positive. Plus you can enjoy the view!

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    Thank you oklouise. That’s very nice of you to offer. We have had a builder provide some advice around some of the structural walls, etc - one of which is that little storage area under the new ensuite. We had explored removing that to make it a double garage but it really would blow out costs and advice was the extended double garage would probably be cheaper. I do very much see your point about spending money on legal-height extra room though - makes complete sense. I would like to do something with the front porch - with the deck and under deck areas, I don’t foresee us using the porch much at all. The exterior house walls are structural though so again, it could be costly to move. There is also a window into Bed2 that opens onto the porch so this would either have to be filled in (there is another one but not sure we want to decrease light or breeze) or built around. I did want to close in the screen door to the living room and build in a bit but it could be a lot of expense for perhaps a metre wide gain!!? I wasn’t sure how we were going to use the storage under the new ensuite but from your design, I think that garage area would be good as the kids play room and that area as their toy/games storage. With family overseas, we usually travel once a year and have luggage for all of us so happy to have just an extra storage room (such as that under the porch). We only really need 4 bedrooms so I still think sacrificing the upstairs study is probably still the best use of space. We were going to do the reno in two stages - garage, ensuite and stairs before we moved in and then downstairs afterwards. Perhaps we hold off on the stairs to live in and feel first.
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  • PRO
    Still Space Architecture
    2 years ago

    Location is not everything and sometimes you have to make budgetary compromises! Good orientation is critical in making a house liveable.

  • mary171155
    2 years ago

    I know what you mean by orientation now as well. It wasn't until this last house (we built) that we even thought about orientation. I grew up in Balmain in Sydney, where all the little houses were lined up perfectly in rows without ever considering orientation. I lived in two very dark houses there, as did friends and family and I think it is why I now feel the need to live in spaces with plenty of natural light and natural breezes. It seems we all got smarter. :)

  • PRO
    Still Space Architecture
    2 years ago

    Yes I think access to daylight makes a big impact on your mood and definitely something to check when you are choosing a house.

  • Rochelle Yousef
    2 years ago

    It’s all about compromise for me.
    Also depends on what is meant by location, as it more than just the suburb that you live in. A busy street in a “good” suburb would not be my idea of a good location. A bad location to me is also a place where amenities are not conveniently accessed. The orientation of the house, as mentioned before is also very important.
    I would not want to live in an awful house in a great location, nor would I choose the perfect house if it was in a bad location.
    If had to choose and it wasn’t for investment, I would compromise a little on the location for a beautiful home.

  • PRO
    Pure Creative Group
    2 years ago

    Definitely the later. You can always renovate a house but you cant change a location.


  • Cathy - emareved
    2 years ago

    Hurnlator that's a pretty awful comment. There are plenty of happy people living in the house they saved for with neighbours they like in Mount Druitt. There are some in social housing who have found community and a home in Mount Druitt. No doubt there are people that hate living there but we all live where we can afford and do the best we can. Denegrating other people's homes and suburbs doesn't make anyone else's suburb better. Maybe you live in Mount Druitt and don't like it so think you have the right to make this comment but it's still snobbery to make the comment and for others to like it.


  • Marco Lauricella
    2 years ago

    One of the first things my father taught me about purchasing property was to buy the worst house in the best street/location, always paid off since.

  • PRO
    dcf design group
    2 years ago

    a perfect house in a perfect location :)

  • Ekletix
    2 years ago

    You can always make the house better you can never move your perfect house somewhere else.
    Living in a great location means you’ll be out enjoying it more than staying home anyway!

  • PRO
    Kitchen and Home Sketch Designs
    2 years ago

    We bought the worst house in a quiet street but didn't realize have fantastic the street was till we had been there for awhile. Horrid leaky house is now fantastic solar, light, warm wonderful. I would look at location first then worry about house but orientation is vital. Cheers Margot

  • PRO
    Larkspur Lane Design
    2 years ago

    I dont know if anyone has mentioned it yet, but there is a Crowded House song that goes "I'd rather in a caravan in the hills than a mansion in the slums". I have lived in the equivalent of both, and I'd definitely go with the former :)

  • beachcombing
    2 years ago

    I agree, orientation and location rule. Budgetary constraints may dictate your location, and you can save to renovate a dive over time.

  • amonymousanne
    2 years ago

    Hi Cathy , Hurlanater made no derogatory comment about the people who live in Mt Druitt. YOU did . Please read it again . This is about location and not population .

  • debbiewith
    2 years ago

    You can change the house but you can't change the location!

  • Cathy - emareved
    2 years ago

    Hi Amonymousanne, I too didn't make any derogatory comment about the people of Mt Druitt. What I did point out is that Hurlinator singled out a suburb as being a bad location. The residents of Mt Druitt shouldn't have their suburb singled out as an example of anything 'bad', this just perpetuates the stigmas attached to certain areas and suburbs and its residents. Please read the question again Amonymousanne, no one was asked to name a bad location.

  • Amanda Roberts
    2 years ago

    Having had a lovely place wrecked by a crack house showing up and gangs I say location matters. Never again. It was wonderful with lovely neighbours and then a nightmare started.

  • mary171155
    2 years ago

    Yes, you raised a good point. Even owning a home in a great location, doesn't mean you won't end up with a drug lord living next door. Very sad for you.

  • PRO
    Steve Lick Timberworks
    2 years ago

    A bad house can be fixed; a bad location can't be fixed.

  • lyndagoulden
    2 years ago

    We have just downsized from our dream house in a dream location of 23 years to an okay house in a good location. Dream homes it seems, change over time and when you realize, age is no longer on your side, you have to make some hard decisions. Flat land, won out over the dream but by staying in a good location and doing some renovations, I can get back some but not all of what I've given up.

  • roseB
    2 years ago

    I’ve done both and and came to realise that you always improve a house, no matter how long it takes but you can’t improve the neighbourhood. If you need to sell up you’ll always do better if you choose your location first.

  • PRO
    John Cameron Architects Pty Ltd
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    For most of us it will be easier to improve the horrible house than it will be to improve the horrible location. This follows the real estate adage advising us to look for the "worst house in the best street".

    Of course in any particular circumstance we need to drill down to understand what is "horrible" about the situation.

    If the location is horrible because it is under a freeway, beside a railway line and down wind of a sewage treatment plant, that location might be too tough a liability to overcome even with the most amazing house design. On the other hand if the location is horrible just because it and the neighbourhood is run down, there is a chance that by showing some love and commitment through renovating that others in the neighbourhood will become motivated to do the same and before long, happy days!

    If the house is horrible because it is poorly built, affected by toxic mould, covered in lead-based paint, riddled with rising damp and infested by rodents, it is likely not going to be in a great neighbourhood either. Maybe give this one a miss. But if the horrible tag comes from things that can be cost-effectively made good, then the worst house in the best street will likely appreciate faster in value as you improve it than the same house with the same spend in a "horrible" location.

    My examples emphasise the extremes. Most circumstances will be far less clear cut and so the decision will be a lot harder to arrive at. This is seldom a yes/no debate - it is full of maybe's and what-if's.

  • PRO
    Kitchen and Home Sketch Designs
    2 years ago

    When trying to wrangle these sorts of decisions, I like to get a big piece of paper and use coloured pens for good (black) and bad (red) and the answer becomes clearer quite quickly. The comments with question marks require further research needed and once done they may go black or red...….very visual and with all options in front of you it equals clarity! Good for lots of life's conundrums!!

    Cheers, MK

  • Angela Cook
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Many years ago my Great Grand parents lived in very downtrodden and slummy Gore St Fitzroy. The house they lived in then was on the market last year for nearly two million dollars. It had been bought in the 70's for a couple of hundred thousand dollars and done up slowly (and beautifully) and now living in old Fitzroy is a city dwellers dream. I suppose i'm saying bad locations aren't always bad long term. Northcote and Clifton Hill used to be pretty working class, and now thanks to hipsters they're hotspots with all the good stuff.

    How bad is your bad location?

  • Andrea Whiteside
    2 years ago

    Like the vast majority I chose location over the house. However a lot of comments mention you can always renovate - the question asked to assume you will not change the house. No matter the location, a dark, damp house is not going to make for a happy home, even in the perfect location. Also, as mentioned, there are plenty of ‘bad’ suburbs that have come good. The question becomes interesting when you take away the possibility of renovating.

  • debanger3
    2 years ago

    Dream house

  • pascoeyvonne
    2 years ago

    The worst house in the best location always wins over the best house in the worst location.

  • mary171155
    2 years ago

    We are currently looking at a house which was half finished years ago, then left when the neighbour built a three storey house in front of it. The views are still heavenly, but the guy who owns it wants a lot of money for it. So we are going for the worst house in the best location this time as well....but it is going to be difficult to get as he now lives overseas and won't budge on price. My son is a builder so he could finish it for us which would make it a bit less costly, but still have to be within our budget.

  • Judith Szakacs
    2 years ago

    My vote goes to:
    Choose a great (overall) location and get a property that will work for you and your budget. Try to make the best use of your site conditions in terms of orientation, views, noise, privacy etc.

  • Kay Vickers
    2 years ago

    You can change the house with paint and a re-jig of the floor plan, but you can't change a bad location. Location first every time!!

  • PRO
    DESLAR Group
    2 years ago

    Location is a fixed feature; structures can be modified, rebuilt or replaced. No question. I always come down on the side of location.

  • Maree
    2 years ago

    The saying, 'Buy the worst house in the best place' is the mantra still used by real estate agents and buyers. You can always renovate but your location will never change. Good Luck!

  • PRO
    Kitchen Express
    2 years ago

    You can makeover the house (if you have the cash spare from buying in the good location). But it's hard to makeover an area' .... some areas do change and become urban cool - but that is a risk and can take decades. I'd buy the 'project' house in the area I love :)


  • Elizabeth Patrice
    2 years ago

    I can't change the bad location but I can slowly improve my home until it becomes my dream home.

  • Yvonne
    2 years ago

    I choose not to drive so on the location front, my number one non-negotiable is proximity to a good variety of convenient public transport options and walking distance to a decent supermarket and local amenities. I won't even look at properties that don't fit the bill. So from that perspective, I guess you would say I put location before "dream home", or at least basic aspects of location.

    Beyond that, I think one has a different perspective if renting vs buying. As a renter, I knew there wouldn't be much, if anything, I could do to improve faults so the actual home – its style/character, its features and orientation – had to be right. And as a renter I would be willing to compromise a little on the surroundings for these things: after all, you spend the majority of time IN your home, not walking around outside it, and you won't be trying to sell it later on. As an owner, it's a different story because you can go for potential, knowing that you have the option of renovation if the bones are good, and you need to consider how the surrounding area might affect value over time. But even then, there are certain things you can't fix and, as others have said, orientation comes high up on the list: if a property doesn't get good eastern or at least north-eastern sun and a decent northern aspect generally, then I won't consider it.

  • Yvonne
    2 years ago

    I would add that location isn't some immutable thing. A "good location" can take a nosedive if the neighbour from hell moves in next door or if there are changes to local traffic patterns (or flight paths!). A "bad location" may well improve.

  • mary171155
    2 years ago

    Yvonne your comment reminded me of one of our neighbours. A doctor and his wife who built a beach house at the end of a cul de sac, and with a pleasant view down the street. He built the house almost to the back boundary, so the only side with a verandah faces down the street. About 18 months ago the guy (a builder from out of town) who purchased the block next to him decided to start building his house. He comes and goes, and so far there is just a double garage frame up, and the steel has been delivered for the house, but there it sits......since Xmas. The doctor and his wife are now forced to sit on their verandah on their rocking chairs staring at a steel frame which will turn into a shed. This frame is only meters from their verandah. Their view changed from a pleasant street scape to the bones of a shed. Suffice to say the doctor and his wife have not been over to stay since last Xmas. While this part time builder is not exactly what you could call the neighbour from hell, he sure has managed to kill their dream weekend escape. So you are correct about that. Unless you take measures to make sure this cant happen when you purchase, this could happen to anyone's dream location.


  • kathryn_e_cason
    2 years ago

    I’ve done both, and would choose location any day.

  • Andrea Whiteside
    2 years ago

    In this poll, you’re not allowed to renovate the house.

  • Ruth and James Peck
    2 years ago

    We have recently purchased an old house in a good location in respect to access to facilities, family and transport, flat block and fab orientation. How lucky are we. Our intention is to knock down and build a solar passive house with universal design features. A dream but we have thought long and hard about this as we go into our old age. We understand we are very fortunate to be able to consider this. Old house on great block-can always do something with house but great location and orientation can't be replaced easily.

  • Penny Mark
    2 years ago

    Happiness and safety are paramount in our view. Live simply and wisely and you can renovate. Expect it to take time and all will be good.

  • Susan McMahon
    2 years ago

    I bought an affordable house in an area I liked...…...the house was affordable because it had been rather neglected. I only regretted the decision briefly after taking possession when I couldn't move right in until I'd done some deep cleaning and ripping out of old carpet and curtains (It was too stinky). Slowly, over three years and still counting, I've been creating the kind of space I want to be in. Location is most important. You can make a less than perfect house liveable while you gradually fix it, but you can't alter a less than ideal location. I like Penny's advice: "Live simply and wisely...…" We should all do that.

  • Ruth and James Peck
    2 years ago

    Great comment re 'affordable' and 'Live simply and wisely' Combined with 'location', excellent.

  • beachplace
    2 years ago

    The perfect house and the perfect location both change over the course of your life, what suits a couple with young kids doesn't suit an empty nester couple, so perfect house versus perfect location is relevant to your stage of life

  • Margaret Connelly
    2 years ago

    So many interesting comments it has been great to read them all. We live in an unpopular suburb in Melbourne's outer west. We did this because it was what we could afford and because it gave us the lifestyle that we wanted, meaning that we could pay off the mortgage in our lifetime and still have money to spare for extras. It gave us a large block on which to build a low energy designed house with room for an extensive garden (we are keen gardeners). Thirty years later I love my home and I love my suburb. Sometimes location is a state of mind and sometimes it's what you make it. Great locations can be made by the people who live there.

  • Penny Mark
    2 years ago

    Great to hear that you have had a good experience in an unpopular neighborhood.

    Our first home was an ex-army house in the extremely unpopular South Auckland of New Zealand. All we could afford then... and we lived there happily for seven of eight years. We loved our home and our initial neighbors, many of whom we are still friends with. But as folk moved on and a rougher element moved in, break-ins began happening, clothes stolen off the clothesline, plants, pots, ornaments, swing sets and even a trampoline! It was no longer safe to leave a door unlocked let alone open.

    The crunch came when youths began to harass our children walking to and from school simply because they believed it was their right to take what they wanted (uniform and shoes, food) and trying to force them to buy drugs, We moved on.

    I guess it comes down to; is it just an unpopular demographic area? or is it a rough area, gang related residents, drugs on the street etc?


    The question does not stipulate why an area may be deemed unpopular.

    I said above to choose the better area and this is what we did second time around, we live in a preferred area of a demographically unpopular rural town in Otago, NZ and love it here. We have renovated and will be mortgage free in our retirement.

    However we would never again live in an area unpopular because of the crime rate.

  • HU-995300078
    2 years ago

    A few years ago I saw an article on the net about an architect, in Spain, who converted a cement works silo into a magnificent home---in the middle of a slum. He was happy with the outcome---great views, drive straight in and lock-up, no interaction with the slum. Good house in a poor location, so the answer is not always clear-cut.

    Richard Blake.

  • PRO
    Hart Enterprise
    2 years ago

    Renovate or not, location comes first. Cosmetic improvement are required eventually on perfect homes as well as the renovators delights.
    There’s nothing wrong with living in a dump of a house specially if you own it rather then rent.
    Don’t let ego put you in an undesirable environment/location. Safety first!!

  • Abi Rose
    2 years ago

    Perfect location any day..... it might be a bad house but there is always the option of renovating or even just a coat of paint can go a long way. Besides if it is in a perfect location, won't it sell for a higher price, and get a greater return rate than a perfect house placed in a bad location would?