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Location, Location, Location!

Location, location, location! You've heard the phrase before - it is used very often, mostly in reference to property values, both actual and potential. So keep it in mind before you decide where you want to live. Location is a huge part of any move and depends primarily on where you work, and whether you want to commute, and also your family lifestyle. As a would-be homeowner you have to consider location in the broadest sense because you are about to invest a lot of money into a house you will probably occupy for some length of time.

Safety, schools,
shopping, transportation, health care and convenience are important considerations when buying a home. Make daytime, evening and weekend visits to the neighborhood to judge its safety, traffic, cleanliness and friendliness. Take a walk through the area and talk to residents to find out what they think of the neighborhood. Picture yourself spending years in these surroundings.

If you have children, it is important to consider how close are your children's schools, whether there are school buses or public transportation available and how close to your prospective home are the other services you may need. Does your family have special education needs and are these available? Contact the school board and ask how the neighborhood schools compare with other schools in the district. Ask the board of education about future school construction if you are considering a newly developed area.

Figure out what your commuting routes will be to and from work. Are major roads easily accessible? Could you change your work location or change jobs for the sake of living in an area you really like?

Find out how close you'll be to shopping malls, grocery stores and entertaiment. How much time do you care to spend on making these routine purchases?

How accessible is recreation- playgrounds, bike paths, walking areas, parks, swimming? Is public and private property well maintained?

Are there environmental considerations such as sources of pollution, noisy traffic routes, trains and aircraft? Ask about any planned road or housing construction or zoning changes affecting the area.

Location is an investment too and can also affect property values and property taxes.
Are property values rising, falling or stable? Remember, you don't just purchase property; you purchase the neighborhood.

The most desirable neighborhoods have good schools, well maintained homes, convenient shopping and commute options, good public facilities and recreation areas and low crime rate. They tend to hold their value over time, so it makes sense to buy property in the best neighborhood you can afford.

Narrow down your choices, check local information like neighborhood statistics and community links and
find good professional help with expertise in the local area. That way, you will minimize surprises and disappointments after you've sign the purchase agreement.

Other factors to consider before setting off to find your new home: