Whether you're planning a home in the country, the suburbs, or the city, be sure to investigate the area thoroughly. Drive the general area and walk the neighborhood at different times of the day and week. Find out the current and prospective locations for airports, train tracks, and heavily-traveled highways, along with the sewage treatment plant and landfill. Evaluate the area's outlook for growth. Although a fast-growing area offers faster appreciation of housing and greater choice of subdivisions and sites, these areas tend to suffer from growing pains. Infrastructure, schools, and public services can lag population growth.
Unless you work at home, consider your commute. Take a test drive during the work week at the times when you would normally be traveling to and from your job. Distance to stores, churches, and health care services should also be considered. If you have children or anticipate raising a family in the future, be sure to investigate the area's school system. Even if you don't have children in school right now, the quality of the area's school system is an important factor in the eventual resale value of your home. Communities with good schools are good places to invest. Quality parks and recreation facilities can also enhance resale value, as well as your quality of life.
Take the time to research the real estate taxes in the area. A little digging will uncover any planned assessments or increases, such as those needed to build new schools in fast-growing areas.
Continued on page 2: It's All About Location