You have heard it before. When choosing your new home, consider three important factors: location, location and location. Choosing a home you can afford in a desirable location is a wise choice, both from a personal and financial perspective.

Keep in mind that the neighborhood is part of what you buy when you purchase a home. Find out where the neighborhood is going – and where it's been. The property value of houses in the neighborhood can tell you a lot, as well. Ask your agent for a Comparative Market Analysis.

Remember, if you're looking at a well-regarded, established neighborhood or an up-and-coming one, you may find it worth the extra money you'll have to put into the purchase of the home. Your agent can help you negotiate fair market value for the home you want.

Get to Know the Neighborhood

You can learn a lot about the character of a neighborhood by simply driving around at various times of the day, evening and weekends. Also consider talking to some of the neighbors about concerns such as:

  • How do the children routinely reach their schools, play areas and friends' homes-by walking, bicycle, bus or do parents drive them?
  • Is public transportation available for commuting or shopping?
  • How far away is your place of worship?
  • Do any local ordinances affect pets, parking, lawn care or other activities?
  • What are the disadvantages of the neighborhood? Highway, railroad or airplane noise? Factory pollution, heavy traffic, exposure to heavy storms, possible flooding?

Beyond talking to the neighbors, here are some additional avenues for information:

  • Drop in on local school board, government or other open community meetings.
  • Visit the schools.
  • Dine and shop in local establishments (Tip: be sure you overhear what the locals have to say about issues of neighborhood concern).
  • Subscribe and read the community newspapers.
  • Ask your agent. They have excellent resources to share.
  • Buying a home requires a lot of introspection. Use these questions as you consider what type of community you'd like to live in and be sure to share your answers with your real estate agent.

Which type of living do you prefer?

  • Urban
  • Suburban
  • Semi-Rural
  • Rural

Which type of population density would you prefer?

  • Low
  • Medium
  • High

Would you prefer a community whose population is:

  • Decreasing
  • Stable
  • Increasing

Which natural features are the most important to you?

  • Woods
  • Hills
  • Flat land
  • Rivers
  • Lakefront
  • Stream
  • Pond

How do you commute to work?

  • Walk
  • Drive
  • Carpool
  • Taxi
  • Bus
  • Train

What's the distance of your commute?

  • 0-5 miles
  • 6-10 miles
  • 11-20 miles
  • 20+ miles

Maximum amount of time you'd be willing to have for your morning commute?

  • Less than 20 minutes
  • Under 30 minutes
  • 1 hour

Would you use available public transportation for local trips?

  • Yes
  • No

Would you like to live near public transportation?

  • Yes
  • No

Where do you prefer to shop?

  • Central commercial districts
  • Shopping malls
  • Community shops
  • None, I prefer home delivery

Which type of school do you need now or in the next few years?

  • Elementary School
  • Middle School
  • Junior High School
  • Senior High School
  • Community College
  • College or University

Which amenities would you desire to have nearby?

  • Recreation
  • Entertainment
  • Music
  • Movies
  • Live Theater
  • Sports Arenas
  • Museums
  • Nightlife
  • Public Parks
  • Private Country Clubs
  • Fraternal Groups
About the Author:
Neil Gibbs
Neil Gibbs


Neil Gibbs is the owner of St George Real Estate LLC. He...

Neil Gibbs is the owner of St George Real Estate LLC. He is a veteran of the real estate industry, with over 28 years of experience....