First, get out an area map and identify the general areas you deem most desirable. Consider these factors:
- Distance (or proximity) to other family members.
- Proximity to churches and good schools.
- Proximity to parks, libraries, cultural centers and shopping.
- Proximity to health care facilities.
Next, determine which characteristics you deem desirable in a neighborhood:
- Street layout and traffic patterns.
- Absence from noise sources such as Harley Davidson shops, hospitals, fire stations, schools and arterial surface streets.
Now, evaluate your housing needs and the condition of the home:
- Square footage of livable space.
- Square footage of lot.
- Age of home; more specifically, the age of expensive components such as roof, HVAC, water heater and kitchen appliances.
- Analyze the condition of maintenance items such as yard, paint, flooring, interior wall surfaces and doors. Compare the costs of modifications.
Finally, conduct an objective/subjective analysis:
- Use the above data to determine which house to buy based on the price per square foot.
- Discuss the subjective/intangibles.
- Then let your wife buy the kitchen she wants! REALLY!!! Or you’ll be apartment hunting while she’s home buying!
NOTE: If you are shopping for a new home, builder incentives tend to confuse the decision making process a little. It’s hard to compare a free swimming pool with an upgraded carpet or no closing costs.