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First, get out an area map and identify the general areas you deem most desirable. Consider these factors:

  1. Distance (or proximity) to other family members.
  2. Proximity to churches and good schools.
  3. Proximity to parks, libraries, cultural centers and shopping.
  4. Proximity to health care facilities.

Next, determine which characteristics you deem desirable in a neighborhood:

  1. Landscaping.
  2. Street layout and traffic patterns.
  3. 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:

  1. Square footage of livable space.
  2. Square footage of lot.
  3. Age of home; more specifically, the age of expensive components such as roof, HVAC, water heater and kitchen appliances.
  4. 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:

  1. Use the above data to determine which house to buy based on the price per square foot.
  2. Discuss the subjective/intangibles.
  3. 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.

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