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1) Planning

Location, Location, Location

You think you just found your dream home and it's also a bargain! Whoa! Why is it a bargain? Is it the neighborhood? The schools? Or the house itself? There are many factors that can affect the value of a home and also determine if the home is right for you.

The neighborhood, the area surrounding the neighborhood, the neighborhood schools, and the services provided can affect the value of a home. Here are some tips on how to find the best house that you can afford:

Drive around the area and get a feel for the different neighborhoods. Keep notes about what you like and don't like about each area. Do you want a short commute to work? Kids to walk to school? Active homeowners association? Convenient public transportation? Make a list of what is important to you in a neighborhood. Specify what criteria are must haves (needs) and which would be nice to have (wants). Use the Neighborhood Needs vs. Wants Worksheet as a starting point.

Zoning maps, land use plans, and comprehensive plans are just some of the documents that can help you check out an area. These types of documents can indicate what the plans are for development and growth in a particular area or neighborhood. If an area is just beginning to be developed, a zoning map will indicate where the commercial and residential areas will be located. The following websites can help you find information about your chosen area:

The quality of the schools in an area can impact the value of your home. So even if you don't have children, you should look at them. Here are some sites to help:

Next: What Do You Desire in a Home?

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