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Step 1 - Planning

Step 2 - Financing

Step 3 - Selecting

Step 4 - Buying

Step 5 - Owning


How do YOU Spell Relief? Weigh Your Options�..

Driving Miss Daisy Crazy

Coming home should be a relief, not an additional stress in your life. No one particularly likes to commute. Who wants to waste hours on the road when you could be spending that time with your family or relaxing? That is what makes commute time so important when choosing your home. It is a major factor in metropolitan areas. Figure out if your new home is going to be nearby or light years away from your workplace. How much time will you spend in traffic? Your commute will not only affect getting to work, but time spent locally performing errands. Do you really want traffic jams cutting into your daily life?

The Road Rage Factor

The actual commute time between your prospective new home and your job needs to be measured both in miles and traffic congestion you�ll encounter. You should investigate the commute time (coming & going) during peak rush hour. In urban areas, closer-in homes are typically priced higher, while prices in the outer suburbs and rural areas are generally lower.

The potential trade-off for a longer commute is a larger home for your dollar but more stress getting to and from work. Everyone�s different. A larger home may be more important to you. Drive the commute then determine what is more acceptable to you a large home and commute or a smaller home and commute. Only you can decide.

Trains, Planes & Automobiles�..

Access to public transportation can make a longer commute easier to swallow. Check out the home�s proximity to bus and train lines, and find out if they�re safe, reliable and generally on time. This is obviously important if any member of your household doesn�t drive. Don�t forget to look at your prospective home�s proximity to the other necessities, too, such as grocery stores, gas stations, or pharmacies.

How far do you have to drive to pick up a half-gallon of milk? How close are you to medical and fire and police services? If you have or plan to have children, will they be attending public or private schools? You�ll need to consider distances from primary or secondary schools, and how long a bus ride is okay for your children. If bus transportation is not available, can you handle driving your kids to school each day?

Can Johnny Read?

The quality of local schools will be a factor in your investment, even if you don't have children. Why? Because a strong school system enhances an area�s overall property values. Family buyers are always looking for good schools for their children. Don�t dismiss this factor because you don�t have children. It will affect your resale value.

Apart from the school's general reputation, other factors to consider are overcrowding and teacher-to-student ratios which some say directly affect quality of education. Look at the school�s standardized test scores compared to both statewide and national averages. Contact the local PTA and talk to parents who really know the school system. Ask yourself if you really would want your children to attend these schools.

In the Heat of the Night

Nothing affects your peace of mind or quality of life more than your safety and security. Crime, or even the perception of crime, does more to sap a neighborhood's vitality and property values than any other factor. Keep in mind that most homebuyers only visit homes during the day, forgetting that a neighborhood can change radically at night. Take a drive during the evening around the neighborhood. You might notice a seedy curbside hangout or a nightclub with drinkers spilling out onto neighborhood streets, things you might otherwise miss during the day.

The National Association of Realtors tracks the crime rates in over 500 cities. The National Crime Prevention Council also maintains statistics for localities compared against national averages. These facts are all available on their web sites. Check them out. You can even call the local police department for statistics on a particular street or in a certain area.

Mustn't Forget those Taxes and Fees...


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