Location, location, location

Where you buy not only affects the home's current and future value, but it also affects your lifestyle. Your agent will be able to conduct a more targeted home search if you outline your preferences in neighborhoods and nearby amenities. Here's a checklist of items you should consider and communicate to your chosen real estate agent.

• Urban, suburban or rural
• Commute time
• School districts
• Desirable neighborhoods
• Proximity to the airport
• Proximity to restaurants and retail
• Access to major highways and thoroughfares
• Access to public transportation
• Health care facilities
• Parks and recreation
• Length of time you plan to live in the home (Your agent should be knowledgeable about growth trends and projections that could affect your investment.)