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.)