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What factors make a house's location desirable?

You may have certain reasons for wanting to buy a home in a certain area; for instance, you may want to be near your family or you may like the houses there. But there are also a number of general factors to consider.

One important factor when considering a house is its proximity to the places you go most often: work, grocery stores, schools and other amenities. Regarding schools, check out the district and make sure it's a good one. See what the school your kids would go to is like. Even if you don't have kids, the school district is an important element in your home's resale value. Investigate the crime rate in areas you're thinking of moving to. Compare it to other areas.

Tax rates are important factors, too. See whether you'd have pay property tax just to the city, or if you'd have to pay to the county, as well. Find out what the zoning laws are in your proposed area. Zoning laws affect whether you can build on to your home and whether you can run an at-home business. There may also be issues of restrictive covenants. Ask what restrictions apply and decide whether those restrictions benefit you or limit you. In a similar vein, find out if there's a homeowners association that maintains and improves the area you'd live in.

Other issues to look into are public transportation options if you need them and what type of people live in the area. Decide whether you'd be most comfortable in a neighborhood with residents who are like you. It's advisable to visit your potential new home at different times of day to see what the noise there is like. Pay attention to traffic and whether there's an air flight pattern overhead. Also, find out whether there are any large safety issues you need to be concerned about, like nearby nuclear facilities, or landfills that lower property values.