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Finding a new place to call home is an exciting adventure. It can be a journey of self-discovery, as learning your own residential preferences can lead to a better home match. Falling in love with a home is as much about the community as it is about the house itself. Follow these tips to find the right location for your new nest.

Calculate Your Price Range

The first step to finding the right location for you to resettle is figuring out where you can actually afford to buy a house. You can download the Quicken Loans home affordability calculator app to find out the right home price for your budget.

According to Ali Berry, Rocket Homes broker and owner of Quest Realty, price point for a certain area is perhaps the biggest factor in determining location for many buyers. How much home can you buy for your budget in one community compared to another?

Consider the Climate

If your housing search is wide open, it helps to narrow down the region according to your climate preferences. Also, do you prefer cityscapes or nearby hiking trails? “Are you a skier, or a cyclist or a beachgoer?  What you enjoy doing should be a consideration if it’s possible to make that choice,” advises Emily Restifo, a real estate professional with Houlihan Lawrence.

Live in Line with Your Lifestyle

Before you start perusing homes in your dream neighborhoods, take some time to think about the factors that currently influence your life. Is living near free baby-sitters (aka family) a must for you?

Perhaps a short commute or nearby public transportation is the essential ingredient for your perfect place. “Maybe it’s important to live in close proximity to schools, shopping, entertainment and medical services that you’ll use frequently,” says Rosanna Rivera, licensed real estate broker with Rocket Homes.

Stalk the Neighborhood

Take a walk with your family or friends through the communities in which you’re looking to buy a house. Seeing a new neighborhood on foot can totally change your perspective. Go for a scenic drive through the residential, commercial and business areas of a new location. “Visit the local parks and open houses, and stop at the coffee shop to get a feel for the community,” Rivera advised.

Plan several visits on different days and hours. “Don’t just go on Sundays at 3:00 p.m.,” says Kendra Barnes, a real estate professional and founder of The Key Resource in Washington, D.C.

“Go in the middle of the week; go late at night – you will be amazed at how much you can learn about the neighborhood from just sitting and observing,” she added.

Meet the Neighbors

“You would be surprised how willing people are to tell you about the neighborhood, why the house is being sold and more,” says Barnes. Let the neighbors know that you’re interested in buying a house in their community, and ask them to share what they know about the history of the home or neighborhood.

Meeting the residents of a community can also give you a better feel for the social climate. Are there many families with young children, or is it full of young professionals or retired homeowners?

Plan for the Future

Do some research to find out what the future holds for the communities in which you’re hunting for a home. Visiting the city planning board or even doing a quick internet search should give you a general idea of potential parks or new malls that may grow your community, Barns recommends. Knowing the development agenda for your neighborhood will give you a better estimate of possible increases in property value.

Work with a Good Agent

“Most importantly, work with an agent who really knows the areas you are interested in and who can help you understand why certain neighborhoods may be better than others,” advises Berry. Finding the right real estate agent may take some time, but the value a great agent brings to the home buying process is well worth the initial effort.

Wherever you decide is the best location for you to put down roots, know that your location will become a key factor again when you decide to sell, advises Rivera.

Already found your perfect place? Get preapproved for a mortgage today!

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