It's true – when you buy a house, you're really buying a whole lot more.
Between the community as a whole, the surrounding city, the local amenities, the neighbors, the schools, and more, you're going to be moving into an entirely new lifestyle. It's important that you, as a buyer, are aware of exactly what you're paying for – and that includes things that don't come with a price tag.
Do you need to be close to a certain school? Do you prefer quiet, unobtrusive neighbors or do you enjoy socializing and entertaining? Ask yourself these and other key questions, and you'll be well on your way toward total confidence about your new home:
• The Community
Asking yourself what you look for in a community is just as important as asking yourself what you're looking for in the home itself. Maybe you don't want to live in a community, or maybe you do, but it can't have a gated entrance. Do you feel more comfortable with a guard out front, or would you prefer it be more accessible? There are all sorts of preferences to consider, and they shouldn't be overlooked – you'll be spending a lot of your time here, after all.
When you visit a home, consider talk to some of the neighbors. Try to gage the atmosphere of the area, and how the various residents interact. If you like your peace and quiet, you probably won't want to live next door to an aspiring garage band, just as if you love to entertain and interact with your neighbors, you won't want to live somewhere without an active social calendar.
• The City
If you're staying local, this won't be an issue for you, but for the many people who move to an entirely new city, becoming acquainted with the surroundings is important. Before you buy, figure out where you regularly shop, dine, and find entertainment in your old city, and see if there are adequate replacements in the new one. For example, if you find yourself frequently visiting a home improvement store near your old home, but there isn't one anywhere near your potential new home, consider how important that particular outing is to you before making a final purchasing decision.