Location, Location, Location
Location is one of the single biggest factors in a home's value, both on the open market and to you as a buyer. Fortunately, there are ways to make sure you're paying the right amount for the right location.
Use the Drive-By Checklist to help you assess whether a neighborhood is a good fit for you - clean; attractive; convenient to your work and essential services like grocery stores, gas stations and shopping centers ; a place you could come home to.
If the neighborhood's a good fit for you, I'll take a look at how it fits into the market. Some of the areas I'll analyze for you are:
Hot or not:
Are homes in this area hot sellers? Or, do they stay on the market for longer than average?
Are new developments cropping up in the area, or has growth reached a plateau?
School quality is an important part of a home's value, even if you don't have kids. Good schools build good neighborhoods and strong home-resale values.
How much do homes in this neighborhood typically cost?
How much do homes like the one you're interested in sell for in this neighborhood?