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Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you can make in your life. It is also the most rewarding.

These days, purchasing a home can be a stressful experience. There are lots of things to consider.

If you are searching for a home in an existing community, you are probably thinking about your future life. Close your eyes and imagine how you want to feel. What do you need to make your dreams a reality?

Everybody has their own idea of perfection. Finding a home that fits your idea and budget is vital to choosing the right house for your situation.

LOCATION

When real estate people tell you how location is everything, they mean it.

When you purchase a house, you are also investing in a community. You should feel comfortable there.

Choosing the community and neighborhood is your first step. Most people want a convenient location near shops, jobs, parks and schools. As a result, the most desirable neighborhoods are the most expensive.

Think about what you value. If you have children, perhaps you want to live within a specific school system. Maybe you are looking for a shorter commute to work. Understand that a more expensive location near your job may equal the expense of commuting from a longer distance.

Most people care deeply about the attractiveness of the neighborhood. A community with new, well-maintained homes and lawns is more likely to increase in value over the long term. It is also a better environment.

Live in a community where you can find friends and have a social life. It is important that the house feels like a home.

AMENITIES

Surrounding yourself with the right amenities inside and outside your home will help you feel comfortable and happy.

New homes often have open floor plans, modern kitchens and bathrooms, "flex" rooms for multiple purposes and walk-in closets. You might be able to customize your home as well.

Outside your house, bonus amenities include in-ground utilities, lighting, landscaping and playgrounds. There might even be a community pool or clubhouse. Always be aware if there are ongoing fees associated with these amenities, such as homeowners association dues or maintenance fees for any community areas.

The bottom line is that you can find exactly what you need, all for a good value. The key is to keep in mind what you want and search until you find it.

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