Even if you aren’t planning to buy a home today, you may be considering doing so somewhere down the road (no pun intended). While real estate has been a good investment for the long term, there’s a new way of thinking about buying your next home.

  1. A home is not just an investment; it’s a place to live.  Does the location fit your lifestyle?

  2. If you have a steady job, matching your income with your mortgage payment and expenses is a good thing.  But if you are an entrepreneur or work on commission, it pays to be more conservative.

  3. Can you see yourself living there?  Sit in the dining & living room. Imagine yourself and your family gathering in the kitchen. Picture YOUR furniture in the rooms.

  4. Is there room for all of your stuff? Check out the closets, storage space, garages, basement or sheds—or will you have to hold a garage sale before you move?

  5. How big is the yard?  While it looks good on paper that the yard is huge, ask yourself if you really want to maintain it on a regular basis.

  6. Will someone else like it?   While this is going to be your home, and you might live there forever, at some point in time, you (or your family) will probably sell it.

Some of the things you can ignore?  Paint and carpeting, kitchen appliances, their furniture and their stuff.  Unless you see major problems with the electrical, plumbing, heating or structure, rely on the home inspection to find the issues.