Buying or Renting a Home: What’s the best first step

Now that you and your bride are planning your life together, you should figure out where you want to spend that life. Finding a home in the right location can set the stage for a great marriage. Asking yourselves this list of questions can narrow the field to your very best neighborhood:

How close to work should you live?
If you work in different parts of town, talk to your bride about whether you want to share an equal commute time or if one of you can tolerate spending a little more time on the road each day.

What’s the right noise level?
If you grew up in the city, you could probably live anywhere. But if your bride wants piece and quiet, look for homes away from busy intersections with soft-spoken neighbors. Visit your prospective neighborhood at different times of day throughout the week to make sure your quiet cul-de-sac doesn’t fill up with screaming kids at night or on the weekends.

Does school play a factor?
If you already have school-age children, you may want to pick a neighborhood in a quality school district. If kids are still a few years down the road, you could save a little money by selecting an attractive neighborhood in a school district that’s “rebuilding.”

What’s the real cost of living?
Whether you’re renting or buying, you should scout out the prices in neighborhood shops and restaurants to make sure you’re not pricing yourself out of a personal life. What good is living in a nice café district if you can’t afford to eat out? If you can’t afford to shop for groceries at small convenience stores, make sure your neighborhood offers easy access to cheaper grocery stores.

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