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Buying a Home: The Missing Manual by Nancy Conner

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Chapter 3. Choose Your Style of Home and Neighborhood

Before you head to the grocery store, you probably make a shopping list of all the items you want. That helps you stay focused, limits impulse buys, and ensures you don’t forget to pick up milk, eggs, or the necessary ingredients for Friday’s dinner party.

You need to be similarly prepared when you shop for a house. After all, you can’t run back to the store to pick up another bedroom, and you can’t return your house for a refund if you find it doesn’t fit your lifestyle.

This chapter helps you figure out what you want in a new home. You start by looking at how you live now and how your lifestyle might change over the next several years. Then you’ll consider the housing options available and what you want in a neighborhood. From there, you’ll create a wish list and prioritize it. Then, as you begin touring homes, you’ll have a clear sense of what you’re looking for.

Your Lifestyle—Now and Down the Road

How do you live? Do you thrive on the energy of a city—the restaurants, culture, shopping, and nightlife? Or do you prefer the peace and privacy of a country home? Do you have (or are you planning to have) kids who need room to play, friends down the block, and good schools? Do you have animals to care for or hobbies (like woodworking or restoring cars) to accommodate? Are you an avid gardener, or would you rather have someone else do the yard work?

Take out a piece of paper and note the things you like best about where and how you ...

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