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Urban and rural property
After Dismal Year, Homebuilders See Hope in 2012
Home Sales Rise to 11-Month High
Report: Foreclosures Down, But Discounts Abound
Home Sales Sunnier as Spring Buying Season Approaches
New Home Sales Dip, But Beat Expectations
Fannie Mae, Facing Deficit, Asks Fed for Another $4.5 Billion
Home Values Build for 3rd Consecutive Month
Real Home Price Recovery Not Expected Until Spring
Home Sales: Rise Reflects Steady Improvement
Economists: Housing Recovery Finally Here
Home Prices Increase in Most Major U.S. Cities
Pending Home Sales Near 6-Year High
Home Prices Rise 6.3% in October, Most in 6 Years
Housing Market 2013: Predictions of What's to Come
Housing Recovery Officially in Full Swing, Data Suggests
Can't Get a Mortgage? Here's Why
Trulia Housing Barometer: Housing Market 52% Back to Normal
Home Prices Post Best Yearly Increase Since 2006
Tom Roeser Buys Up Town's Foreclosure Stock to Keep It Thriving
Housing Is Back! Best Moves for Homebuyers
Trulia: Housing Recovery Marches on in March
Are Real Estate Commercials Skirting Realities of Homebuying?
Trulia: Housing in 'Early Stages' of Multiyear Recovery
Obama Proposes Fundamental Overhaul of U.S. Mortgage System
Find the Perfect Neighborhood
Once you've become pre-qualified for a loan, you should be ready to put your house-hunting efforts into full gear. But don't skip the important step of scouting out neighborhoods before you start your search for the perfect house.

The neighborhood in which you live will heavily dictate your whole way of life—things like walking to a nearby park with your kids, knowing your kids are attending good schools, feeling safe when your children play outdoors, being close to restaurants and shopping, enjoying a short commute, and knowing your home will appreciate at a healthy rate.

Of course one way to get started in your neighborhood search is to get in your car and explore, especially if you're unfamiliar with the area. Get an idea about the neighborhoods by driving around and seeing which areas appeal to you. Walk around, explore, and talk to some of the residents.

Take note of the general appearance of the homes. Are they well maintained? Are they nicely landscaped?

If you have children, you might be looking for a neighborhood with plenty of children around, as opposed to neighborhoods that attract more seniors or young singles.
Other factors you'll want to consider are the schools, crime, your family's specific needs, and appreciation - as in how much the value of the home is likely to increase.
A good Realtor will be very familiar with all the neighborhoods in the area and should be able to tell you about the strengths and weaknesses of the specific neighborhoods you're eyeing.

The school district

Even if you don't have school-aged children, buying a home in a district with good schools will be in your best interest. When and if you sell the home at some point in the future, future buyers with children will likely consider good schools their top priority. And neighborhoods with good schools typically attract more buyers.
There are several sites on the Web in which school reports are just a few mouse clicks away. Basically all you do is enter a geographical area or zip code and it will display ratings for the school system. Also:

Ask your Realtor about information on schools in the area.
Talk to people in the neighborhood, especially people with children.
Standardized test scores are also available on the Internet.
Visit the schools and take a tour if you have children. It's important that your
decision isn't based purely through facts gathered online. Get a true feeling for what the school is like.

Crime statistics
No one wants to live in a neighborhood where break-ins and burglary are the norm. There are web sites that can provide you with statistics on crime and other information pertinent to your search.

In addition to school information, Homestore lets you enter a city or zip code and provides you with crime data for the area you choose. It also compares crime statistics with other cities (such as the city from which you are moving).

In researching a neighborhood, you must first determine your area. The suburbs may have lower crime statistics, but may be farther from your work. Cities may have more crime, but may have other qualities that you consider more attractive, such as convenience and cultural activities.

Use the following tips to help you learn about crime statistics in a neighborhood:

Talk to neighbors.
Take note if there are bars on the windows and doors of homes.
Talk to the police or sheriff's department.
Check for gang graffiti on walls and walkways.
Keep in mind that if you're looking in-town, you may not be able to get away from everything you consider unappealing (such as noise and traffic).

Keep your family in mind

A home isn't just an investment when you have a family to think of. You'll need to consider more than just the number of bedrooms or whether it has an attached garage. You'll need to consider the community first and foremost. Do you want schools that are in walking distance? Do you want to be close to your place of employment? Do you want to be close to shopping, restaurants, and other services?

You'll also want to research property values before you find a home in the neighborhood that you like; property values reflect a community's overall health.
And when you do your research, find out what houses sell for now versus a decade ago, five years ago, and three years ago. Also, find out how much property taxes have gone up.

  
Shopping for a Home in Winter
Secrets to a Successful Move
Saving the Best for Last
Renting to Own
New House or an Old One?
Make Them An Offer They Can't Refuse
Lifestyle Choices Affect Bottom Line
Inspecting Your Home Inspector
In Love With Two Houses?
How to Track Down Foreclosure Properties
Home-buying With Others
Five Keys to Successful Negotiation
Five Key Areas to Pay Attention to When Buying a Home
Finding a Good Home Inspector
Find the Perfect Neighborhood
Don't Overlook a Home's Potential
Do You Have Buyer's Paralysis?
Debt Reduction Not Required to Buy
Debating Between a Condo or a House
Contingencies Your Home Offer Should Include
Can You Afford to Buy a House?
Buying a Home With Loans from Family and Friends
Buyers, Get an Edge During The Busy Spring Season
Affordability Options for First-time Home Buyers
14 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home
12 Red Flags That Should Raise Concern
10 Summer Moving Tips
Experts Predict Annual Home Value Appreciation to Exceed 6 Percent in 2013
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Housing Starts Rise in July but Fall Short of Forecasts
Giants Masking Billions in Losses for Overdue Mortgages
Home Sales in July Rise to Levels Last Seen in 2009
Rise in Rates Reduces Demand for New Mortgages
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Foreclosures Fall 25% in July from a Year Ago
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Mortgage Applications Rise, as Interest Rates Slip a Bit
Mortgage Rates Edge Up to Near Yearly Highs
What You Should Look for When House Hunting
What is PMI?
Trying to Buy A Diamond In The Rough?
Trouble Pulling the Trigger on Your First Home?
Title Insurance: Who Needs It?
Title Insurance
The Hidden Costs of Homeownership
The Art of House Hunting
The Appraisal Contingency
Sometimes Smaller Is Better
Signs That You're Ready to Buy
Should You Pay Discount Points?