A few community factors to consider: Commute to work, crime & safety, location-relative healthcare, lifestyle activities, schools, the location of family & friends.
Your opening bid should be based on two things: what you can afford (because you don’t want to outbid yourself), and what you really believe the property is worth.
Most people just focus on their mortgage payment, but they also need to be aware of the other expenses such as property taxes, utilities, and homeowner-association dues.
Are you planning to have kids? Will you be taking care of elderly relatives? You might be planning to live in your first home for only a few years. Who is your target market in the case of a re-sale?
Stalk The Neighborhood
Drop by morning noon and night. Many homebuyers have become completely distraught because they thought they found the perfect home, only to find out the neighborhood wasn’t for them.
There is a big difference between a buyer who is pre-qualified and pre-approved. Being pre-approved can save you a lot of time and energy as well as give you more bargaining power.