Location is even more important for home owners than renters. Renters have the flexibility of 1-2 year leases. Buying and owning a home commits you to a location for a few years or more.
It is important to know what you want, and not what your friends and family suggest as ideal homes and locations. Because at the end of the day, you will be the one living in the house, and not any of them.
Where would you like to live and why?
Do you prefer the suburbs or in the city? In the suburbs, you get detached houses with trees and community parks. In the city, you get attached homes and apartments, busy streets and a lively atmosphere.
Are good schools a criteria? Areas with good schools generally have higher real estate property taxes. Quality schools attract buyers to the same neighborhoods.
Do you like to drive everywhere or be able to get to everything within walking distance? Is a 15 minute drive to the closest grocery store an enjoyable experience for you? Or would you rather prefer arriving at a Target store via the elevator of your coop or condo unit? Close-by amenities increase home values.
Do you leave your doors unlocked when you leave the house or deadbolt the front doors? Safety is something to think about when you have a family with children. Low crime rates help maintain home resale values.
What is an acceptable distance from your home to your job? 30 minute drive or a 5 minute walk?
Will you be traveling often, or spend a lot of time at home? If traveling often, then being closer to the air is better than being 2 hours away from the closest airport.