To check your life style with a prospective house, consider these points:
How much time are you willing to spend on house and lawn maintenance? Is half an acre perfect for backyard baseball, or would you prefer the easy care of a townhouse? Do you enjoy puttering in a workshop and take pride in saving the cost of a plumber with your own repairs? Or is housework an unwanted infringement on your spare time?
Ask if there are children in the neighborhood and find out their ages. Are there parks or school playgrounds within walking distance?
Drive from your place of employment to your prospective home during rush hour and ask yourself if it's worth the drive. Do any neighborhood car pools park near your office?
Study the floor plan of your house. Are the bedrooms on the top floor and the washing machine two stairways below? Is the yard fenced so you don't have to walk your dog twice a day? How are the bedrooms situated? If you have a baby, you may want a second bedroom close to yours; or if you have a teen-ager, a bedroom and bath in the basement may be ideal.
What are your special needs: a study, office, or extra space for entertaining or a living room large enough for a grand piano?
What are your leisure activities? If you are out of sorts without two games of tennis a week, how convenient are the courts? If you make weekly trips to the library, is it 5 minutes away or 30? If your children are on a swim team, is there a pool you can afford nearby? If you enjoy the cultural offerings in the city, what is your maximum limit on traveling time?
If you have school-age children, find out if the local school's curriculum corresponds with the studies your children have already completed. If both parents work, ask if after-school care is available.
What sort of environment do you prefer? Are you a nature lover who wants a lot bordering on wooded park land? Do you like the coziness of neighbors just a few feet away or do you want privacy and plenty of landscape screening? Do you like the bustle of children playing outside and a bus route right by your house, or do you put a premium on quiet? Do you prefer a homogeneous neighborhood or look-alike houses, or do you long for variety and individuality?