Location is the most important factor when selecting a home. Selecting the right location is essential for your overall quality of life. I am sure you have heard real estate gurus say that the three most important features of any property are: Location, Location, Location!


When evaluating the convenience of a location, think about your lifestyle. Convenience is a measure of how easy you can get to the places you need and want to go.


A long commute can affect your quality of life. Will you use public transportation, car, bicycle, etc.? Which way does traffic flow? Don't solely rely on school score cards. Look specifically for the features that are important to your family.

TIP: Drive to and from work during the hours of your typical commute BEFORE deciding on a location!


Don't solely rely on school score cards. Look specifically for the features that are important to your family.

  • Is a special needs program important?
  • What about athletic, music or art programs?
  • Use a website like niche.com to search for your specific needs.

Proximity to Family & Friends:

Consider how frequent you visit now and the future needs for caregiving.

Character & Culture: 

Look for character and culture that fits your lifestyle and personality.

 Amenities & Facilities: 

Which amenities are important to you? Supermarkets, parks, gyms, restaurants, hospitals, hobbies, religious facilities, or other frequent hot spots.



There is no fool-proof method to ensuring neighborhood safety. Do your research, trust your gut instinct, and look at the factors that contribute to the safety of a community: 

  • Cost of Living 
  • Crime
  • Employment 
  • Housing
  • Schools
  • Registered Sex Offenders

Find and attend neighborhood meetings, community events or other hot spots. Don't be afraid to talk to potential neighbors, most are willing to share information.



How do you determine community affordability? It's not enough to be able to pay your principal and interest on your mortgage, you need to consider property tax rates, homeowner association fees [HOA], and flood insurance.

Property Taxes:

property taxes can make up a large portion of your monthly housing expenses should be considered when determining affordability. There is a Cuyahoga Property Tax rate sheet included in the Appendix of this manual, for other areas, please visit your local treasurer's site for tax rates. See the example calculation below and how tax rates can make a big difference.

Homeowners Association Fees [HOA]: 

Keep in mind that some developments and communities have HOA fees. Be sure to ask the right questions.

    • How much are the fees, how often are they paid?
    • What do they cover?

The average range of HOA fees in Ohio is $100 to $700 per month.

Homeowner's Insurance:

It is important that you protect your home! There are things to consider that will affect your insurance rates. The average homeowner's insurance premium in Ohio is $1,111 per year, or $93 per month.

    • If you are married, you will likely receive a marital discount - insurance companies report married couples file less claims.
    • Living near a fire department or fire hydrant can offer additional savings on your insurance.
    • Swimming pools, hot tubs, and trampolines will likely cause your homeowners insurance to increase.
    • Some breeds of dogs can make a hefty difference in what you pay for insurance premiums.
    • Your credit score affects your home insurance rates.

Flood Insurance:

If it is your dream to live within proximity to body of water, you will want to determine if the area is in a flood zone and if flood insurance will be required. The average cost for flood insurance in Ohio is $1,116 per year, doubling your homeowner's insurance premiums.

You can learn more about flood zones and view flood maps at FloodSmart.gov.


 Deciding where to live will take time and research.  You may have already decided where you want to live. If not, consider what matters most to you and what you are willing to give up to get it.

We have created worksheets to help you determine if you want to live in the city, suburbs or the country and a tool to compare prospective neighborhoods by evaluating convenience, safety and affordability.