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There’s a reason every real-estate agent’s favorite phrase is “location, location, location. When you’re making a decision as serious as buying a house, the property itself is just as important as the neighborhood—even the city. On the hunt for your forever home? We just uncovered the ideal road map. 

LendingTree recently analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine where people are staying put the longest, and one region in the country stood out. New York City, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia—all in the Northeast—ranked highest on the list, with people staying in their houses an average of eight and a half years. On the flip side, the study found that homeowners in warmer areas of the country (think: Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Austin) move more often and the listing prices tend to be higher. So while settling down somewhere cooler might mean shoveling snow occasionally, you’ll save some money.

Now that you know where to look for your forever home, it’s time to address what to look for. One hot tip we’ve learned from buyers who have gone through the process: Talk to the neighbors before putting in an offer. They’ll likely give you the inside scoop, and if they’re feeling generous, put in a good word with the sellers. During the inspection phase, investigate the plumbing and condition of the sewer lines (ones made of cast iron will fail sooner rather than later). Also, don’t let fancy new appliances sway you. These bright, shiny objects might be there to distract you from larger issues like mold in the walls or an incorrectly installed HVAC. Good bones are the key to a love that lasts a lifetime.

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