Five Things to Know About a Place Before Buying a Home There

Home sold
Home sold

Once was, you could buy a home without much worry about how long it would take to recoup your upfront investment in the down payment and closing costs. Today, home prices have actually rolled backward to 2004 levels sinse their 2006 peak, according to Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index. So smart buyers know they'd better plan to hunker down for the duration (experts say 7-10 years, give or take, depending on the locality) before they make the commitment to buying a home, to stack the decks in favor of being able to break even -- or better.

Accordingly, it behooves a buyer to do a bit of research into his or her town and its real estate market dynamics to max out the chances of a regret-free home purchase.