Buying a home is a way of investing in your future. For most people, the purchase of their home is the single biggest purchase they will ever make, and it represents one of your biggest assets. That’s why it’s important to go into a home sale with the right among of gravity. This is a major deal, and it deserves your maximum effort and energy.

How do you know that the house you are choosing is a good investment? Financial guru Dave Ramsay has a checklist of criteria that your home should hit so that you know you are making a solid choice.

First off: you can compromise on a lot of things when you buy a house. Maybe you wanted a pool, but you fall in love with a house that doesn’t have one. You can always put one in later. Maybe the landscaping leaves something to be desired. That, too, can be fixed. Two things that you should never compromise on when buying a house are location and layout, since these can’t be fixed. A house in a lousy school district is unlikely to improve, for instance.

In choosing where to live, it’s best to choose the most affordable house in the neighborhood where you want to live, since the value will only go up. It’s better to buy the $200,000 house in a $300,000 neighborhood than to buy the $300,000 house in a $200,000 neighborhood, because your likelihood of recouping the investment goes down. A house that needs some work in a good neighborhood can only go up in value. If price is an issue when you are buying, this is something to consider.

Speaking of school districts - this is something to consider even if you don’t have kids. Again, you always have to think about the resale value of your house. You may not have children, but your home’s next occupants might. Houses in a good district go for more money. It’s just a fact. Per Ramsay’s web site: “A Brookings Institute study evaluated the top 100 metro markets in the U.S. and found that home values are an average of $205,000 higher in neighborhoods with high-scoring schools compared to low-scoring schools.”

Buying the right house is about so much more than just falling in love with four walls. You have to approach buying a house sensibly, as it is a matter of serious consequence. Look at home buying the right way, and you’ll make an investment that will work in your favor for years to come.