2. Understand your time horizon
As a shorter-term buyer, you might consider whether the place is a good investment, and if it's the kind of property that's going to be attractive for the next buyer. "What concerns you now is going to be a concern in a few years," Hillman says. A house near train tracks, for instance, is probably not what most people are looking for.
But for someone who's planning to stay longer, a good school system or larger lot size might make up for the trains thundering past — especially, perhaps especially, if the buyer grew up near train tracks and got used to it.