For many of us, our residence is our single biggest investment. Even when we have other investments, buying our home can be a charged experience. Buying a home means many things and is different for each of us. But for all of us, it often reflects our values, hopes and who we are.
When looking at a home investment we all want it to be a "good" investment. That usually means getting it for a good price and expecting that it will increase in value over time. If we sell at a higher price, we make a profit and return on our investment. At the same time it is useful to consider other things that really may be a different kind of "return": the pleasure I get from my garden, or being able to make changes I want without asking a landlord, or having the ideal kitchen, or a safe place for my family.
When buying residential property as part of our due diligence, we should be sure the home is inspected by qualified inspectors that include pest and termite, general contractor, chimney inspectors and others. For country property we will also usually want a well inspection, septic inspection, and perhaps a survey or geotechnical inspection. It is also important to check government records at building or planning departments. For condos and townhomes you need to look at Homeowner Association documents and their Financial Statements.