Thought of a location should begin with the birth of the home idea, even if the purchase-money be not immediately available. We should not only take sufficient time to study conditions and scheme carefully for the home, but must sagaciously bear in mind that where real estate is in active demand anxiety to purchase stiffens prices. To bide one's time may mean a considerable saving. However, life, as we plan now to live it, is short enough at most, and we should not cheat ourselves out of too much immediate happiness by waiting for the money-saving opportunity.
The question of neighborhood, if we decide to remain within city limits, is a difficult one. In most of the larger places no one can accurately foretell the future of even the most attractive residence district. Factories and business houses may not obtrude, but flats are almost sure to come. Few cottages are being constructed in cities, partly because of lack of demand, but principally because they do not pay sufficient income on the investment.
Consequently the houses that are to be had are seldom modern. Sometimes they pass into the hands of careless tenants and the neighborhood soon shows deterioration. Still, if we are determined to remain in the city and take our chances, it is possible by careful investigation to discover congenial surroundings. Many of the essential tests of the suburban home that we shall discuss hereafter will apply also to the house in a strictly residence district of a large city; practically all of them to the house in a smaller town.
The chances are, however, that we shall choose the suburb. But before we desert, or whatever our shelf in the apartment building may be, we may well remind ourselves that we are also to desert some of the things that have made city life enjoyable. For one thing, with all our growling at the landlord, we have been able to cast upon him many burdens that we are now to take upon ourselves. Some of our sarcasms are quite certain to come home to roost. The details of purchasing fuel, of maintaining heat, of making repairs, are now to come under our jurisdiction, and we shall see whether we manage these duties better than the man who is paid a lump sum to assume them.