If you tell someone that you are thinking of buying a new home, there are two common phases that often come up.
People will say ‘the three most important things are location, location and location’ and ‘always buy the worst house on the best street.’
Finding your dream home can be stressful if you are sold on a house or flat, but don’t know too much about the area. Hopefully this guide will help you think carefully about the local amenities that matter to you and reduce your chances of experiencing buyers regret.
If you still aren’t sure after reading our guide, then why not consider renting in the area for six months to get a feel for the place? If you feel the location isn’t right during this trial period, then at least you won’t have gone to the expense and hassle of buying a house only to sell it shortly after.
When figuring out whether a property is affordable, it’s important to think of other costs you will have to pay, aside from the mortgage. Council tax is one such consideration, so why not use this handy council tax finder to figure out how much you’d have to pay. If the property has a lower energy rating than your current home, or is bigger, then you could find that your gas and electricity bills go up. It is well worth thinking about this before putting an offer in on a property.
Does your new area offer good employment opportunities? You may not be considering changing your job right now, but you could do in the future, so it’s a good idea to bear this in mind. If the area relies heavily on one industry, manufacturing for example, then you’ll need to consider what would happen if that industry ceased to exist. Would this make it harder for you to sell your property in the future?
If you commute to work then you’ll need to consider how long this will take you in rush hour from your new location. If you’re planning on using public transport, then it’s vital that your new area has good transport links. One website that allows you to estimate how long it will take to commute by car, train or by walking is smartasset. If you are looking to commute into London then the website Commutefrom.com will give you information on how long this could take you and the cost of season tickets etc. The best test is probably trying the route you would take a few times to see what it would be like. An extra few minutes every day might not seem much on paper, but doing it twice a day might start to annoy you after a while.
Even if you’re not thinking of commuting, having good transport links could be really important. If you don’t have a car, then having a bus stop, train or tram link close will be essential for you.
Shops and facilities
When looking for a new home, you need to ask yourself whether the area has good shopping facilities. The location of the nearest bank, leisure centre and supermarket are all things you might want to consider. You might think that not having a supermarket close by is something that you could live with, but if you suddenly needed something like cough medicine (or even something to eat) late at night, you might not appreciate having to drive twenty minutes or so to the nearest supermarket. Likewise, if you like your nightlife to be bustling with lots of restaurants and places to go out in the evening, then you probably won’t enjoy living somewhere with only one pub either.
If you want know to what the crime rates are like in the new location, or want to compare the crime rates of two locations, you can easily do this by using the free crime statistics tool. You may want to stay clear of areas that are renowned for burglaries or anti-social behaviour.
Proximity to loved ones
If you enjoy seeing your family and friends regularly, then you might want not want to pick a property that is far away from them, unless you’re prepared to travel. If you choose somewhere an hour or more’s drive away, then you probably won’t be popping over to see them several times a week and won’t be able to rely on them for things like childcare. You would, of course, be able to make new friends in the area that you move to, but this would take effort on your part and it could take time for you to build meaningful friendships.
Schools and colleges
If you have children living at home, then whether an area has good schools and colleges is probably going to be a top priority for you. If you use the free locating website you’ll be able to see a map of your area with all the schools highlighted and their Ofsted ratings displayed.