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Relocating to a new area? What you need to know
Buying a home can be a daunting experience at the best of times, but if you’re relocating to an entirely new area you might actually be feeling a little nervous about the prospect.
There are lots of reasons why you might have decided to relocate somewhere new. However, to make sure your new postcode starts feeling like home quickly, follow our tips.
Do your research
Thanks to the internet, we now have all the information we could possibly need at our fingertips. If you’re thinking of moving to somewhere you don’t know very well, do your research on it first. TripAdvisor is a good option if you want reviews of local restaurants and bars, while the Guardian runs a weekly blog for people thinking of relocating to different places in the UK.
Extend your visit
If you’ve fallen in love with an area while on holiday and decided to move there permanently, chances are you’re already quite familiar with it. However, if you’re moving because of work or another necessity, it’s a good idea to get to know the place first – and the best way to do that is by actually visiting it.
Book a hotel as close as possible to the place you’re thinking of moving to. If there aren’t any available or the rates are too pricy, you could check out what’s on offer on Airbnb – a website through which people rent out their whole house or just a room. Pick this option and you get the bonus of being under the same roof as an expert who’s sure to be willing to share their expert local knowledge with you.
It’s hard to really get a feel for somewhere in just a few days – but you’ll get more familiar with the neighbourhood than if you’re just visiting for half a day. Get out and about as much as possible so you can see what the area is like at different times of day. You may find it’s peaceful during the day and then rowdy in the evening if there’s lots of restaurants and bars. Alternatively, it might be very quiet during the week and then busy during the weekends – or vice versa. These are the sort of things that can affect anything from parking to noise levels, and you’re only really going to learn about them by visiting for as long as possible.
Much ado about amenities
You may be considering locating for all manner of reasons. Perhaps you want to enjoy the buzz of city centre life, or maybe you want to escape all that and move to the country. Whatever your reasons, it’s worth checking that the place you’re considering has the amenities that are most important to you and your family. After all, while it’s nice to live near an artisan butchers, it’s not useful if you have to walk two miles to buy a pint of milk and the paper.
As a starter, it’s good to have a convenience store close by – ideally within walking distance – where you can pick up some essentials if you’re in a rush. If you’re planning to move somewhere that’s quite rural, check there’s good transport links to the nearest supermarket so you don’t have to struggle getting groceries.
If you have kids, you’ll no doubt want to find out how close the schools are, and you can use the Ofsted website to find inspection reports of the schools you’re considering, which may help you narrow your search. As well as checking how long it will take you to drive your kids to school each day – if it’s too far to walk – check out whether there’s public transport that can get them there too in case you can’t.
Finally, it’s good to familiarise yourself with the closest pub or café, as this can be a great place to meet people and get more local knowledge once you move.
The bare necessities
As well as the local amenities there are other necessities you’ll need to consider before moving, which could determine whether your new life is a dream or a nightmare. For instance, it’s worth finding out what the broadband cover and speed is like, especially if you plan to work from home from time to time or if you like to watch TV or movie streaming services. And if you need to be in the office on time each day, what’s the commute like – remember to try it during rush hour so you have a good idea of how long it will take in traffic.
While it may not be pleasant to think about, you should also consider how far away the nearest hospital, police and fire stations are. In the event of an emergency, this knowledge could be extremely valuable.
The price is right
By now you should have a real feel for the area you’re thinking of moving to. However, before you rush to buy, you could consider renting first. This gives you more time to get a feel for the place and look for the property that meets your needs and offers value for money.
If you don’t want to wait though, it’s still worth looking slightly outside the boundaries of the area you’re interested in to see if the prices are lower here. They may well go up in the future, but for now it means you don’t have to stretch yourself too much.
For help picking the right mortgage for your needs, speak to one of our mortgage advisors.