Safe as houses: What are your priorities when looking for a new home?
Everything from local crime rates to noise levels influence people looking for a new home – there’s far more to it than just ‘location, location, location’.
There’s so much to consider when buying a new home; your budget, securing the best mortgage, finding a property that suits your lifestyle and, of course, the all-important ‘location, location, location’. But for most Brits, the absolute top priority is finding a neighbourhood where they feel safe.
Our research* has found that 60% of us list local safety as one of the most important factors when searching for a new house. This isn’t really a surprise though – safety was certainly one of my main criteria when I was buying a place of my own. After all, the place we should feel safest in is our own home.
If you’re currently on the lookout for your dream property, finding out about the local area is a must – and there are a few ways you can do this. The first and most obvious is to spend time there. Get to your viewing early so you can take a walk around the neighbourhood. Look out for things like graffiti, smashed glass or other evidence that it might be a problem area. It’s worth visiting at different times of the day, so if your first viewing was during the day, come back in the evening. Don’t forget to ask the estate agent and vendors about what they think of the neighbourhood (not that they’re likely to say anything negative!).
Another way to assess the safety of somewhere is to take a look at the local crime statistics. Police.uk allows you to do this – just search for the postcode or name of the place you’re hoping to move to and it will tell you how many crimes have been reported there in the last month. You’ll also get a detailed breakdown of what crimes have been committed.
Of course, crime can happen anywhere, so you shouldn’t automatically abandon your dreams of moving somewhere just because of some figures. Instead, use what you’ve learnt to take precautions.
For example, if a high volume of vehicle crimes have been reported in the area, make sure your car is equipped with an immobiliser, alarm and steering wheel lock – and prioritise looking for a property with a secure garage. If burglary appears to be the problem, check that all the external doors of the house you’re viewing can be locked securely, and that the windows all have locks. You could also ask the vendors of the property whether they would consider fitting a burglar alarm – or leave room in your budget to do it yourself
Safety is not the only thing Brits have on their minds when looking for a new home though, and having somewhere to park is high on the agenda for a third of respondents. Another of the most popular
priorities is proximity to local transport links, which suggests that as important as it is to us to find the perfect neighbourhood, we also want to be able to get away from it easily whenever the mood takes us!
*Consumer Intelligence questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,061 adults aged 18 and over between 5th and 6th November 2013.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.