Whether it’s your first home or your fifth, buying a house is an exciting process for anyone. As you’ll be living, working and potentially raising children in the area however, location is a decision you won’t want to take lightly.
Home ownership has in fact dropped further in the UK than any other EU country since the financial crisis, with young adults in particular needing to carefully manage their finances to get on the property ladder. If everything is looking good for you, here are five factors to think about when choosing where to set up camp.
Unless you have the flexibility to work from home or on a part-time basis, you’ll probably be commuting twice a day, five days a week.
It can take up a lot of your time, so consider whether you’d be prepared to travel to and from your potential new property regularly. It could be worthwhile trying out a test run during peak hours to give yourself a more accurate idea of what to expect.
It’s a good idea to find out what schools are in the local area, whether you do or don’t have kids. Positive Ofsted reports will tell you if a school is a good place to send your little ones, while high demand could also mean even higher levels of traffic around pick-up and drop-off times.
Houses inside catchment areas can cost more than those just outside, so make sure to find out where your home falls.
The lifestyle you lead will influence the kind of amenities you want to be close to — as well as those you want to avoid. While most of us will want to be relatively close to a food shop, others may also want to be nearby to nightlife or parks.
Consider what pleases or frustrates you about where you live now and weigh up the differences.
Ultimately, we all want to feel safe in our surroundings. See if you can access crime stats from the local police station – rather than a deal-hungry seller or estate agent – to help you accurately assess whether you’d be happy in the area.
You may also want to ask yourself whether you’d feel comfortable walking around at night or leaving your car on the road.
Value for money
Any house represents a significant investment, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a fair price. If you’ve got your eye on a specific property, research similar ones in the area to make sure you’re not being overcharged.
If you’re flexible about the city, town or village you settle in, compare those nearby to see if you can get more for your money elsewhere.
Do you think you’ve found your dream home? If it ticks all of the boxes above, you could be on to a winner.