For anyone looking to buy or rent a property, there are many things to consider when moving home. Besides the property itself, you need to decide on the area you’d like to move to. This could be the most important decision you will make as getting it wrong will have consequences. Without doing the necessary research when moving home will not only cause unhappiness in the family unhappy but you also face the costs of moving again.
Moving home involves many different steps and there are so much to consider before signing on the dotted line. What are the local schools and health services like? How long will my commute be to work? Is there good public transport? Are there good childcare facilities nearby and what about gyms and sports clubs? To help you through this, we’ve compiled a handy guide that explains all you need to know.
Why Is It Difficult To Look For A New Area To Move To?
If you want to move to a place nearby your current home, there isn’t too much to think about. However, deciding on the right area becomes more difficult when moving to a different part of town or across the country. In many instances, it takes time to really get to know an area well enough as many issues will not be apparent from a short visit.
What makes it even more challenging is that the housing market in the UK is highly localised. Only through effectively researching individual areas and streets can you ensure that you make the right decision. You need to know enough about the area to confidently make a quick decision on bidding if there are many interested buyers.
Choose An Area Within Your Financial Means
While shooting for the stars is always good, living beyond your means is not. The most important thing is to choose an area and property where you can comfortably afford to live in. If you want a terraced property but don’t have £2 million to spend, perhaps you should not look at Central London. You first need to determine how much you can afford and then visit property websites to find the right location for your budget.
Generally speaking, city centres are more expensive than the countryside and in the UK, properties in the South cost more than the North. London remains a pricey option as it’s up to three times more expensive than the North East of England or Wales.
Another way to measure affordability of an area is with house price to earnings ratio. This refers to how much a house costs compared to the average earnings within that area. In lower cost areas people typically earn less which evens out the comparative affordability around the country. While London is still the most expensive area, the margin is not as big as it used to be.
Related Article: How Much Can I Afford?
Moving Home: Deciding On The Type Of Property
Something else you need to remember is that prices also vary within areas. One village or suburb may cost more than another and the same applies to properties on two ends of a street. Pricing also depends largely on the type of property you’re after and includes factors such as:
- number of bedrooms
- own front door or a conversion flat
- ground floor flat or terraced house
- front and/or back garden
- garage or no garage
While some factors will certainly make your decision easier, you also need to consider potential downsides like traffic noise, flight paths and flood risk. Let’s take a closer look at some the most important things you need to check.
What’s The Neighbourhood Like?
It goes without saying that you should ideally get more inside information about the neighbourhood before moving home. Visit the area at different times of the day, during the week and on the weekend for a true indication of what to expect. Don’t be shy either, talk to the locals and get their opinions as well.
Here are a few websites you can use:
- PropertyDetective gives information on neighbourhood demographics, population density, amenities and noise pollution
- Findahood provides information on the residents in terms of income, marital status, ages and occupations
- Barclays Local Insights has many interesting facts, figures and insights about local communities
Check Local Amenities And Transport
While the above mentioned websites and estate agents provide valuable information, you really need to spend time in the area. You need to see for yourself whether you would like to live there. Visit parks, pubs, restaurants, banks and shops to get a good indication of what’s in the area.
Remember to try the local transport connections to see what it’s like for yourself. See how long it takes you to walk, cycle or drive to the nearest station especially if it’s going to be your daily commute. Look at nearby bus stops, tram stops, underground stops and other transport links with a focus on the frequency of trains and buses. Don’t always rely on others as everyone’s opinions are different.
In terms of recreation, do some online research and check out maps to find about local sports facilities, leisure centres and open spaces. If you’re a fitness fanatic, you may want to check out the local gym. See whether it’s within walking or biking distance or if you need a car or public transport.
Schools And Childcare Facilities
If you have children or planning a family, it’s essential to know more about the local primary and secondary schools. You should look at schools that are rated ‘outstanding’ and the Ofsted website can really help. For families with young children, moving home also depends on finding an area with good childcare facilities. Be sure to do thorough research before getting your heart set on a beautiful location.
Perhaps even more importantly, find out if the property you are planning to buy or rent is in the ‘catchment area’. Boundaries often change annually so you may have to call schools to get the most up-to-date information.
Flooding, Air and Noise Pollution
A crucial factor to consider when moving home is whether the property is at risk from flooding, air and noise pollution. In some cases it may even be close to a landfill site or chemical plant. Use the Environment Agency’s website for a wide range of environmental data for any postcode.
Properties on a busy road might mean easy access to shops, restaurants and other facilities but you should consider noise at the busiest times of the day. This includes road and foot traffic as you don’t want to end up in daily traffic jams or a rat race whenever you leave home.
In addition to road traffic, have you considered noise and pollution from planes? For a detailed overview of flight paths and to track planes in real time, use Planefinder. You can use PropertyDetective to check for flight paths and other potential noises and smells within a particular area.
Long-Term View When Moving Home
Considering the costs and stress involved when moving home, nobody wants to do it more than they have to. So unless you are planning on moving again soon, it’s best to take the long term approach. The golden rule is to move somewhere that you can see yourself grow into.
For many people, their home is their biggest asset even more than a pension so always bear in mind the long term value of your house. In many cases, cheap areas surrounded by expensive areas are likely to gentrify except if there is a particularly reason why they are cheap. Some examples include bad housing, motorways, chemical plants or post-industrial sites.
You can never go wrong in a good value area with decent properties and transport connections as local house prices will take years to catch up with any transport improvements. On the flip side, if a new transport connection is on the cards in the near future, nearby property prices are likely to rise above average. However, construction projects may cause disruption for quite some time or even cause problems if you decide to sell.
Moving Home With Space Centre Self Storage
Finding the right property in the best area within your budget is challenging but if you are ever in doubt, rent first before buying. And don’t forget about self storage either as it is the ideal solution between moves. To make your life slightly less stressful and for some helpful moving tips, you may want to bookmark this article.
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