For most people the first question they ask themselves is “Where is my ideal location?”
Obviously, we all have in our minds a certain location and in some instances, I have come across a specific street! This question if thought through properly should lead to lots of other questions which I am going to go through with you.
The most important question you need to ask should be “Is this location realistic?” for several reasons including:
I know I am stating the obvious, but you can only buy a property that you can afford and 9 times out of 10 this will be determined by how much your current home is worth and what you finally sell it for unless you are a first-time buyer, in which it comes down to how big your deposit is and how much you are able to borrow.
Firstly, please be realistic when picking areas/ types of property as it goes without saying that properties differ massively in value depending on location. With this in mind, you need to look at the area you want to move to and research it thoroughly to see exactly how far your budget will go. For example: £300,000 might get you a 4-bed semi-detached in one area but only a 2-bed terrace 5 minutes down the road. What’s the difference – post code. Yes, this is frustrating to say the least but it’s at this point that you need to decide what is more important to you – property or location and which of these things you are willing to compromise on?
Schools / Catchment areas
If this move is something you are planning as you want to start a family and need a bigger house, then a big factor for you should be the local schools in the area.
Property websites such as Rightmove will tell you which schools are local to the area, you can also go onto LEA websites to research Ofsted reports and in some cases reviews from parents etc. Bear in mind getting your chosen school can be a bit of a lottery so don’t base your move purely on just one school but have back up options that work for you in terms of distance, quality and most importantly streets/areas that appear child friendly.
It is just as important if you already have children who are happily settled in a school to remember moving to a different area means you could end up being outside of the catchment area creating longer journey times to and from school or worse you could end up having to move your children to a new school causing upheaval to everyone involved especially your children.
Work commute / Transport links
While you don’t have to worry about catchment areas remember you can be adding time to journeys to and from work impacting your daily routine if you pick a location that is further out than where you currently are. This could also have a knock-on effect if you’re reliant on public transport, you might find there aren’t any direct buses or trains, or your nearest station is no longer around the corner. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to have to walk /travel longer than necessary! Call me lazy but I’m sure most people would agree.
What you need to ask yourself is “are you willing to compromise on any of the above to get your dream location” If the answer is “yes” then you need to think about potentially compromising on the actual property.
Does moving to your perfect location mean losing out on outdoor space, an en-suite bathroom etc. If it does, then I would suggest writing a list of all the things you would like, think about whether or not you actually need them and eliminate the ones you can live without until you have a realistic list of requirements.
Yes, it’s all about that awful word “compromise” rearing its ugly head time and time again but as mentioned before it’s very rare that you can get everything you want. While this might seem a depressing thought or off putting it’s better to do your research in the beginning than end up somewhere that doesn’t work or makes you unhappy. Cliched quote alert courtesy of Benjamin Franklin: “Failure to prepare, is preparing to fail” Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
Wow – who knew there would be so much to consider when thinking about location.
In all honesty all these points for the most part are common sense and as you start to do your research the answers will become obvious and you will just know what is going to work and what you are willing to compromise on.