Many of us develop a clear picture of what type of house we’d like to live in, whether it’s in the short-term or our dream home. But it’s not just the property that matters when we’re moving. We also need to think about where we would want to live.
None of us knows with absolute certainty how long we will stay in a place. I do believe, however, that we should enter into a house move expecting to be there for a substantial number of years. That way, we’re less likely to settle. Too much is at stake for settling.
I’ve highlighted 7 considerations when thinking about where we’re going to sink our substantial deposits and monthly mortgage repayments…
(1) Property type
Yes, I know, I started this article off saying there’s more to moving home than the type of property we’d like to live in.
Nonetheless, there’s no point looking in area X, for example, if you want a four-bedroom detached with a large garden, when area X’s properties are all rows of terraced houses with small backyards.
Knowing the type of property you’d be most happy in is a great start for narrowing down your search.
Can we afford the type of property we’re after?
This is not just about how much of a deposit we’ve scraped together, or how much monthly income we have. It’s about how far our money can go.
Area X’s semi-detached houses might cost half as much again as the semis in area Y, simply because they’re different locations.
More city-central localities are usually more expensive than those further out, unless you’re heading into the leafy suburbs or commuter villages with more space.
If you’re like me, you’re going to be fully dependent on that monthly wage packet for a good few years, if you want to stay in that great new pad you’re purchasing.
For this reason, we have to make sure work is within easy reach. This will vary from one individual to the next. A commute is measured differently by each of us.
I can’t stand the idea of a stressful cross-city journey in traffic for more than 20 minutes, so I’m opting for a more rural journey of half-an-hour, avoiding rush hours where possible.
Others might think an hour either way is fine.
Weather is also an important consideration here. Does the location have good transport links in case of bad weather? Can work go on without you making it in if the snow is really severe?
(4) Local amenities
We all need food and water, and no matter how much we might protest, we’re reliant on electricity and gas too. What’s it like where you’re property-searching? Is there a local supermarket you could walk to if need be, or some small shops?
From local experience, I’d also say to remember broadband and mobile networks. I’ve lived on a street that, to my utter astonishment, had a shockingly slow internet connection speed.
Now, we’re looking at a location whose coverage for my mobile network is non-existent, and I’m in the contract until October.
(5) Local experience
We’ve worked out that lovely little village has all we might need, but what about everything we would want?
You might love weekly live music nights – stick to the city centre or a suburb with great public transport connections.
You might love nipping into clothes stores regularly to pick up a new item – so don’t go to that provincial market town!
This is wholly dependent on your hobbies and pleasures. I love to walk, garden, cook, bake, write, read… I’m pretty self-sufficient given a roof over my head and a patch of earth.
Others amongst us will require a bit more occupying and outside stimulus.
(6) Family and friends
I’m from a close-knit family. I would hate to be somewhere too far from them, and definitely couldn’t cope if I couldn’t call them (that pesky network coverage again!).
If you’re the same, or see a select group of old friends frequently, moving too far afield wouldn’t be wise. This is similar to being able to get to and from work.
Do you want to be travelling an hour or more to visit pals?
Of course, if you’re after a four-bedroom house and have no kids (at least, not yet), then there’s always the sleepover solution for your houseparties and evening meals out.
The internet brings us many annoyances (social media procrastination, a barrage of emails at work, an unreliable connection…), but it has also opened up so many opportunities.
One of these is being able to check out an area from the comfort of our [current] home.
Whack on the laptop and get Googling for local crime rates or employment rates. Check out the average age of residents in your desired location. What about school Ofsted reports if you’ve got sprogs? They’re online too!
Now there really is no excuse for going in blind. Begin your research in the study or living room, then get out and visit the place you’re considering.
Alex and I visit our pinpointed locale every few weeks. We have been at weekends and weekdays – it’s important to go on different days. It’s also useful to go at different times of day, and at different times of year.
It’s a great excuse to get out and eat somewhere new or take a different walk, and if you’re a couple or family, it’s all about sharing new experiences together too.
Do you agree with my list? Have you any other considerations to add? As ever, I’d love to hear your pointers and advice in the comments below. And don’t forget, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram too =D