You might already know what area you want to live in, and it’s just a matter of finding the right house. However, if you’re wanting to relocate to a new area, then you have a few more decisions to make.
Deciding where to live
When deciding where to live, you need to think about what’s most important to you. This should help you come up with a list of ‘must-haves’’ for when you start viewing properties.
As a starting point, here are a few things to consider to help narrow down your search:
Proximity to friends and family
For some people, the most important thing is to be close to friends and family. This can be really handy if you have a young family, as they can help out with child care and be there for emergency situations.
Work opportunities and commuting
Research what job opportunities there are for you in the nearby area.
Don’t forget to consider the smaller details associated with your work life. How long would the commute be? Will it mean spending over an hour stuck in traffic each day, or do you have the option to cycle or walk to work if you want to? Is there a reliable public transport service nearby?
There tends to be a correlation between reputable schools and high property prices, as the demand to live in this area is greater. Think about how much of a priority this is to you and your family - it might not be now, but it may be in the future.
If it’s high on your list of priorities, would you be willing to pay a bit more for your home? If not, can you get to the same area with a slightly longer drive?
How close do you want to be to the motorway, train station or bus stop? This may be a priority if you’re downsizing and looking to retire soon, as living near a bus stop with a regular service will help get you from A to B without having to rely on your own transport.
Where can you afford?
The cost of living differs from one region to another. Therefore, depending on the area you’re looking to move to, you could get more or less for your money. For instance, what might buy you a four-bedroom detached house in the north may only get you a one-bed flat in the south of England.
You might not mind being far away from local shops, restaurants, leisure centres etc. if you drive. However, you might want to be closer to them if you’re relying on public transport or are less mobile yourself.
Are there parks nearby or other forms of entertainment? Consider what your priorities are for amenities and ensure you can easily meet them.
Lively or laid back?
Do you like the hustle and bustle of city life, or do you enjoy sitting back and enjoying the quiet life? Making your mind up between the two can help narrow down your search. When you know your preferred lifestyle, you can search for properties based on what you prefer, whether it’s in a city centre, suburbs, small towns, or villages.
Choosing the right home for you
Once you’ve chosen a location but before you start looking at properties, we recommend making a wish list to guide you in the right direction when viewing prospective homes.
First things first, think about why you’re moving in the first place. Do you want to be closer to a certain school? Do you want a bigger garden or your own driveway?
Other criteria could include:
- More kitchen space
- Extra bedrooms
- An ensuite bathroom
- A dedicated office space
Having this list can help you decide whether the home itself is going to suit your needs, but it’s not the only thing you need to look at.
Other things you want to take into consideration include:
- What the area looks like
- How long will it take you to commute to work?
- Are there good transport links nearby?
- What local shops are near you?
- How close are you to schools and nurseries?
- Is there dedicated parking?
Once you’ve established these, you can start the fun bit: the house hunt. Remember your wish list and priorities when you’re actually viewing properties.
Now let’s think about the exterior of the home:
- Is there off-road parking?
- Is the house south-facing for the sun?
- Is there a garden?
- How secure does the house look?
- Can you see any cracks in the walls?
- Does the guttering look in good condition?
- Does the neighbour’s house look well-kept?
Once you’re inside the property, you want to either ask the following questions or find the answers for yourself:
- What energy rating is the property?
- What heating system is in place?
- How much will the council tax be?
- Can you see any mould or damp?
- Are the rooms big enough for your needs i.e. storage space?
How can we help?
A word of advice: think about your next move carefully. How long do you plan on living there for, and what changes might happen during this time? For instance, you might not have children now, but if that’s the plan, then you might want to consider being close to family and local schools.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to retire soon and want to downsize, you might want to live in a quieter area with a reliable bus route.
Hopefully, this will make the thought of moving less daunting as you’ll be approaching it from a practical point of view, helping you concentrate on what’s important to you.
By speaking to a mortgage adviser you can establish how much money you're able to borrow, which might help you determine where to live and what sort of property you can afford in this area.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend on your circumstances. The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.