Location, Location, Location: How to research a new area

When moving to a new area it is important to do as much background research as possible to make sure it meets your needs

Researching a new area

There are lots of things to consider when choosing somewhere to live, such as transport links, local amenities, schools and even crime rates, so it is vital to check these out before buying a property.

It is also important to consider how location can affect the resale possibility of any future home, as you don’t want to wait forever to sell the property when the time comes. A good location is essential to secure a sale and smaller properties may be easier to sell than larger ones.

Here are some few things to consider when choosing somewhere to live:

  • Get a feel for the area by walking around it at different times of day, but don’t just stick to the main high streets, walk down side streets and look at the houses to see if they are well maintained or in need of repair.
  • If you’re a total newcomer, stay over in a local B&B so you can get a real feel for the area.
  • Check out the local amenities, such as shops, hospitals, and leisure facilities. If an area is full of good restaurants, cafes and schools then it shows it is thriving but this could be reflected in house prices too.
  • Remember if a property is near main roads, pubs, clubs or restaurants, metro or railway lines or underneath a flight path it can be noisy.
  • Also, check to see if the property is located near a pylon, a substation  or a sewerage treatment plant, as these could all cause future issues.
  • Ask locals what it’s like to live there and get a feel of the community - does it seem a friendly place to live?
  • Check out schools in the area by looking at performance tables at the Department for Education and Skills and Ofsted inspection reports to see how local schools are performing.        
  • Consider transport links - are the decent and are you able to commute if necessary?
  • If you spot a policeman on his beat, ask him about local crime and where the majority of trouble comes from.
  • To check the crime rates in your area go to UpMyStreet, where you can also find out neighbourhood profiles.
  • Get to know local estate agents as they can recommend desirable areas and give advice about house prices in your chosen area.
  • Remember that property prices are affected by local infrastructure -  public transport, schools, medical and shopping amenities, so contact your local council to see if there are any plans for redevelopment in the area. They can also tell you if there are any local planning applications.
  • You should also check out conservation areas and details of an area's land before purchasing a property.
  • Be aware of any environmental issues by typing the property's postcode into Homecheck, which will tell you if the area is at risk of flooding, subsidence or has any pollution issues.
  • Look at the local press to see if they are reporting on any specific issues in the area, for example parking restrictions, new transport links as these could all affect the price of a property.
  • Consider looking at properties on the boundaries of the area you are interested in as they could be considerably cheaper than those within a desirable postcode.
  • If you are considering buying a property in the countryside then consider how close you are to transport links and amenities.

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