Choosing your next house is a really exciting time. You’re glued to Right Move everyday envisioning how you’d decorate and accessorize each and every room. And as great as this is, it’s also important to look beyond the property itself and think about the area you’re planning on buying in.
It’s not just a case of liking a town or village. Have you thought about how the area is really going to work for you? Here’s a few things to keep in mind and look into when choosing your next property and committing to your dream home.
Check out the neighbourhood
You might know a little bit about the area – or areas – in question. Perhaps you’ve driven through them a few times, but it’s a good idea to spend a morning or afternoon there and take a walk around. Visit the local pubs, shops and restaurants to get a feel for the community and perhaps speak to a few locals with any questions you might have.
It’s also important to visit at different times of the day. That way you can decide if it still feels safe and has the same atmosphere at night, or see whether your street becomes overcrowded with cars during school pick-up and drop-off times. Once you’ve made your visits, you’ll know in your gut whether it could feel like home.
Check the crime rates
No matter how nice a property might be, if it’s a diamond in the rough you might struggle to settle there. Check the post code’s crime rate using CIA’s local property stats toolto ensure that you’re not looking into a crime-ridden area. This tool gives you the areas official crime rate and it also goes as far as to let you know how many crimes have been committed in the area and what these crimes were. Living in a high crime area can have a big impact on things such as your car insurance, sending your policy premiums rocketing. For a low crime area, you should be looking at a rate of 10 or below.
What’s the average house price?
You might have your heart set on a certain area that you’ve been searching for property within. You’ll want to be sure that your budget realistically matches up to the average house prices in the area. If not, take a look at the neighbouring villages or towns that are just a stone’s throw away. You might be surprised at how much the prices jump or drop.
If you think you’ve found the right property, you want to be sure that you’re getting it for the right price. If it’s much cheaper than the rest of the properties on the street, there’s probably a good reason why and you should spend some time exploring what that is. Perhaps it’s at the bottom of a hill and so is in a flood zone, which may be a good enough reason to look elsewhere.
What questions should you ask the seller?
So, you’ve done your research on the area and you’ve found a house that you’re interested in. You have every right to ask all the nosey questions on your mind – and you should! Quiz the seller on how many viewings the property has had, how many offers it’s had, why the vendors are moving and how long it’s been on the market.
You could also ask whether there’s ever been any neighbourly disputes and if the property doesn’t have its own driveway, ask about any allotted parking spaces in the area. Put your investigative head on because if there’s ever a time to be overly cautious and picky, it’s when you’re buying a house.
Good luck and happy house hunting!