You like the place you’re at now, but it’s become routine. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s your surroundings. You’re ready for something new. And, there are few places in the area that provide the “thrill” that you’re looking for.
Maybe you’re moving for a new job, or because you need more space. Whatever the reason, here are a few things to consider before choosing a new place to live.
Research The Local Economy
This can be tough if you’re a new buyer. You’ll want to really check out the neighborhood to be sure that it’s what you want, and that there are employers in the area that you can work for and that you’d want to work for.
So, the first question is: What type of properties are there and how easy is it to find what you want?
If it seems almost impossible to find the type of home you want, then odds are this is not the neighborhood for you. Even if you do happen to find a suitable place, or a place you absolutely fall in love with, it may be out of your price range. And, once you’re in, you have few options to swap it for something else if you want to “step up” somewhere down the line.
Next, you should figure out whether there’s much of this type of property on the market. Use Zoopla and Rightmove to do your research. If there’s a dearth of properties on the market, that’s not a good sign. It could mean the economy is sluggish and that properties move slowly. As a buyer, this could work in your favor.
But, remember, if you need a job in the area, or if you expect to sell later on, this would become a major drawback.
Now, can you afford the home you want?
You can find a lot of stories in the press about what the average property price is. But, that doesn’t tell you specifically what you’ll pay. A three-bedroom will generally cost you more than a 2-bedroom. You might spend £350,000 in one neighborhood but over £1 million in another.
This is why it’s also important to have a budget before you start shopping for homes. And, you should get prequalified with a lender so you can move quickly on a home you like.
Finally, is the area all it’s cracked up to be? Sometimes, you fall in love with something in the beginning only to be disappointed by the area later on. Maybe you didn’t notice the noisy neighbors in the middle of the day when you always drove through the neighborhood. Or, maybe you only saw one street and failed to notice the noisy park around the corner, or the fire station.
A lot of these problems can be solved by working with a good real estate agent. You should spend some time getting to know one and check out new info from Bridgfords to give you ideas on the types of properties that might be worth a look in your preferred neighborhood.
How To Investigate a Neighborhood
Simply driving through a neighborhood during the day isn’t going to do it. You need to investigate. But how? You don’t want to just bang on doors, or do you? Believe it or not, this could be a useful strategy, so long as you approach people politely.
If you’re thinking of buying a home, talk to the neighbors. Make sure you’re dressed professionally (yes, this matters) and just walk right up to the door. When they answer, explain to them that you’re thinking of buying the house next door and if they’d mind if you asked them a few questions.
Most people will help you out.
Ask what the neighborhood is like, what their favorite thing about it is, and what they don’t like.
Keep your questions short, to the point, and open-ended. Get them talking. Then, pay attention to their answers and see if this is the type of neighborhood you’d want to live in.
Where Will You Work?
Probably one of the most important considerations when planning a move is deciding where you’ll work and how you’ll get there. If you don’t know what your work situation is, nothing else matters because you won’t be able to pay for the new place.
So, spend some time researching the employment opportunities in the area. If you have friends in the new area, ask them to help you. Odds are, if they’ve lived there for a while, they know who all the employers are or at least know of them.
Failing that, you can search for businesses yourself. No, you won’t get the same “inside track” as if you had a recommendation from a friend, but it’s better than nothing. If you’re buying a home in the area, you can also ask your real estate professional – he or she is likely to know.
Amy Yates is a mother of two young kids and an Army Wife of several years. She often writes about life as a military family, sharing her views and tips with others in a similar situation.