check out the local area

If you have managed to save a deposit to buy your first home and are now vetting prospective new areas for your new home it is relatively easy to check information about the local area, schools (it is all available online),  amenities such as parks and sports centres. Basics like school districts are no longer tricky or difficult to find: there are ample resources online giving detailed information about schools, scores and even parent reviews.

Estate agents often include local amenities in the description of a home they are selling. So if a home is near green, open space or good schools that will be a factor in the pricing, and how popular it is likely to be with other potential buyers.

But equally check out anything that may have a negative impact on value such as if the area is liable to flooding, near an airport or motorway that might cause noise pollution.

There is also plenty of information online about what it is like to live there; insider information that even just a few years ago would have been difficult to find if you didn’t already live in the area. Of course some people don’t take the leap to buy in a new area before trying it out – many people considering moving house to an area they don’t know will put their belongings in self storage and rent a place before committing fully to buying a property.

Here are some top tips before you buy a home in a new area:

Crime Rates

No area is crime free but the level of crime is an indicator of how desirable an area is. Your budget is likely to influence what level you find acceptable but so too is the type of crime category such as violent vs. non-violent crime

Internet/Mobile Service

Almost all of us would ideally want good mobile phone reception but if you also want to live in a remote area then there may be a trade-off. Nevertheless, it is good to know what to expect in terms of mobile reception and internet broadband speeds in an area. This could be particularly important for those who work all or some of the time from home.

Planning Issues

If you are keen on buying a property to renovate and extend then you might want to look at the local authority’s planning portal and check out how renovations are viewed in the area. Some towns and villages only allow properties to be extended in keeping with the local vernacular. Others only allow contemporary extensions. Don’t assume you will be allowed to make certain changes just because similar properties in the area have already done so because regulations change and what might have been allowed 10 years ago may not be now.

Future developments

When buying a house your solicitor will check whether any future developments might be taking place that would affect your enjoyment of the property but don’t wait until that late stage to find out that a high-speed railway is being built nearby, or a large industrial complex; or a housing estate that will change the rural nature of a village. Check this out yourself in advance – a simple online search or browse through area plans at the local governments offices or Town Hall should suffice. Watch out in the news for items on new towns, new airports etc too.

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