Looking for your next home?
With all this time spent at home, if you were already considering moving to your next house then by now you’re probably desperate for a change of scenery! With house moves and the property industry in a strange place at the moment, it might not be the best time to put your home on the market and start house-hunting. But there’s no harm in planning for the future…
When looking for a new property and potentially moving to a new area, it’s really important to have a personal checklist of things to tick off and consider before you commit. After all, moving house is one of the biggest changes you can make in your life, and a mortgage is probably the biggest expense. It’s well worth getting right, so use this time to plan as much as possible.
Of course, the first place to start with a house move is budgets. What is your realistic budget and what is your absolute maximum? If you have a particular area in mind that you’d like to move to, it’s a good idea to check out it’s average house prices so you know what kind of property you’ll be able to afford. You’ll want to be sure that your budget realistically matches up. If not, you could always take a look at the neighbouring villages or towns.
Not only this, but if you do stumble across the right property, you want to be sure that you are getting it for the right price, or a good deal. CIA Landlord Insurance has a great local property stats tool where you can check average house prices by entering the postcode for the area that you’re looking at.
Consider average house prices
Check crime rates
No one wants to live in a crime-ridden area but especially not families or elderly people. Sometimes, you might not realise how much crime goes on in an area until you live there. CIA’s local property stats tool also allows you to check a certain area’s crime rate. It tells you how many crimes have been committed in the area and what those crimes were.
If living in a safe area is important to you, then you want to be looking for an area with a rate of 10 or below. The lower the better. Living in an area with high crime will also have a big impact on things such as your car insurance too, meaning your policy premiums will probably increase.
When it’s safe for us all to travel freely, take a trip or two to the neighbourhood you’d like to move to and take a good walk around at different times of the day. Do the roads get very busy in rush hour? Do the streets around the schools get blocked with cars during pick-up and drop-off times? Does it still feel safe at night?
Live like a local for a day and visit the local amenities and try and imagine yourself being a part of the community. Perhaps even talk to a few of the locals and see how their experience of living in the area is. With this knowledge under your belt, you’ll know in your gut whether the area could possibly one day feel like home.
Get to know the neighbourhood
Write a list of questions
When you do finally come to find a property that you think could be the one, don’t be shy to ask a long list of questions. As mentioned, a house is an enormous purchase and commitment. Take the time to make sure that it’s right!
Make a list of questions to put to the seller around the history of the house and it’s time on the market. Find out how many viewings it’s had and how many offers, if any. Find out how long it’s been on the market and if it seems like a long time, find out why. Has there ever been any disputes with neighbours? Are there allotted parking spaces? It’s also okay to ask why the vendors are moving. Be armed with all the information you could possibly need. These questions will just scratch the surface.
You can afford to be picky when it comes to finding a new home, and the more time you can spend preparing to take this step, the better. Life might be on hold right now, but that certainly doesn’t mean we can’t plan for the future and hit the ground running when it’s possible.