16 Mar 2017
For many first-time buyers, getting onto the property ladder can be difficult; house prices are continuing to rise and the cost of living isn’t likely to decline, so it’s taking longer to save for a deposit. With this in mind, buying your first property can put you under enormous pressure – making the right decisions seems more and more important when you’ve been working towards the end goal for years.
Before even beginning to look at properties, first-time buyers are faced with the struggle of knowing where to settle down. Here are a few things to consider when deciding on an area to settle down…
Naturally, one of the most important factors in choosing an area to live is whether or not you can afford it. As a general rule, the most desirable locations are also the most expensive, so it’s worth branching out to nearby towns to find something within your price range.
Spend a day exploring the area before you start to look at the properties for sale, as this will give you a feel for the environment, and whether you can picture yourself living there long term.
For many people, choosing an area to move to is largely dependent on employment opportunities. If you’re not already governed by a shortlist of locations, it might be worth doing some research to find out where your skills are most in demand; this is particularly useful in industries like public service and education.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to stay in your current role, you’ll need to consider locations that are close to work. If you can’t afford to buy in the city, which is likely for most, it’s worth looking at your transport options and whether you’d be able to commute with ease from the location you’re interested in.
If you’re looking to settle down in your first home, you might also be thinking about starting a family in the next few years. It’s a great idea to plan ahead for this kind of life event, and consider the quality of the schools in the areas you’re interested in.
If you’re satisfied that the local schools are good enough, you should also check that the properties you’re looking at are within the catchment areas. This will save you a lot of stress a few years down the line when you’re trying to secure places at your preferred schools.
When moving to a new area, many people overlook social factors. But you should be mindful of whether or not the location you’re interested in offers opportunities for you to network and develop your social circle. If the area if predominantly populated by retirees, it might not be right for first-time buyers; similarly, a student town might not offer the relaxed lifestyle suited to young families.
Finally, you should check whether the area you’re thinking about moving to offers the kind of amenities that you’d want close to you. For many of us, this might mean checking out the local gym, supermarkets and the shopping centre.
In the interest of building a community, as mentioned above, you might also want to look for groups or classes that you might be able to join. These might take the form of exercise classes, book clubs, or comedy nights, all of which will help you to connect with likeminded people.
By taking all of these factors into consideration, you’ll gain a better understanding of whether or not a location is right for you to settle down. You’ll also feel much more prepared for having done your research and will settle in more quickly when the time comes to move in. We’ve also got a number of useful resources on our website that will help first-time buyers prepare for their move, including a Moving House Checklist.