Finding the right home is one thing, but finding the right area is quite another. In fact, even a dream home can turn into a bit of a nightmare if you find you are struggling to warm to the area around it. And while Rightmove might be an amazing resource for finding houses, it falls flat when helping you assess the merits of different locations. So if you’re still mulling over the right area for you to set down fresh roots, then read on, because we’ve got some great advice on narrowing down your options, and making the right decision.
Can I afford to live in this area?
The first thing you need to do is establish the size of mortgage you could potentially secure. You’ll need to look at your income, outgoings and savings in detail. There’s a useful affordability calculator over at the HOA website that can help you do this.
If you’re finding the process complex, then get in touch with the Evolve team. We can help you look at your income and expenses, and make sure you’re including everything you need to consider. We can also show you the kinds of mortgages you could then go for, so you can understand how that will affect your budget.
Once you’ve got a reasonable estimate of what you can afford in terms of monthly outgoings, and mortgage payments, you can start to look at your favourite property app to get an idea of what kind of property you could afford in different areas.
Don’t choose a house first, and an area second.
It’s easy to be drawn into snap decisions when looking to buy a house. Especially when you’ve got your eye on a second or third rung of the ladder property. Because these kinds of houses, with their potential to fit in an office room, space for a growing family, and a good-sized garden, often get snapped up within days of going on the market, especially if they’re in a desirable area. It’s not uncommon to see a bidding war these days.
However, even a perfect house is no guarantee you’ll love the area around it. So before you arrange a viewing, or put an offer in sight-unseen, it’s vital you do your homework, and your paperwork, and even get some of the prep done for your mortgage.
Research your potential locations.
You can find out a great deal about a place online these days. Everything from doing a Google Maps walk around, to reading articles and reviews. You can even sign up to local Facebook groups to get the insiders viewpoint of what it’s like living there.
But what digital research can’t tell you is how you’ll feel about the area. So before committing to a location, take the time to visit. Get a feel for the place, and see if it lives up to your expectations. Oh, and don’t forget to look into the practicalities, such as school access, what kinds of shops are nearby, and whether there’s a gym nearby. See what kinds of restaurants, bars and other amenities are on offer. And if they aren’t, weigh up how important that would be in your decision to move.
Think about what space you’ll need to support your new lifestyle.
Will you require room for a home office? Space for a growing family? We’re living in a time when our houses aren’t just living spaces, but for many of us, workspaces too. If there’s a large enough garden, you may be able to add an office, or even convert a garage. If you can create a list of ‘must-haves’ that are dealbreakers for you, it will also help you narrow down affordable areas when searching (and budgeting) for your property.
Think about the future.
Remote working might be on the horizon right now, but are you sure it will be the norm for you going forward? For many, it could well be of course. However, some employers are also looking at hybrid working, and even complete returns to the office at some point in the future. So check your employers’ plans, look at the feasibility of commuting should you need it, and assess whether your new location could work should your employment, or travel arrangements, change.
Whether you’re ready to look at your budget, or itching to put your offer in, Evolve FS can help. From getting your finances in order, to securing you a great mortgage deal on your dream home, our friendly advisers are ready to help you navigate this exciting process. Contact us today for a free consultation.