Research the area before you move
Sometimes, for one reason or another, you have to move out of an area you have lived in for a long time.
You might be relocating to a new town, or shifting inside the same town to meet the demands of new circumstances.
In either case, you are likely to be unsure about where to go.
Jumping into the car and inspecting the various neighbourhoods is one option. But doing this will leave you with little more than an idea of what a suburb looks like – rather than what it is like to live in.
Usually, a little more research is required.
The obvious factors of personal taste and choice aside, it is wise to draw up a checklist of things to look for while investigating a new town or area: ■ If you have children, or plan to have them, what is the quality of the schools in the area and how close are they to where you are thinking of buying? Also look carefully at school zones. You may think you are in the right zone, only to discover, too late, that you have missed out by a street or two. ■ What sort of people live in the area? Are they predominantly families, retirees, young couples, or transient people? A student area may not be suitable if you have small children who will be disturbed by loud noise. ■ Is the style of the houses or apartments in the area appealing – or suitable? Buying a character home, in a street full of such properties, could land you with a maintenance problem. ■ What are the local crime statistics? Is there too much traffic noise? Does the area have a regular bus service? Is there going to be any major construction in the area in the near future? Are there too many one-way systems that could cause problems for your visitors? ■ How have property values behaved in the area during the past few years? Is it becoming a popular area, or has there been a lot of house movement? ■ When you drive around the area, do you see many ‘‘For sale’’ or ‘‘Sold’’ signs?
Remember, too, that having a local dairy and fish and chip shop can be handy if you don’t want to drive long distances to pick up takeaways or forgotten groceries.
If you need help in identifying a desirable neighbourhood, ask a local real estate agent for advice.
The more ground work you do now, the more heartache you are likely to save yourself in the future.
Homework: Finding a home close to parks and schools needs a little research.