If schools are a factor, think about catchment areas. Our Web Site provides details of schools and their performance tables from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), and the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).
Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)
Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
If you want convenient amenities on hand, a rural location might seem an idyllic prospect but if grocery shops and leisure facilities are important, you’re more likely to find these in large villages or towns. Visit the Central Office of Information’s Directgov website to access the widest range of public services and information online.
Noise can be a major turn off, but bear in mind it can be difficult to escape it entirely in this day and age: roads, rail and air are all noise pollutants that affect rural villages as well as towns. Traffic can be a big issue and a road that may seem quiet on a weekend, could sound more like the M25 on a weekday during rush hour. Look at what’s in the immediate vicinity: schools, offices, shops and pubs will all increase the amount of traffic in the area so make sure you view a house at different days and times of the week for an accurate picture.
If you’re after a particular style of property, this will influence where you live. If it’s a quaint old thatched cottage you’re after, you won’t find it in the London suburbs, you’ll have to look at historic villages. In some ways having a specific type of house in mind can help narrow down the search but be prepared to compromise too.
Research a neighbourhood
If you’re a house buyer who is looking to move to a new area, you’ll want to find out as much as you can about the locations you’re interested in. One of the best ways is by talking to people in the neighbourhood: local shops, pubs and estate agents can all provide a useful insight as to what it’s like to live there and which are the best areas. Move Home Online has helpful local information including population, crime, health and schools. Many villages and towns also have their own community websites with information including local amenities, shops, businesses and clubs so you can get a feel for an area.
Checking out an area
Be aware of areas where there are environmental issues. You can find out if an area is at risk of flooding, subsidence, pollution and other such issues by visiting the Environment Agency website. Check also if an area is affected by naturally occurring Radon, especially if you’re looking in the south west of England and west Wales. Radon is a natural radioactive gas thought to be cancer causing and you’ll find more details on the Health Protection Agency radon website
Find out about planning applications in the area for new roads, buildings and other undesirable developments that may impact on your area. Although these plans will come up on the searches during conveyancing, you’ll save yourself a lot of money, time and disappointment if you do your research early on. Visit DirectGov to discover your local council website where you will find this information.
Finally, and most importantly, you need to find an area that you can afford. There are many sources available, not least internet property searches to find out whether the type of property you’re looking for is available within your budget.