Knowledgebase
Choose a Neighbourhood

Make sure you select an area you feel comfortable in, and which suits your personal needs. If you are a young, childless professional, you might want a lively pub scene in the area, whereas if you are an overworked parent of three, a good school and a playground might be more important to you.

Here are the essential points to consider when choosing your future neighbourhood:-

The Prices

Find out what area you can afford a decent property in by looking at the prices of properties sold recently in different neighbourhoods. Some companies offer property price estimates based on asking prices (see for example Hometrack), but these are not a good indicator, since they can differ substantially from the amount the property eventually changes hands for.

The most comprehensive property price database is held by HM Land Registry. While a one-off search is still affordable, attemtping to gain an overview of the the prices in a certain area will become a costly affair. The Land Registry database is made accessible via the internet by a private company (see www.mouseprice.com) for free; thus, you can find out what neighbourhood you would be able to afford.

Your feeling

Make sure you feel comfortable in the neighbourhood. You will probably be living there for a long time, so you should feel you belong there, too.

Workplace

Consider how you would get to work, and how long it would take you.

Local Amenities

What you need depends on your lifestyle and preferences. Look out for shops, public transport, leisure facilities like pubs and clubs, children’s activities, parks etc.

Council Tax

Find out what council tax band you would be in and make sure that you would be able to afford it.

Schooling

If you have kids, find out the quality of local schools by looking at rankings. Living close to a very good school inevitably pushes up the price of the property, but you should look for compromise solutions.

Social Issues

Find out the crime rate in the neighbourhood by checking with the local police station. Also, you might want to find out about drug-related and other social problems.

Condition of the neighbourhood

Keep in mind that the state of the houses in your street influences the value of your own.

Local Authority Services

Find out how often the waste is being collected