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10 questions to ask about a new area before you move

If you’re considering making a fresh start in a new location, it’s important to think long and hard before taking the plunge. You want the move to be the right one so it can be a good idea to ask yourself some critical questions about the neighbourhood.

Your answers should help you understand whether a certain area is ideal for you, or whether you need to continue your search.

1. Do I have friends in the area?

It can be helpful to know at least a few people when you move, whether they’re friends, distant relations or friends of friends.
Moving somewhere new with no contacts could be hard going as realistically it can take many months or even years to build up friendships. If you already have a network in the area, however small it may be, you may find it easier to settle.

Getting advice from people you meet in the area itself could help, whether they recommend house removals companies, electricians or plumbers etc. They may also tell you about the best local amenities, whether restaurants, bars, or the best places for a day out with the kids or dog walking.

2. Which parts of town/area am I best avoiding?

Every area has good and bad parts, figuring out which is which usually takes a bit of research.

You could speak to your friends and use the police website to compare the crime rate in the different neighbourhoods.

Why not read the local paper and get out and about? Seeing what neighbourhoods are like at different times of the day and night could be of great benefit to you. 

3. Is the type of property I want available for my budget?

If you dream of owning a three-bedroomed detached home but could only realistically afford a one-bedroomed terraced home in this area, this might not be the right time for a move.

It’s important to understand what you can afford from the outset to ensure you only view the properties you have a realistic chance of securing a mortgage for. 

4. What’s the cost of living in the area?

It can be helpful to weigh up if it could cost more on a day-to-day basis to live in your new area.

If you’re going to be relying on city convenience stores for your shopping this will usually be more expensive than a supermarket shop elsewhere. 

Will your car insurance premium go up substantially? Will you need to pay for parking?

How much will your council tax be? Depending on where you move to, these things could be more expensive.

5. Are there good schools in the area?

Whether you have children now or are planning to have them in the future, it can be helpful to look at the schools in your chosen area.

Have they been rated outstanding or good by Ofsted? Are they oversubscribed?

If you have school-aged children and will be moving during the school year, do they have places available?

Ideally visit a few schools and speak to the head teacher to see if the school is the right fit for your child. 

6. What are the career prospects like?

Are there lots of job opportunities in the area?

Even if you have already secured a job it can still be worth asking yourself this question. How do the salaries compare to where you are now?

Will you be able to advance up the career ladder or will you be restricted? 

If you already have a role, does the company culture appeal? What are the Glassdoor reviews like?

7. What is the local transport network like?

This is an essential question to pose if you’ll be commuting every day for work.

You’ll want to understand if there is a local railway station, how far this is from your home, how regular the services are how much a weekly, monthly or annual travel pass costs.

You’ll also want to understand how close you are to the motorway network and what the journey time to the nearest airport is like. 

8. What will I miss when I move?

The grass might seem greener in your new area but there are going to be things you’ll miss as you say goodbye to your former home. 

This could be family and friends who live nearby, casual acquaintances, your favourite restaurant, hairdresser or even shops. 

The good news is that when you move family and friends could always visit and finding new favourite places can be fun.

9. What will I gain when I move?

Moving home is a new adventure, the chance of a fresh start.

Try and list all the things you’ll be gaining.

This could include a better work/life balance if you’re shortening your commute, a larger home, more work opportunities, the chance to try new things and learn about different cultures.

Why not set yourself some short-term and long-term goals?

10. What happens if I don’t like it?

No move has to be permanent and everyone is entitled to change their mind. 

If you don’t like the area, you could move somewhere else or even move back to where you lived previously. 

It could be that a location isn’t right for you now but might suit you again in the future. 

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