Are you familiar with the area that you’re hoping to buy in? If it’s the town you grew up in, for instance, your basic knowledge should be good. If it’s not somewhere you’ve spent a great deal of time in, you need to start doing as much research as you can. Ideally, you should spend some time exploring the area in person, as well as researching online, but this isn’t always possible.
By researching thoroughly, you should be able to find out what the best and worst areas are, what amenities are available, and if the transport links or schools are good. If you’ll be looking for employment when you move, are there lots of job opportunities in your field? Is now a good time to buy, for instance, is the area experiencing a period of regeneration? Are there any new developments on the horizon?