Knowing how to decide where to live is difficult. It is a really important decision. When it comes to choosing, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. And the answer can change dramatically by circumstances, your mid-term plans, your family planning and much more.
In Britain alone, on average we move once every 8 years.
With some studies citing up to 47% of people showing some sort of moving regret, thinking about it in advance could save you lots of trouble down the line.
When it comes to creating master plans for our lives something unexpected always comes up – or we change our minds. This is no different when it comes to deciding where to live.
But some things do benefit from forethought and some sort of long-term planning. Before making any purchase ask yourself the following two questions: How long do I plan to live in this house/flat for, and why am I moving here? By asking ourselves these two questions we force ourselves to really understand why we’re moving (and if indeed we should).
By knowing how long we plan to live there we might make different decisions, chose different locations or even buy at different price points. Consider career flexibility, are you single or do you have a family, would you like to explore different parts of the country within a few years or lay down roots etc…
When it comes to moving home, price is king. It is always beneficial to set your budget in advance. Some people recommend only buying in areas where your salary is at least the median of that area. If you’re interested, you can start by checking out how you compare here.
Now, If you’re purchasing a home and are fiscally conservative the general wisdom is: Only buy a home on which your payments on a fixed-rate 15-year mortgage will be less than a quarter of your take-home pay.
This won’t be for everyone, but the above could help in supporting you to overcome the hikes in interest rates and personal emergencies worry-free.
You should also beware of the dreaded “budget creep” when deciding where to live. This is generally when you want to buy a house for £200,000 and see what houses at £250,000 look like – and unsurprisingly, they are nicer!
Before you know it, you’re spending £300,000. Understand why you’re moving, how long you’re moving for, the purpose of the purchase and stick to what you can afford – as tempting as it may be!
Did you know: Informing the DVLA about your change of address is easy, but important. If you fail to update the DVLA and drive without the correct address, you could face a fine of up to £1,000
If you could live in your dream house in your dream location, but the crime rates in that area became the highest in the country, would you do it?
Most people would think twice before answering. That said, it’s actually surprising how little research we do on average around the crime rates and reputation of the area before choose where to live.
Make sure you do your research to check that you’re personally comfortable. It is a personal thing and does differ from person to person.
You can start by looking at the reported figures and then move onto searching forums and speaking to acquaintances about their experiences. Importantly, make sure you yourself spend time walking, shopping & eating around your desired area.
People can buy properties for very different reasons (if you’re renting, jump to the next one!). When choosing where to live, some people see a house purchase as an investment first and lifestyle choice second.
Even if you don’t see it quite this way it’s worth noting that a house is generally the most expensive item most people will buy in their life. You would prefer your home (potentially your biggest asset) to appreciate, rather than stagnate or even depreciate in value.
Check out the area and the postcode to understand how it has performed compared to other postcodes, neighbouring cities and the national average. It is an important factor to consider and could make you tens of thousands in years to come.
Have you spent a lot of time thinking about how close you will be to family and friends? Your potential house could be excellent for nearby amenities, splendid property growth and all the bedrooms you could want but it’s worth taking a second to consider the logistics of seeing your family and friends.
Will your friends commute to where you have decided to live? Do you enjoy meeting with friends for coffee or have regular routines that might become disrupted? Some professionals also discourage moving away from a spouse or significant other as this can put strains on your relationships – that’s worth considering.
Also, consider how far away you will live from an airport. A two-hour drive every few months (if you’re so lucky) might begin to drain you.
Make a list of all the places you would need or where you frequently go. Grab a notepad now and write it down. These include places like schools, coffee shops, gymnastics clubs, gyms etc…
Analyse where you’re moving and how close or far away it will be from everything on your list. It doesn’t need to be perfect and there will be compromises, but remember its the small, daily things that really make a difference when it comes to your life quality.
This might be a small one, but consider the climate of where you’re moving. Genuinely. If you’re moving abroad or to a different part of the UK, take a second to check to see if its especially rainy, humid or hot.
A town is more than the amenities. The culture of a place is important. Culture can be driven by things like; interests, age groups, types of businesses that operate there, the number of international residents and many others. In deciding where to live to think about the cultural makeup of your future residence to see if it is a good fit.
This might matter more than you think. Foods, pubs, and activities can change dramatically from place to place. For instance, you will find a greater variety of eateries in central London or Leeds than you will in the Peak District.
Also, spend some time asking yourself: how large a city and area would I like to live in? For instance, you might want an active, vibrant city on your doorstep, but have some land between you and your neighbours.
That’s important to understand upfront.
A How long will it take you to get to work? If you’re moving further away from work to the benefit of other priorities it’s really worth counting the cost.
Longer commuting time to work or other commitments can sound doable on paper but become a burden when the dust settles and the reality of your new place sets in. As a general rule for thought: Each move you make should always increase your quality of life.
The quality of different items might move up or down with each move but it is important that as a whole it increases. Consider things like; how much more/less time will I have? How much closer/further will I be from the things I do regularly. You get the picture.
Congratulations. You made it to the end of the article on how to decide where to live! We’re joking, of course. But in all seriousness, these are important items to think about because they can prevent regrettable moves. It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of moving or to be laser-focused in making something happen soon.
But taking a few minutes to reflect and consider these 8 items can make a huge difference. Moving Home can be a time-consuming and stressful process. We don’t think it needs to be.
We’ve actually created an online change of address form, where you can update your address online. That’s more time spent on the stuff that matters. And hopefully you have a few more things to consider when it comes to how to decide where to live. You can also check out our moving house checklist if you’re looking to save time.