House hunting? Here's what to look for in an area you don't know
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Knowing the area well is a real bonus when you’re house hunting because if you’re happy with the neighbourhood you can concentrate on the house.
If you’re considering buying in an area you don’t know, it really pays to do your homework. Think a 5am stakeout with your bestie, scoping out the neighbours and that hottie down the road!
And back to reality…here are some important considerations to factor in:
1. How long will your commute be?
You know how much time you’re prepared to spend commuting to work so make sure you time your journey. Find out how long it will take you to get to and from work at rush hour, and whether there are good transport links at the weekends.
If you opt for somewhere out of town, expensive taxi journeys might put a dampener on your social life and keep in mind, you won't have one of these...
2. Where is the nearest supermarket?
Find out if there is a supermarket or convenience store within walking distance. It’s so much handier to be able to nip out for a pint of milk instead of having to use the car every time.
3. What’s the neighbourhood like?
Sure, it looks fine in the day time but are there gangs hanging about at night? Are there a lot of boarded-up buildings? Are there high rates of break-ins?
You need to really get a feel for the area before you decide to live there, and the only way to do this is to visit it at different times of the day and night to check how safe it is.
Take your detective role further and Google the address. See if any incidents (good or bad) have occurred there recently. It will hopefully assist in you having to make your final decision.
Also, according to Liz O' Kane (our Buyer's Agent in the video below) says:
"A very good idea is to give the local council a buzz and see what they have in mind for future developments."
4. What are the schools like?
Even if you don’t have kids right now, you may in the future so it’s a good idea to check out the local schools. Having a good school within walking distance is a major plus when you have a family – and it may add to the resale value and appeal of your property.
5. What is the parking situation like?
If the house is near a school, crèche, supermarket or sporting grounds parking might be an issue. Make sure to visit when these are open to see if there are any parking problems.
Some streets in urban centres require parking permits that you have to pay for, with additional charges for visitors. If you’re looking at an apartment in a block, find out whether a parking space comes with the property and what the arrangement is for visitors.
6. Are there busy roads nearby?
If the house is located near a busy road, make sure that road noise won’t be an issue. Don’t be afraid to open windows to see what you can hear. Consider, too, whether a bus or train route passes directly by or if you’re near an airport flight path.
7. What are the neighbours like?
The best way to find out about an area is to ask someone who lives there. Take a walk around the neighbourhood and visit the local park to see how friendly people are. Strike up a conversation with a local and see how much you can find out.
Good neighbours are worth their weight in gold and can make all the difference to how much you enjoy your home. Why not call into the neighbours either side and see if they are people you’d be happy living next door to?
8. What is the social scene like?
Consider your hobbies and interests and see how much there is to do on the doorstep. If you’re into sport, check out the local gyms and sporting facilities.
If you’re creative, see what art groups you could join. See if there’s a cinema nearby or some good local pubs you could visit. Where is the best spot for a coffee? Having an interest in the locality can really help you to settle into a new home.
Check out our ‘Home Buyers HQ’ from saving to sale agreed, everything you need to know. If you're looking to start your own home buying journey you can book an appointment with the permanent tsb team today.
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