When you are moving home, sometimes you are moving to a different city or even country. And it can be hard to try and gauge how good the area is.
Often on face value, the listings will talk about how glowing and great the area is. And when you view the house for those 15 minutes, you can miss critical indicators about if this is the area for you or not.
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The price can often be a clue at how affluent the area is, but there will be overpriced or underpriced houses across the board. So it is just one small part of a bigger picture.
Write It Down
You know what you want in an area. So carefully consider how that might change over the next 10-15 years.
After all, the house should really be considered something you want to stay in for a while.
If you have friends or family members that you can bounce some ideas off, then that is great.
What is your ideal neighborhood? Is it somewhere that is built for a community like the AVID developments or do you want something where the homes and the people are more spread out.
Talk to friends and family about what you really want and start writing it down.
Now you have a clear idea of what you want, you probably have narrowed it down to a few neighborhoods that seem to fit the bill.It is now time for you to become an expert in each area.
If you have the opportunity to head to their local markets, shopping centers, and even some events, then do so.
You will be able to listen to how the local people talk about the area, how they interact – and if you feel that you and your family will fit in.
When you walk around the area that you are planning to make a purchase, you should ideally see a couple of things:
- People are clearly taking care of the front of their homes, the gardens and the fences
- That during the days, usually weekends, you see that activity.
When people are taking pride in their homes, it usually signals that they are committed to the area and will have certain expectations of the people that more close by.
At certain times of day, you should be able to see certain things. Like children walking to school, joggers running alone and children playing for a while in the evening.
If the area has some coffee shops or pubs you should see that people are not afraid to walk home in the evenings.
All of these things will display the fact that the area is safe enough for parents not to worry about their children playing outside (within reason) and that people are generally feeling safe.
There are many websites that show you the crime rate in most neighborhoods. If you skip this simple step, you might find that even though it looks like a stunning place, it is prone to car theft or break-ins.
You can often type in a zip or postcode and crime and find plenty of information from newspapers and news sites that can help you.
Coming from Melbourne, the coffee capital, this is a very important investigation. Strangely enough, places that have certain chains of coffee shop generally show promise. More prominent companies aren’t likely to invest time and money in an area where people can’t afford the coffee, or if they are in decline.
Higher-end businesses are usually a sign of affluence and that the local area is ‘on the up.’ And, these businesses do a lot of in-depth market research before they decide to set up in any field.
It is an unfortunate truth that schools that have high test scores are usually in areas where home prices are high too. You can find most school scores online, as well as any government ratings they have.
Consider the type of education that you want your children to have too. Many schools offer excellent after school clubs, as well as things like forest schools, award programs, and more. There are also different kinds of education, like traditional, religious, Montessori, and more.
The public transport links and the ability to walk to a local store is really important. More so, if you don’t drive, or the area is pretty congested traffic-wise.
It is nice to live in an area that is easily walkable. Living in a car dependant area isn’t a bad thing, but it will usually mean that at peak times during the day – school runs and to and from work – can be gridlock.
Having a bus, train, or tram nearby is very handy in general, and if you decide to sell at a later date – it will put you in good stead.
When choosing where you live, think about what is important to you now, and what will be important in the future too.