How to decide where to live

Choosing where to settle down and call home is one of the biggest decisions to make.

You might already know what area you want to live in and it’s just a matter of finding the right house. However, if you’re wanting to relocate to a new area then you have a few more decisions to make.

It ultimately comes down to where your priorities lie. Think about what’s important to you and this should help you come up with a list of necessities which will help you move forwards and start viewing properties in those areas that could be right for you.

Proximity to friends and family

For some people, the most important thing is to be close to friends and family. This can be really handy if you have a young family as they can help out with child care and be there for emergency situations.

Work opportunities and commute

You might want to look at what job opportunities there are in the area in your line of work. This might be particularly important if you’re young and are therefore likely to change jobs.

Also, how long would the commute be? Will it mean spending over an hour and a half in your car stuck in traffic each day, or do you have the option to cycle or walk to work if you want to?

Reputable schools

There tends to be a correlation that where schools have a good reputation, the property prices are higher, as there is more demand to live in the area. So it’s worth considering how high up this is on your list of priorities.

Transportation

How close do you want to be to the motorway, train station or bus stops? This may be a priority if you’re downsizing and looking to retire soon, as living near a bus stop with a regular service will help get you from A to B.  

Where can you afford?

The cost of living differs from one region to another. Therefore, depending on the area you’re looking to move to, you can get more or less for your money. For instance, what might buy you a four-bedroom detached house in the north may only get you a one-bed flat in the south of England.

Local amenities

You might not mind being far away from local shops, restaurants, leisure centres etc. if you drive. However, you might want to be closer to them if you’re relying on public transport or are less mobile yourself.

Lively or laid back?

Do you like the hustle and bustle of city life, or do you enjoy sitting back and enjoying the quiet life? Making your mind up between the two can help discount a lot of areas, as you can split locations up between the city centre, suburbs, small towns, villages, the countryside etc..

Going through this list is a great place to start as you can prioritise your preferences which can help narrow down your search.

A word of advice: think about your move next move carefully. How long do you plan on living there for and what changes might happen during this time? For instance, you might not have children now but if that’s the plan for when you move, then you might want to consider being close to family and local schools. On the other hand, if you’re looking to retire soon and want to downsize, then you might want to be live in a quieter area that is flat, and ideally on a bus route.

Hopefully, this will make the thought of moving less daunting as you’ll be approaching it from a practical point of view, helping you concentrate on what’s important to you.

Speaking with a mortgage adviser can help you establish how much money you're able to borrow, which then might help you determine where to move to and what sort of property you can afford in this area.