How to decide where to live (10 crucial factors)
When deciding where to live, there are a lot of factors to consider and prioritise. The location you live in has an impact on your commute time and, ultimately, the quality of life for you and your family. Some considerations are more obvious than others, and others come with inevitable trade offs.
And so with that in mind, we've created this guide to help point out some factors for you to bear in mind when choosing where to call home
Let’s jump in!
Why is deciding where to live so difficult?
The search can be tough when considering what you need and where you want to live. While there may not be a perfect place that meets all your needs, hopefully with these tips you can make an educated decision on what is the best choice for you.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN DECIDING WHERE TO LIVE
The location of your home has an impact on your commute time and the quality of life of you and your family.
We've created this guide to help with some possible considerations to help with your decision when choosing where you want to live:
1. House prices and affordability
Before you even start looking at houses, it's a good idea to determine your budget. This should help narrow down the number of possible areas you'll want to consider.
You might find that there are several different areas that offer house prices within your price range - or maybe there aren't any homes in your initial shortlist of areas within your price point at all.
It's important to remember that just because something is listed as affordable doesn't mean it's in your ideal area or location once all other factors are considered. Some starter homes may be close to busy roads or motorways, and some less costly areas might not be very family-friendly!
2. Nearby amenities
This could be anything from supermarkets and shopping centres, parks and playgrounds, bars & restaurants, good schools or even just good access to public transport.
In some rural areas, the nearest supermarket is likely to be somewhere in the outer suburbs of the nearest major town. Ironically, that might be where the nearest farmers market is too!
Think about what amenities are most important for YOU. Remember that there might not be anything close by where you choose to live - so it's important to determine what's most important BEFORE you start looking at houses in the area.
3. Commute time
Many people prefer convenience over a long commute time. Think about if you're one of those people - do you want an easy drive to work, or would you rather put up with a bit more traffic in order to live closer to your good friends and/or family?
4. Train station and public transport links
Public transport links are important to look at when trying to decide where to live. This helps you determine how easy it will be to get around.
Some of the considerations that affect transport links include things like:
- Is there a well-connected train station nearby?
- Will you have good, congestion-free access to the motorway?
- How close are you to the nearest airport (and how close is too close)?
- Are you near a bus stop and/or a well-connected bus station?
5. Good schools
Choosing a new home with good schools nearby can be one of the most important things to consider when making your decision.
This is especially true if you have children and want them to attend a particularly good school that you had in mind beforehand. If that’s the case, you’ll want to make sure your new home falls inside the school’s catchment area.
Bear in mind however, having a number of highly-rated, desirable local schools within walking distance can also have a considerable inflationary impact on property prices in an area, so there’s definitely a trade-off.
Other considerations for school quality include:
- Do you want your child(ren) to go to a private or a local state school?
- Will there be enough school places when they reach an age for them to start attending?
6. Access to green areas
If you love being around plants and animals then it might be a good idea to consider looking at rural or semi-rural properties that have large gardens and aren't surrounded by concrete.
If you're looking for more of a community feel and want to get involved in the social life of your future neighborhood, then having access to local green spaces will allow you easy opportunities to mingle with neighbors.
7. Local environment
Try and spend some time in the local area before committing to a move. Sometimes, it’s the smallest things that can become your biggest icks if overlooked. And when you’re investing your life savings into a place to live, the last thing you want is icks.
Like being downwind from a strong smell, such as a sewage works or a vinegar factory. Or living near a tourist hotspot and having hundreds of people walking past (or parking in front of) your window every day.
Try talking to some of the local people about whether there's anything you should be aware of. You could even just do your research online, on local forums, by looking for common issues that seem to be repeated by numerous people.
8. Air quality
Properties on, or very close to, very busy major roads and motorways are almost guaranteed to have much lower air quality than others, so it’s an important factor to bear in mind.
If in doubt, you can get an air pollution forecast for the area on the government’s UK Air website.
Is the property on or near a busy road with lots of traffic? You can find air pollution forecasts on the government's UK Air website.
9. Flood risks
As a result of climate change, some areas that might have only fallen victim to freak floods once in a generation are now, unfortunately, seeing it happen every few years.
Even if there don’t seem to be any rivers in close proximity to the area you’re considering, it’s worth checking the flood risk regardless.
If you live in a very flat part of the UK, sometimes the floodplains of rivers that have burst their banks can extend for miles inland. You can check the risk of flooding in a particular area on the government’s handy flood map website.
10. Crime rates and anti-social behaviour
Another important factor to consider when you decide where to live is the safety of an area. While crime rates don't always reflect all incidents that have occurred, it's a good indicator as to whether there are problems in the community and whether people feel safe or not!
Some considerations around this include:
- The amount of drug-related offenses that have been committed.
- How much violent crime has happened?
- How strong is the local community spirit?
Making a Decision
Ultimately, the place you decide is right for you will be the one that ticks enough of the right boxes for you personally. That said, we hope some of the 10 considerations we’ve listed in this post come in handy the next time you’re wondering how to decide where to live.
And if it’s a new build home you’re looking for, click here to check out our range of developments across Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Lancashire. Or alternatively, visit our search page to view a map of all of our developments across the North West.