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  1. Blog
  2. How to decide where to live and if you should move
Home buying tips & advice
26 October 2021

How to decide where to live and if you should move

GetAgent Team

It’s time. You think you’re ready to move. Perhaps your family is growing, your career is taking off, or you just don’t feel at home in your neighbourhood anymore. That’s all well and good, but how do you decide where to live? or if it's a good time to buy, it’s a big decision which can dramatically affect your quality of life.

Get it right, and you could significantly improve your wellbeing for years to come. Get it wrong, and the consequences could be disastrous. One recent study revealed that 40% of homeowners found moving more stressful than divorce.

Reducing moving-related stress relies on making careful decisions around where to live, what matters most to you and assessing the potential of your desired area. This article aims to help you figure out how to decide where to live and what makes the perfect up-and-coming areas in which to invest your future.

How to decide if you should move

You should carefully consider the specifics of your situation. It can be overwhelming to appraise everything all at once, so we’ve provided a guide below to separate out the critical components. Assess each independently and you’ll be off to a great start on deciding if you should move.

1. Can you afford to spend a little more (or a little less)?

Price will always have a massive impact on where you live. It’s crucial to ask yourself whether you’re getting value for money. Central areas might not provide you with the space you need if you’re working from home more often. Likewise, could you spend a bit less on rent by living in the suburbs and still maintain the same degree of comfort you enjoy?

2. How safe do you feel in your current area?

When you first fly the nest, your options are limited. Rougher areas are likely to be cheap. But safety is vital. If you’ve been making do for a while in an area just because it was cheap, but you often don’t feel safe, that’s a problem. You can check local crime rates in the UK with a quick postcode lookup using this online tool.

3. Is there somewhere you’ve always enjoyed visiting?

Sometimes looking is the first step. If you’ve been daydreaming about a certain city or area you’ve visited when seeing friends or family, that could be a sign. You don’t have to stay put just because you currently live there. Other people already live in your dream location, so why can’t you?

It’s true that visiting isn’t the same as living in an area. That’s why it’s a good idea to visit semi-regularly to get a feel for the day-to-day culture. It could be worth staying in an Airbnb for a working week to suss out how your routine might look.

But can you guarantee that moving is right for you? Does moving make you happier or not?

4. Does where you live meet your current needs?

If you like going out, are you able to easily get to and from the places you like to visit on a night out, if you have a child on the way, is it safe, are there good schools nearby within walking distance. If you're taking a job, is your current house located within easy commuting distance of your job etc.

Does moving make you happier?

Yes moving can make you happier, but it does depend on your circumstances. Generally speaking, moving can be an immensely empowering experience provided it represents a step forward in your life. Moving tends to coincide with major life changes, so it’s no surprise that it’s stressful.

We all experience change one way or another. So the benefits are worth the bit of stress you’ll have along the way if the net effect is that you’re more fulfilled overall.

You should bear in mind that there are important components you want to consider if you want to ensure your move is as positive as possible:

  • A little commute goes a long way: Commuting is lost time on a regular basis, so ensure your travel time to and from work is as short as possible
  • Suburbia forever: Suburban life can balance convenience without the price tag or non-stop foot traffic
  • Keep it personal: Communities are essential to human happiness, so consider how easy it might be to make friends in your new destination. Are there lots of social activities or events you can get involved with to make new connections?

Keep the above in mind when you’re deciding where to live and you should be in great shape to move on to your next great adventure.

Where should I live?

If you’ve read the above and decided that yes, now is the time to move, then that’s great! But picking a general location or county is just the start. Luckily, we’ve listed several considerations that can get you started on deciding where exactly you want to move to based on your personal preferences.

  • Lifestyle: You typically know whether you’re a city-dweller or a country bumpkin, but are there amenities and services you’d miss if you weren’t close by?
  • Local culture: Every town and city has its own cultural identity, so what’s the reputation of your desired location? Does it match up to the hype?
  • Know your districts: Just because you like the city centre doesn’t mean that the smaller residential areas will be a good fit for you. Be sure to check out different neighbourhoods. If you can’t visit in person, there’s always Google Earth
  • Transportation: What are the connections really like? Can you take a bus trip as a test?
  • Price: As a rule of thumb, you’ll get less for your money in city centres, but it’s always worth comparing average prices.

Top 5 signs of up-and-coming areas

Timing is everything with up-and-coming areas, especially if you’re looking to buy. If you purchase at the right time, you can snap up a bargain and dramatically increase the value of your new home in line with the regeneration of the local area.

Finding up-and-coming areas takes some savvy research techniques. But that’s what we’re here for! Let’s dive in to our picks for the top five tips to spotting up-and-coming areas in the nick of time

  1. Young love: If the area is popular with young people, it’s a good long-term investment; remember, young people’s disposable income generally increases over time
  2. New delis: Eateries matter; check out the types of local cafes and restaurants around the area
  3. Estate agents moving in: You’re looking for three to four estate agents in the area; they’re investing a lot of money in figuring out where hot properties are, so follow their example
  4. Make the link: Is the area just a few bus stops from an already developed area? It’s only a matter of time before someone else makes the link
  5. Beware the Bucks: Chain coffee shops and retailers are typically a sign that the area has maxed out its potential; retail is a high risk industry, so chain stores will only have locations in that area if there’s enough of a business case (and therefore revenue potential) already established to make it worthwhile.

What is an up and coming area?

Up and coming areas are areas which haven't reached their full potential value yet, but show signs of increasing house prices and a increase in property sales and interest. By buying in an up and coming area you can end up paying a lot less for a house in a "desired" or "nice" area but you'll traditionally need to live in the area while this transition happens which can mean higher crime rates, lower initial property values and sales interest. The great part is that you get to be a part of your community and making it a better place.

How to decide where to live: Start looking

It’s a huge step when you decide to move, but it really could be the start of a much happier future. Most importantly, remember you’re in control of how to decide where to live. Carefully scoping out areas you have an emotional attachment to is a great start.

By balancing your budget and personal lifestyle preferences with diligent research, you can identify up-and-coming areas with relative ease, provided you leverage the powerful online tools at your fingertips. If you’re excited about the idea of moving, there’s no better time than right now to start your journey.

Move to your happy place with GetAgent

Knowing where you want to live is just the first step. Finding the best estate agent can make all the difference to your search for the dream property. However, it can be a challenge if you’re unfamiliar with your desired location. You can read our guide on relocating in the UK to help you too.

Use GetAgent’s helpful estate agent comparison tool to find your perfect agency partner. Add a postcode in the box below to get started right away!

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