We've all heard the one about buying the worst house in the best street, or neighbourhood. It's a good thing, right? It is if you do your homework first! Yes, there are sought-after neighbourhoods and many people will buy there on that basis alone. But is it the right neighbourhood for you?
While you might have a great gut feeling about a particular suburb, you have to ask yourself if it has all you need to suit your circumstances and your lifestyle.
For example, do you have children? If the answer is yes, there will be quite a few things to check out about the neighbourhood. For example, does it have a school or how far is it to the nearest school?
Call the doctor
Is there after-school/holiday care close by? Is there a local doctor or hospital - we all know kids are prone to accidents and it's usually on the weekend! Or perhaps an adult in the family needs to be close to medical care.
Is it a family-friendly neighbourhood - ie are there other families around, and safe areas to play?
Will you be commuting to work and, if so, how far is it to the bus/train station? Is there part-time work locally?
All of these are valid points you'll want to check before you sign on the dotted line or you could be heading for a case of buyer's remorse!
If you're a single person, or a couple, you'll probably want to find out what leisure facilities, cafes and restaurants there are in the 'hood. Or, if there's nothing local, what's public transport like? How much is a cab ride to the city?
Check, check and double check
Then there are the big issues! It might be a lovely suburb now but what about the future? Are there plans for major development or a new sewage works practically in your back yard! Will a major road be built through the middle of the neighbourhood? This is something that should be covered by your solicitor's searches when you get to that point, but it might be worth checking with the local council before you buy.
Just because a suburb has a good name overall, it doesn't mean every neighbourhood is perfect. Check out the actual street - at all times of day and night. Are the houses and gardens in that area well kept and tidy? Is someone doing DIY at all hours of the night? Is there a party animal in the street who favours all-nighters?
You might be planning to stay in your new house forever but what if you don't, what's the re-sale potential? It's impossible to predict exactly what the market will do but there are a few things you can check. For example, if a large company is set to open in the area, there will be increased demand for housing.
There are ways you can get a feel for a place before making your purchase. A read of the local paper will tell you what the major issues are in the locality, what's on, and where the restaurants are.
Pop into the local shop or post office and have a chat - they usually have a fair idea of what's going on.
Choosing a location and buying a new home is very much an emotional choice but, by doing your homework before buying, and finding out the facts, you could easily avoid future heartache.