Moving to a new town or city? It can be a daunting step, particularly if you don’t know what to expect when you settle in. While you’re likely to get some sense of the location during initial viewings, it’s hard to get a true feel for the area without more thorough research. Below we share some tips to help you find out more about the location of your prospective property.
Google Maps and Street View
Surprisingly, you can gauge quite a lot about a neighbourhood without having to leave your current home. Google Maps and Street View are relatively old technology now, but you can still use them to take a tour around town and potentially outside the front door of your new home.
Check out the state of the surrounding properties for a good indication of investment levels in the area and the type of occupants that may become your neighbours. You can also virtually travel to nearby amenities, parks and transport links to get a better sense of what your routine might look like.
Online community forums
Another good source is online community forums. These portals are often goldmines for anguish and gossip from local residents. You can assume not everyone in the neighbourhood will act the same way or have the same opinions, but you can get an insight into the talk of the town.
Crime statistics and local authority data
If you want a more detailed look at safety levels in what could be your new neighbourhood, local crime statistics and other data sets should be available online. The Police website offers a handy tool to see crime breakdowns by area and Neighbourhood Watch offers something similar.
Alternatively, look at resources from the local authority which should have more specific local news and reports.
Amenities and infrastructure
A residential area is only as good as the amenities and infrastructure that surrounds it. You can find pretty much everything online, from broadband speeds to transport links and much more.
The type of shopping facilities and services on offer will generally give a good idea of the economy of the local area, while schools are an important factor in an area’s standing. You can check out Ofsted reports of local schools to see which are performing well and which aren’t.
Future development and investment plans
Development plans can be a double-edged sword for local communities. New projects, residential developments and commercial investment can bring about positive impacts on job opportunities and the local economy, but they can also detract from the existing characteristics and benefits of an area.
See what plans are in the making via online news searches and local authority investment plans. Consider if they’re likely to change your perception of the area or if they’ll provide you with benefits in the future.
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