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Choosing where to buy your first home

Lots of people living and working in London are keen to buy their first home in the capital, but the biggest blocker comes down to affordability. There's not much that compares to the bustling streets of most London postcodes, however, with most people working flexibly, living in or near central London doesn't seem as necessary. Now, those with ties to London have a much wider variety of locations that can be considered when buying their first home. With so much choice it can be difficult to decide if you should be buying in Barking, Bromley, or Basingstoke, so here are the main things to consider:

Transport is key

You will know based on your lifestyle if you need to be close to a particular train or tube station but you've also got to consider getting to the station and getting around the area in general. When you search for properties they will always state the location from the station in straight line distances but make sure you check what it's like to actually walk the route. There's no point living 20 minutes from a station if you're fearing for your life walking on a dual carriageway with no pavement to get there. If you need to get a bus to the station, check how frequently it comes and ideally see what it's like at the time in the morning you would be getting on for work. If the bus is once every 30 minutes or if it's so packed that it often drives past your stop, you're going to need to factor that in when considering whether the property's location works for you.

Amenities are more important than you think

People are so focused on whether there's an independent coffee shop for their morning brew or how many Class Pass locations are within walking distance that they forget about the basics. Where will you do your food shop and how will you carry it home? Let's start with 'where' because depending on the shop you may only be able to afford bread and cheese for the month. If there's only a Waitrose close by and you're used to buying food on an Aldi budget, you need to consider how that will affect your monthly budget and if you can plot a route to a more affordable supermarket. We mustn't forget the 'how'. Living within a 15 minute walk of a supermarket is great but no-one wants to carry a kilo of potatoes among other weekly-shop ingredients for 15 minutes in the rain. So, think about transport options if you did decide to do a big shop and needed an alternative to walking. This matters less if you have a car but until you purchase one of those you still have to eat.

Safety isn't just a nice to have

For those who live outside of London, all of the city can easily be painted with the same 'dangerous' brush. But everyone who's spent any length of time in the capital will know that some areas feel a lot safer than others. If your property search is taking you to an area you are less familiar with, it's worth having a look at crime rates in the area. You don't want to buy a property you're afraid to walk home to when it gets dark, it's important that you feel safe inside your home and around the area.

Schools and Ofsted ratings will always affect house prices

Whether you have kids, are considering having kids in the future, or never want to be knee deep in nappies, local schools have a big impact on the demographic of the area and the house prices. Living near to an Outstanding school will give you some confidence that your property will be attractive to parents, should you wish to let or sell in the future.

Development plans are available for everyone to see

Local councils do not keep their plans for regeneration a secret so it's always worth checking council plans in the area that you are considering. If they're building a new shopping mall, or uplifting communal spaces you are likely to benefit from an increased property price when you come to sell.

For a detailed breakdown of areas considering your specific sear criteria, get in touch for your free consultation.


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