Feeling the need for a change? Is there something beckoning you on to greener pastures or saltier seasides? Whether your family is growing bigger or you’re downsizing, choosing where to move when scouting for a new house is most likely at the top of your to-do list.

There’s a lot to consider when moving to a new location. For many people, the optimism that comes with a sea change can quickly turn into anxiety. Is it close enough to schools? Does it suit my work commute? Is this truly my forever home?

No matter your age or stage in life, choosing a new home location is an important decision for everyone. 

What to consider when scouting suburbs

Try considering the following factors to make your house hunt easier. 

Location, location, location

You’ve heard the cliche before, but location really is everything when choosing a forever home. There are many things you can change when in a new house – the garden, the furniture – but you can’t change the location. So think very carefully before uprooting to a new location!

When you go house hunting, think about why you want to move. What is your motivation behind the change?

31.6% of seniors say a sea change/tree change is the primary motivator for moving to a new area. So, whether you want to escape the hustle & bustle of city life or want more land to raise a family on, be clear on your desires and choose a location accordingly. 

Not only is location a prime factor behind living the lifestyle you want, but it can also affect the value of your home. Houses considered to be in a great location tend to have a better resale value – something to consider if you’re thinking about the investment potential. 

The community

Spending some time in the community of your chosen location will give you a better picture of what it’ll be like to live there. Some seaside towns look charming to tourists passing through, but you may find that living there is a completely different story. 

Researching an area prior to buying a house will tell you what you need to know about its demographics, its house and insurance rates, its weather/climate, community programs on offer, and its people. 

It’s important to find a community that fits you perfectly. You can extend your search by using online tools realestate.com or through a simple Google search. Additionally, spend a weekend in the area and explore it on foot. Get a taste of the general vibe and speak to some locals to find out what they think about living there. 

Cost of living

Property taxes can vary a lot from place to place. Finding a rate that works for you is important when choosing your ideal house location.

You’ll have to understand the land and housing packages on offer in order to find one that suits your budget.  Additionally, costs associated with food, healthcare, and schooling can be significantly lower or higher depending on the city and sometimes even depending on the neighborhood.

Therefore, prior to settling on one location, you should research its average cost of living to determine whether you can afford to live there. 

Local schools and shops

If you have a family (or plan to have one), it’s important to think about the school district or whether your chosen location has good schools. If you happen to choose a house without researching its school district, you may end up in an unfavorable zone which can limit your children’s potential of accessing quality education. 

Even though we live in an age of doorbell delivery, it’s still handy to be within the easy commute of shopping centers and supermarkets. If you have recreational activities or rely on bricks & mortar stores for your shopping needs, then choosing a house within easy walking or driving distance to a shopping complex should be on your list. Also think about common conveniences such as gas stations, corner stores, community centers, parks, and dining spots when navigating your new home location. 

Safety

We all want to know that where we live is safe. Whether you are single, retired, or have small children it’s a great idea to research the crime rate in your chosen area.

Crime statistics are readily available on most realtor websites and via a simple Google search. While it gives you a general idea of local safety, keep in mind that there can be neighborhoods that have both “good ”and “bad” sides.

Spending some time in the community will give you a better idea of whether the area feels safe or not. You can often see from the aesthetics of the neighborhood and its homes whether an area is desirable or not. 

Commute time

Will you be walking, driving, or using public transport in your new location? You should also consider how long the commute to and from work will be in this new area. There’s no point opting for a sea change if you end up spending more time in traffic than on the beach! 

You can look up Google Maps for a rough indication of travel times as well as by doing a “dummy run” by physically driving to your chosen location from your current workplace. Take into account the flow of traffic, traffic lights, highways, and accessibility through the town and surrounding suburbs. 

Job prospects

Are you hoping for a career change along with your tree change? Many homebuyers forget to consider local work demand/supply when moving to a new location. While some bigger cities will have more job prospects, some rural areas may have less work available or higher competition when it comes to applying for jobs.

If this is to be your forever home, it’s important to include future job prospects into your decision-making in case you end up in a situation where you want/need a job in your new area.

Health

From noise pollution to air pollution, and local health services such as hospitals and doctor’s clinics. When looking for your new home location you need to also consider your health and ease of access to local healthcare. 

If you require special needs or rely on medication, then making sure you’re near medical facilities and pharmacies is important. Additionally, those who are seeking a greener lifestyle may wish to consider whether their new house is in a location free of traffic noise and congested roadways. 

Research is key

The above factors will help you in your search for an ideal location. Research is always key, so as long as you have done your share of groundwork you can be better prepared for what life in a new location will be like for you. 

Also, be mindful that there are some other factors that tend to go under the radar for most homebuyers. For example, depending on the location, you may need to investigate whether your new home is in a fire, flooding, earthquake, or high wind zone, or other hazardous areas. This can impact your house and insurance rates along with your level of safety. 

Remember, finding the right house for you will depend on where it is that you feel most at home! Happy house hunting!

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