Choosing a great location

It's all about matching the right area to your needs

We all want to buy a home in a great location. But that doesn't necessarily mean looking at the most expensive postcodes in town. The secret to finding the area that's right for you is to understand the type of lifestyle you lead and what facilities and amenities are important to you. Then you can pinpoint the best location to match your individual needs.

Are you buying your first home or buying to let?

This makes a big difference to what you're looking for in an area. Our handy guide will help you prioritise the things that are either most important to you or to your rental market.

If you're buying to live, ask yourself:

  • Do I want to be near a lively social scene?
  • Would I prefer a quieter environment?
  • What amenities would I like within easy reach?
  • How easy is it to commute to work?

If you're buying to let, ask yourself:

  • What is my rental market (e.g. students, professionals, families)?
  • Which amenities are desirable to them?
  • Are transport links important?
  • Does the area offer what they need?

What to look for in an area

Now you're focused on who you're buying for and what's important, it's time to consider what different areas have to offer and whether it's right for you.

Some desirables
Whether it's a busy city centre, bustling town High Street or the local village, every area has its hub of essential amenities. The question is which ones would you like within walking distance and which are you happy to travel to?

  • supermarkets
  • petrol stations
  • shops
  • post offices
  • chemists
  • doctors
  • dentists
  • garages
  • libraries
  • gyms

Some less-than-desirables
There are other essential amenities and businesses which you may not want to live so close to. So it's worth finding out where these are located:

  • electricity pylons
  • waste treatment works
  • chemical plants
  • busy rail routes
  • main flight paths

Entertainment
A wide range of entertainment facilities is often a sign of a thriving community. But it's worth considering how close you want to be with the potential extra noise and traffic from:

  • theatres
  • art galleries
  • restaurants
  • pubs
  • cinemas

Community groups
If you have an active sport or hobby, you may want to check if there's an organised group in the area. These could include; sports teams, a local amateur theatre, allotment facilities and a church choir.

Transport links
If you and your family need to commute to work and school, think about the convenience of being close to any of the following:

  • motorway networks
  • trains
  • tubes
  • trams
  • bus routes

School catchment area
Location has a direct influence on which school a child can attend. To see which schools are in which catchment areas, visit the GOV.UK website.

Up-and-coming signs
If you're hoping to make money in the long-term by buying in an up-and-coming area, there's no fool-proof formula. But there are some classic clues to look out for:

  • niche food chains like delis, independent boutiques, coffee shops and cafes
  • new estate agent branches opening in the area
  • new major road or rail links
  • interest from property developers
  • regeneration projects by local councils