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 think about your lifestyle, what facilities and amenities are important to you and how much you can afford. You can then pinpoint the best location to match your needs.
If you’re looking to take out a mortgage to fund a property, it can help to apply for a Decision in Principle (DIP) first, before you begin house hunting. A DIP gives you an idea of how much you could borrow, without affecting your credit rating.
Knowing this can help you focus on properties and locations within your budget. You can also show it to estate agents to prove you’re a serious buyer.
This makes a big difference to what you're looking for in an area. Our handy guide will help you prioritise the things that matter to you, or to your rental market.
If you're buying a property to live in, 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 a property to let, ask yourself:
What is my rental market (eg students, professionals, families)?
Which amenities are desirable to them?
Are transport links important?
Does the area offer what they need?
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 they're right for you:
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? Amenities may include:
cafes, pubs and restaurants
There are other essential amenities and businesses that you may not want to live so close to. So it's worth finding out where these are located:
waste treatment works
busy rail routes
main flight paths
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:
If you and your family need to commute to work and school, think about the convenience of being close to any of the following:
If you have a certain hobby or enjoy a particular sport, you may want to check if there are any organised groups in the area. These could include sports teams, a local amateur theatre, allotment facilities or a church choir.
Location has a direct influence on which school a child can attend. To find out more information on school catchment areas, visit the GOV.UK website.
If you're hoping to make money in the long term by buying a property 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