Spring is traditionally the busiest time of year for estate agents, as people start to make decisions about buying their first home or moving, whether to upsize or downsize, depending on lifestyle demands. Flats may be ideal for certain buyers such as first-time buyers and some downsizers, but houses tend to still be more popular for families.
Spring is also an ideal time to link a home move to planning children’s education: children’s centres and the best nursery provision, primary or secondary school, or technical college. Local authorities are responsible for the majority of facilities, including some remaining grammar schools, whilst Academies are independent, and private schools offer scholarships for talented pupils across a range of subjects, from sport and music, to mathematics and the Arts.
Unfortunately, living in rural areas can be an issue if you don’t have your own transport, because school bus services have been reduced significantly in most areas.
Outstanding and good schools are much in demand, so getting applications in early is essential; up to date information on each school’s grade will be on local authority websites, or you can go to the Ofsted site. Estate agents should have local knowledge, and parents can contact their preferred schools, asking to visit, which will quickly provide an insight into whether or not they live up to their reputation.
Choosing the right location also depends on the welcoming community feel, especially for young families – in towns or villages – who don’t want to feel isolated: sports facilities/clubs, a library, pub, community centre and church all provide opportunities for people to get together and make friends. Easy access to a GP as well as public transport, including a rail station, within half an hour at most, are also essential for people of all ages.
Agreeing such priorities is likely to influence choice of a property, and maybe even sacrificing the desire for detached in favour of a semi, or 3 bedrooms instead of 4 to have a large garden and private parking within walking distance of the local High Street and school. Keeping an open mind can trigger ‘love at first sight’!
Price inevitably plays an important part: new developments can carry a premium, often tempered by special offers, whilst second hand properties may need some refurbishment. Spotting a skip or two in what most would regard as an unfashionable neighbourhood of outdated suburban houses could introduce you to the best investment as older people die or move into care, leaving their long-time homes for sale at a discount compared with similar properties which have been ‘done up’. Even factoring in the cost of improvements can make them an excellent purchase.
Whatever your choice of property, The Mortgage Centres can guide you to the most appropriate lender to suit your proposition and finances. Pop in or contact us with your property particulars and plans to speak to a trained adviser.