Had enough of where you currently live? Fancy a fresh start in a new location? It may sound glamorous, but make sure you choose wisely. Here’s our top tips on relocating…
Maybe you want a fresh start or perhaps you like the idea of a complete change of scenery. Or you might be financially savvy and have chosen to move in order to cut your monthly mortgage payments. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided you’d like to relocate to a new area. How can you be sure that the destination you’ve set your heart on is right for you?
Moving can change your life. Not just where you live and your daily routine but how you feel about your life. It can enhance your life and make it better, but it won’t be without a few challenges. And it may even change who you are. A study from researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois found that personality changes can be common in those who move. Depending on where you move to, you may become more anxious or more laid back. Get it wrong and you’ll be more anxious. Choose the right place for you and you’ll be more relaxed, so it’s important to get it right.
Here’s our guide to what you should think about before you choose a new location for the next chapter of your life…
1. Look at prices in your desired area
Check out property prices where you’d like to live and see how they compare to prices in your current area. Are you looking to save money and buy a cheaper property in comparison to the value of your current home? Or are you hoping to upsize and expecting to spend more money?
2. Have a relocation budget
You know what it’s like when you move. You’ll incur the costs of physically moving house, and then you’ll probably find that some of your furniture doesn’t ‘go’ in the new place, so you’ll need to budget for some new household items. You also need to think about whether you need to upgrade or decorate your new property. Is it an old ‘project’ place that needs work? Make a list of all the jobs that need doing in your desired property and find out what it will roughly cost to get the work done. Even just a rough estimate will help you work out how much you need to put aside. Tip: everything costs more than you think. Take your estimated figure and add 10 or 20 per cent.
3. Find out whether your new area is expensive
Some places in the UK are costly – it’s that simple. Although you may be able to afford to pay your new mortgage, you may find that eating out and going out generally costs more in your new area. Make sure it’s affordable.
4. Think about what you really want
Are you looking to downsize and have less space and fewer rooms to worry about? Maybe you want a smaller garden that needs less maintenance, or you’d like to go the other way and have more space and a bigger garden. If you are planning to downsize, make sure that the property you have in mind will meet your needs and you’d be content with less space. You might need to plan ahead and get rid of some clutter before moving.
5. Seek advice on what you can borrow
Once you have an idea about prices in your desired area, speak to a reputable mortgage broker and make sure you have a clear idea of the financial situation. You’ll need to know what you can borrow and ensure you don’t stretch your finances too much.
6. Make sure your work situation is secure
While it’s true that more people are working from home since the pandemic or combining remote working with going to the office a few days a week, make sure your work situation will be feasible if you move. If you are currently working from home all or most of the time, make sure this situation is going to continue in the long term. Speak to your employer and find out how they see things panning out in the next year or two. If you did need to go back to work a few days a week, would you be able to commute from your desired area? And what would the travel costs be? Some remote locations may offer handy links into London, but rail fares could be costly.
Think about what you would do if you had to change jobs. Does your profession allow for remote working? If you’re not sure, you may also want to look at likely job opportunities in your desired area for your profession.
7. Find out about the amenities in the area
What sort of reputation does the area have for education? Are there decent schools near where you live? What sort of transport links does the area have? Does the area have all of the local amenities you need such as decent local shops, a gym or leisure centre and any other local facilities you have come to enjoy and appreciate?
8. Make sure the location is right for you
To find out more about the area and whether it’s for you, find out if it has a community Facebook page and read the comments locals are posting. It’s a great way to find out about the good, the bad and the ugly elements of an area. Find out if the area offers the quality of life you have in mind. Starting afresh in a new area where you don’t know a soul can be tough, even if you move with your partner. Will you have friends or family in your new location?
9. Think about the weather
The British weather can be unpredictable at the best of times, but if you struggle with cold temperatures then relocating from the South of England to Scotland may not be ideal. Or if you hate cold windy weather then moving to the coast where the winds can be strong may not be as glamorous as it sounds.
10. Have a long-term mortgage strategy
Before you commit to moving to somewhere completely new, think about what your long-term mortgage strategy is. When do you plan to pay off your mortgage and is this planned move intended to be a permanent thing? Try to plan a long-term strategy so that you know when you’ll be mortgage-free. Again, a good broker can advise you.