If you’re a young professional looking for your next place to live, you probably already know to look for a place that combines your ideal distance to work with proximity to decent nightlife for your downtime. But there are also a number of other considerations - some will be more important than others depending on preferences and circumstance.
We’ve listed our top 5 considerations below to help guide your decision.
No matter how much you are paid, living comfortably and within your means should be a top concern. Affordability includes more than just rent or mortgage expenses; the cost for gas, electricity and council tax can vary greatly between properties. And even costs like groceries could vary if your local supermarket is a Waitrose rather than Lidl!
Property value and potential for growth
It goes without saying that you should choose an area with properties you can afford. But if you are buying a property, the advice from property investor and Sellmyhome founder, Will Clark is to find a property with a high potential for growth:
The best advice I’ve ever been given was to think of my first property purchase like an investment and look for growth potential. This could be in the form of an extension or other home improvement, or simply by choosing an area that’s ‘on the up’.
Aside from the obvious financial benefit of an increase in your property’s value, you’ll find it hugely beneficial when it comes to remortgaging a few years down the line. An increase in your property’s value gives you some options. You could take some of that money out and reinvest it in your property - perhaps a loft extension or a new kitchen. If you do nothing, the increase in value reduces the ‘loan to value ratio’ (LTV) and could result in you saving hundreds on your mortgage repayments.
Rental prices and potential for increases
If you’re renting, there’s another side to the coin of a property market that’s ‘on the up’. What seems like great value when you first move in could change significantly in an area that’s gentrifying rapidly. Take Brixton for example; in the last 5 years rental prices have risen by an average of 30%. So if you’re considering an area that’s only going to get better (and are planning to stay there for a long time), we’d recommend negotiating a longer lease. Alternatively, choose an area where rental prices are likely to stay fairly flat. And if that’s simply not an option, plan to get a pay rise!
Commute time & employment opportunities
Longer commutes have been systematically linked to lower well being and reduced cognitive performance so commuting time should be high up on your list of priorities.
It may also be worth thinking about whether your location would be suitable if you were to move jobs (planned or otherwise). Are there other employment opportunities nearby? If so, great! But if they are all on the other side of town it may be worth considering a location somewhere between the two.
Proximity to family & friends
Close relationships with friends and family is proven to be one of the greatest influences on your lifelong happiness. Living close to friends will be one of the easiest ways to maintain strong relationships and stay happy. You don’t want to be that person who lives in the middle of nowhere or completely on the other side of a city like London. Or if you do, you’d better be prepared to work that little bit harder for your popularity!
Making your decision
If you want to be really rational with your decision making, we’d recommend listing and weighing these considerations according to your own priorities in a spreadsheet. Add any other considerations you have as well. Then when you’re house hunting, simply rank each property or location accordingly and the one with the best score will be your best choice. Well, your most rational choice at least…
In the end, there's nothing like being in a place until you have a good feel for it to help guide your (difficult) decision. So get researching, plan a visit and experience it for yourself!