The neighbourhood we live in is critical to our wellbeing. While a place with poor air quality can make us sick, high local crime statistics can make us anxious, and living in unsupportive neighbourhoods can make us depressed. The locality broadens the definition of home. The right locality can make all the difference. After all, you can do up a house, but you can’t do up a whole town. While all of Scotland is beautiful, not everywhere is made alike, and not every town, village, or city is for everyone. So, how do you choose the best place for you and your family when buying a house?
Understanding your needs
Make a list of priorities. Which matters most? Transport links, good schools, quiet streets, garden space, all of the above – give each element a score based on need and preference. You may want to tick boxes based on following the criteria.
Family size – the bigger the family, the bigger the floor space required. However, not everyone can afford a 4-bedroom house in a prime location. Consider your options in a country where property is more affordable. Raising a family in the country has its many perks. You can also consider building extensions. Generous garden space allows you to extend your home.
Lifestyle preference – some are drawn to the ultra-convenience, the nightlife, and the culture scene. Others prefer quiet evenings, village hall dances, country walks and fishing. You can have both too in a place like Blairgowrie, where trips to the theatre are under 30 minutes while the great outdoors is just on the doorstep.
Work and commuting requirements – well-connected localities ensure a short commute. It makes life a lot easier for those who travel to work every day. And, even if travel for work is not a requirement, you may still want to commute regularly to the city. Consider how convenient hospital appointments, shopping trips, visits to loved ones and journeys to schools and colleges are. If you do not drive, regular public transport is essential. Check how far you are from the nearest railway station or bus route and how long it takes to reach your routine destinations by rail or bus.
Safety and security considerations – safe neighbourhoods improve the quality of life. Children can play outdoors and get fresh air and plenty of exercise. With no heavy traffic, cycling, dog walking, and jogging can be a part of life. Safety is crucial for seniors, too. Higher crime rates can also affect property values. Research the area, read crime statistics and talk to local neighbourhood watchers to understand how safe the locality is. You may also want to check for any flood risks if you are buying a home near a river, the sea or surface water. You can find flood maps on the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.
Carry out research
Buying a home is also an investment. You are more likely to get a better return on that investment if the location is attractive for residential life. It will also guarantee a better resale value in the future. So, what factors make a location desirable?
Housing market trends
Certain areas have better market value than others. It can be due to several reasons, including aesthetic & natural value, historical or cultural importance and economic significance. Examine how house prices have changed over the years in the area. Areas with a steady increase in value do well in the long term. Find out about new developments, regeneration projects and proposed additions that will appreciate property value in the future.
Quality of schools and education
Every family and individual has their specific needs. However, if you have school-going children, you must take into consideration the schools in the local area. Check their rankings and how well they have performed. If you have plans to send your children to a particular school, the locality must fall within the school catchment area. Development and improvements in the nearest city cause property prices in the surrounding areas to increase.
While all residential areas have access to healthcare facilities, you may want to consider factors personally relevant to you. Proximity, quality and specialist care can matter to different individuals and families. Research the nearest hospitals and the care they provide. You might also want quick access to a GP surgery and chemist. And let’s not forget vets. Your pets also need healthcare, and some may even need specialist treatment.
While non-urban localities cannot absorb their entire workforce, nearby thriving cities and towns offer plenty of job opportunities. Older children looking for part-time work may also benefit from local industries and businesses. Being within easy commuting distance of a centre of finance, commerce, and industry enables you to find employment.
From leisure centres to bowling alleys and sports clubs to restaurants, basic amenities make a locality self-contained. Shops that serve your personal and household needs, a petrol station, a garage, a post office, parks, and recreational facilities are important for a comfortable life.
A socially active area offers you the chance to engage in the community. Various clubs, societies, and community activities bring people together. You can learn about these at the parish church, village hall or community centre. A high level of community spirit creates a support network for residents. Suburban and rural communities display better organisation than urban societies.
When you buy a home, you also buy the aesthetics and tone of its locality. Therefore, you must ensure it is safe, convenient and has the potential to grow. Whether you want a tranquil life on a sedate street or the hum of activity all day, location is one of the key aspects to consider when buying a home. So, make sure you can fall in love with the neighbourhood just as much as you have fallen in love with the house. GS Brown has strategically selected some of the most picturesque and convenient locations to build high-quality, energy-efficient homes. Our developments bring you the best of both worlds, putting you amidst glorious natural beauty with excellent travel links and amenities to support idyllic Scottish life.