Location Check List07 August 2012
There are a number of things you need to think about when buying a second home, from safety and security in the area to transport and future trending values.
Safe as a house?
Security should always be a factor when moving to a new home. Obviously, you should not necessarily be deterred from buying a new home because you think its locks are inadequate (you can always fit new ones after all), but you might want to think about the things you can't do anything about. Using the new online service offered by the police.uk you can scout out the kinds of crime and the frequency of occurrence in any area you are planning to buy in. The information available dates back as far as December 2010 in most places, and though it can give you an overview of an area, it is important to also remember that certain types of crime will appear everywhere where there are people (anti-social behaviour seems to be the norm).
Big Plans Afoot
High streets and housing in post-war new-towns might be looking a little worse for wear (concrete shoe-box style buildings do not tend to age well) but that's no reason to think that they always will. Town regeneration and redevelopment are the watchwords of the day, and they could be coming to a town near you soon. Ask around at local authority offices to see if there are any town improvements on the cards. It is important to remember that plans are just plans at the end of the day, so ask about completion dates as well (then remember that these are likely to be estimates). You need to be prepared to wait if you take on a second home in an area with development workpending, as any positive impact to be had on your property may depend on the improvements being completed. Planning ahead is pivotal with any investment.
Any area you choose to buy your second home in should have sound infrastructure. This means good transport links and connections to any relevant points of interest are a must, as well as good local shopping facilities and (preferably) within easy reach of more extensive retail areas (supermarket and high street). Investigating the calibre of the local schools might be a good idea, even if you do not have children yourself. Being near to an outstanding school or two can make a property much more appealing to the family market, and being close to a university can make it more viable as a rental property. Investigate Ofsted reports and school league tables to gain a better idea. Be aware of the area's nightlife and try to avoid buying near to potentially noisy premises (like pubs or clubs).
Wherever you are thinking of buying your second home and whatever condition it might be in, you need to know that you can protect it with second home insurance. If you will have to leave it unoccupied for any length of time for any reason, second property insurance might be harder to get hold of, as many standard insurers will think that the risk is too high. With homeprotect though, you can get a competitive online quote for 2nd home insurance no matter what your circumstances might be. Second home contents insurance is a must for any second home that you intend to furnish.