Thursday, 12 October 2017

Three things to consider before moving | Moving Out Guide #1


When I first started thinking about moving out a couple of years ago, I had absolutely no idea where to start. I'd moved out of my parents' house to go to university, but I hadn't really organised any of that (the classic student avoiding responsibility), and then I moved back in when I graduated. I had a 2:1 but no clue about where to even start looking for somewhere to live, let alone all the costs, paperwork and organisation that would come with it. So now that I'm getting ready to move into my second 'adult' flat, I thought it was about time I shared my experience and everything I've learned about moving. So welcome to what I'm provisionally calling 'Moving 101', your good-enough guide to everything to do with moving.

Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert, some of what I say might actually be complete bullshit (which is probably a lot of what I say) but I'm just going to say it as I see it. These are my experiences, and there's a world of info out there, so just bear with me!

Let's kick things off with today's topic, before you even begin searching for flat, where do you want to live?

This sounds like the most captain-obvious thing in the world, but before you can begin the flat hunt, you need to have some idea where you want to move to. When I first had thoughts of moving out, I actually had no clue where I was going to be living. Stu had been accepted onto a graduate scheme in Bradford, an area neither of us knew well in as we're originally from Lincolnshire, so it was basically a complete mystery to us. I ended up doing a LOT of googling about what it's like to live in the Leeds/Bradford area, where to avoid and where might be nice. There are a surprising amount of things you need to take into account. So let's take a look at a few!

City centre vs. suburban living

The first thing you need to look at is narrowing down the kind of environment you want to live in. For instance, you might be moving to a new city or county for work, you'll need to decide whether you want to be smack bang in the middle of things or if you want to be a bit further out. City centre living is convenient and can be more exciting, but it also means making some compromises. Depending on the city, to live in the city centre likely means paying a lot more for a lot less space. This isn't a huge issue in Bradford, but definitely can be in other cities. Again, depending on the city, but city centre living can mean higher rates of crime and if you have a car, insurances are generally hiked up. However, city centre living can mean a shorter commute, a more active social life and easier access to amenities and country-wide travel.

We chose to live a bit further out of the centre for several reasons. We wanted a bit of a quieter lifestyle, we're definitely more cup of tea than glass of prosecco, and there's just a calmer pace of life in the suburbs. There are more options for secure (and free) parking outside of the city centre and we also wanted a bit more for our money, including some outdoor space. So I'd start by thinking about what you want to get out of where you live, make a list of preferences (who doesn't love a good list?) and see where you stand.

In terms of finding exactly which areas to start looking, we didn't have a lot of time to be exploring the area so I did a number of things to narrow it down: I asked friends and family who were familiar with the area and did a lot of research on forums. If you literally google 'areas to live near XX', 'where should I live XX' and 'where not to move XX' you can find a lot of information and obviously a lot of conflicting opinions that you have to take with a pinch of salt. At the end of the day, you won't truly know the area until you live there, so sometimes it's worth taking a risk, and you'll get a small feel for the place when you go on viewings (more on that soon!).

Commuting and travel

Obviously, everybody's lifestyle is completely different. Your job might involve travelling across the country, you might just be after a short commute to your 9-5, or you could work from home in which case the flat search is your oyster - but most will have to take into account how easy it is to get about from where you live. Since we knew that driving in Bradford is kind of a nightmare (as it is in a lot of cities), we decided early on that we wanted to live close to a train station to make for a less stressful commute. You'll need to make a decision on how you're going to be getting to work, be that driving, public transport or walking, and take that into account when deciding on a location. There's nothing worse than waking up everyday and absolutely dreading your commute.

Seeing as I knew I wanted to live outside of the city centre, I took a look at google maps and noted down the train stations in the surrounding area and based some of my flat searching off that. If you're going to be driving, make sure the distance isn't going to be too hideous and check for any straightforward routes.

Local amenities

Are there local shops to grab a pint of milk when you're desperate? Do you want to be near green spaces? Is there a good gym in the area? Are you likely to want a variety of clubs and pubs for nights out? These are all things you should consider when looking at what an area is going to offer to you. Take some time to think about what life is going to be like when you've moved, after all, there are so many things outside your home that can affect your quality of life. Think about the things you spend your free time doing now, add in anything that you'd like to start incorporating (eg. fitness classes, daytrips, culture, being outdoors) and consider what different areas can offer you in terms of these things. This is when your research about different areas can really help you. Again, make lists of your preferences and match them up to what different areas have.

Once you know which areas you want to start looking in, it's time to start the search for potential flats/houses. Stay tuned for a new post on this very soon!

I hope this has been at least a little bit helpful for those of you considering a move in the future. Please let me know your thoughts down below and leave your questions/suggestions for what else I should cover in this series. I already have so many ideas but it'd be really helpful to know what you guys want!



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