Logo

Column: Simon Gerrard on choosing the right area to live in

PUBLISHED: 14:13 11 June 2018

Its a good idea to find out what your neighbours are like. If you cant meet them, look at the way they maintain their property

Its a good idea to find out what your neighbours are like. If you cant meet them, look at the way they maintain their property

Rasmus Rasmussen

Good fences make good neighbours goes the saying, but fellow residents can have an impact on the enjoyment of your home. North London estate agent Simon Gerrard shares his tips for finding the perfect location.

Visit a prospective area at different times to check what parking is likeVisit a prospective area at different times to check what parking is like

Moving house is exciting, and rightly so! The idea of getting your first foot on the housing ladder, or working your way up it, can be thrilling, but it’s important to really know the area that you are putting down roots in. It is true that the majority of people stay within the area that they or their family already live in, although certain enclaves and individual neighbourhoods can have different feels and amenities.

Different people at different stages of life will, more often than not, require different amenities. For example, it may be important for working professionals to be near good transport links, where as young families may look to be closer to schools and open spaces.

Getting on with the people around you will contribute to your happiness, so how can you avoid putting down roots in an area that may fall short of what you need in the coming years? Here are a few key tips to help make sure you aren’t left wishing you never moved in the first place.

Visit at all hours

Visiting the area at different times of the day and throughout the week is a good way to gain a thorough perspective of any neighbourhood. Plan trips after the kids have been dropped at school and during evening rush hour to gain an idea of how the area changes throughout the day. Get to know whether the neighbourhood quietens down at weekends, becomes a party destination or whether parking becomes particularly tricky on different days.

Assess the local amenities

The surrounding amenities will give you a good idea of who lives there as well as the area itself. When it comes to retail amenities, it is important to ask yourself how important the local high-street is to you. Do you tend to go out of town to do shopping or do you prefer to have everything you need on your doorstep? If a buzzing local high-street is important, it’s worth taking note of the overall nature and feel of the street itself. Are there many independent shops, bars and restaurants on offer, are there a few empty lots or is the area up and coming and undergoing change?

There is no right or wrong answer to these questions and will depend on your own personal needs, tastes and priorities.

Take note of communal areas

If you are moving into a flat, pay attention to any shared areas. While a rickety lift and a few broken corridor lights may not be the end of the world for some, they can give a good indication as to how well the communal areas are looked after. It is a good idea to ask how these areas are managed; is it the resident’s responsibility or that of an external management team? If the building is managed by the residents then the condition of the stairs, for example, gives you some clue as to the type of people living there. All shared areas should be well maintained, clean and safe at the very least.

Peer over the garden fence

Similarly, if you are moving into a house get an idea of whether next door is well maintained or not. Neighbours can have a huge impact on your happiness in your new home so it is worth sussing out what they are like, even if you can’t meet them.

More often than not there will be a maverick on the street who allows their property and land to fall into disrepair, however it is important to look at the wider area as a whole, rather than fixating on one dilapidated house front or untidy garden.

Worried about planning applications?

It is definitely worthwhile knowing whether your would-be neighbours have submitted any recent planning applications. Moving in only to discover the family to your right is due to start work on a two-storey garage extension or are waiting to have a swimming pool dug the following week could result in a less than ideal start in your new home.

However, do not fret – your solicitors should do a full search of the immediate area and will report back to you with any recently submitted planning applications that are on record.


Use your agent

Remember to take advantage of your agent! It is imperative that you choose a reputable and professional agent you can trust. We recommend choosing a NAEA qualified agent, so you can rest assured they have a thorough and professional knowledge of the wider UK market. Ensuring your agent also has a good local knowledge of an area is invaluable as they will be able to seek out any hidden gems that could be on your doorstep.

Be sure to let your agent know your priorities from the outset and don’t be shy when it comes to asking the questions you want answers to. Under current legislation the owner of the property and their agent must disclose anything that may affect a potential buyer’s decision to purchase, such as structural issues or any ongoing disputes they are aware of.

Providing you have chosen a trustworthy and credible agent, they will encourage you to ask these questions, as it is these pearls of wisdom that help to find you your dream home.

Simon Gerrard is managing director of north London estate agents Martyn Gerrard

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Property search


e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Other Hampstead and Highgate property news

Wasps: a total nuisance or horticultural hero?

They may be the biggest nuisance at summer barbecues, but wasps are also of great benefit to the garden - but how so? A top entomologist reveals all

Seven ways to make sure your dahlias dazzle this summer

As dahlia societies nationwide stage their annual shows this month, expert Katie Kingett offers seven tips to success with these late summer showstoppers

Rug designer Sonya Winner, opens showroom in Dartmouth Park

Emma Rice talks to rug designer Sonya Winner about her passion for colour and her new inspirational showroom in Dartmouth Park

Inside the St John’s Wood home of interior designer, Brian Woulfe

This elegant apartment in St John’s Wood has been carefully curated by interior designer and former concert pianist, Brian Woulfe

House price gap between London and regional cities set to narrow over next two years

The property price gap between London and other cities around the UK is predicted to narrow in the next two years according to figures published by Hometrack

Tom Dixon kicks off series of architecture and design events in Kings Cross

Architecture and design discussion group New London Architecture will be hosting a series of dinners at Spiritland in Kings Cross this summer, starting with an event featuring renowned furniture, lighting and home accessory designer Tom Dixon, on Thursday, July 26.

‘The means of production are changing’ - designer Tom Dixon looks to the future

Tom Dixon, designer of iconic modernist furniture and lighting, has moved his business to a new Kings Cross HQ. Here he talks about what he learned working in the music industry, moving to the epicentre of London’s future industries and finding new creative ‘obsessions’.

New Middle Eastern antiques department opens at Alfies in Lisson Grove

One of London’s last remaining indoor antique markets, Alfies, on Church Street, has launched a dedicated Middle Eastern art, antiques and design department, spanning two floors and more than 4,000 square feet.

Eight ways to get your kids into the garden this summer

As the school holidays beckon, designer Ann-Marie Powell

shares top tips with Hannah Stephen for getting youngsters outdoors

Looking after your lawn: three essential tools

Love your lawn? So, get the right tools to help you maintain it in summer. Hannah Stephenson selects three essentials to make the job easier.

David Walliams is selling Noel Gallagher’s former Belsize Park home

Britain’s Got Talent judge and author David Walliams is selling his Hampstead home for 5.35million with Marcus Parfitt.

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


2018 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant