Lifestyle move? 5 more leftfield questions to ask

When looking for a new home to buy or rent, there are the obvious questions to ask: how far it is to the nearest train station, have the local schools got good Ofsted reports, what council tax band is the property in? All completely sensible but home movers shouldn’t be put off asking more lifestyle – even seemingly superficial – questions, as more of today’s buying and selling activity is being fuelled by a change in priorities.

We firmly believe that your new ‘everyday’ is just as important – if not more – that the big moving motivators. The local environment will be with you long after the ‘new home’ cards have been displayed and the direct debits set up to pay the bills.

The stores where you will shop, the parks in which you’ll walk and the places you’ll choose to socialize in can make or break a move, so don’t be frightened to ask a broad range of questions so you can choose an area that really ticks all the boxes. Depending on your motivation for moving, you may like to think about the following:-

Is there a food or farmers’ market close by?
How we shop and where our food comes from is increasingly becoming important for many people. If your mantra is to support local, shop local and eat local, it’s worth finding out about open air markets, retailers who specialize in regional produce and restaurants that serve fresh, seasonal food.

Is the High Street full of chain coffee shops?
Something such as a Starbucks can be a real divide. There are those that love the big chains and those that prefer to get their latte from an artisanal independent. Where people head for their hot drinks is usually quite indicative of the wider retail and social scene too. If you’re after a cold brew coffee with a side of Sriracha scrambled eggs and a natter with the NCT mums, do your research.

Can I buy plant-based, gluten-free of vegan food nearby?
Nipping out to the corner shop for a pint of semi skimmed milk isn’t a problem in most places but if you suffer with a food allergy or have made a conscious nutritional choice, you won’t want getting the daily basics to become a mission. Some places embrace a broad spectrum of diets with more passion and it’s worth knowing where before you move.

Where can I walk my dog?
There are different types of dog walker, so make sure you know what’s available – and permissible – where you’re hoping to move. For some owners, there’s nothing more enjoyable than meeting in the park with lots of other owners and letting the dogs socialize. For others, they love the solace of walking their dog for miles without seeing a soul. It’s worth asking about secure areas, public footpaths, farmland and livestock, and seasonal access to beaches.

Is there an exercise community?
If you’ve adopted a more active lifestyle of late, living in a like minded community will provide all the encouragement you need to keep going. Knowing there’s a friendly running club, a network of cycle paths, an outdoor gym or even a bootcamp in the park will motivate you as soon as you’ve made a property move.

As a local estate agent, we’re happy to be quizzed about new neighbourhoods and their more social, quirkier sides. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.