WHERE Should I Buy A House In Northern Ireland? 14 Top Location Tips

Posted: by February 5th, 2018

When it comes to buying a property, it’s all about location, location, location. Whether you’re buying as an investment or choosing somewhere to live long-term, the WHERE is often one of the most important factors in your overall decision.

Get it right and you could live out a very happy future in your new abode, and potentially even see the value increase. But get it wrong, and you could face immense frustration, you might see the house value plummet and have a hard time selling and moving on.

So, to help you along with one of the most important choices you’ll make in the house buying process, we’ve listed some of the top things to consider and our best advice on all things location.

  1. The hit list

Before you even start selecting areas, take a step back and make a list of deal breakers. Think carefully about what you absolutely do and don’t want when it comes to a house and an area. Do you absolutely need a garden? Do you have to be close to a coffee shop? This will help you keep a clear head and avoid making any snap decisions.

2. Your budget

For most people, the ultimate decision on where to buy a property comes down to budget and what is affordable. Spend time on PropertyPal.com getting used to what average property prices appear to be in your desired city, town or village and remember that house prices in different parts of the same town can vary widely. If you have a set budget in mind, you can use the PropertyPal search filters to understand just how far your budget goes in various locations across the province.

(top tip – take a look at our blog on what the average priced house looks like across Northern Ireland)

3. Your lifestyle

If you’re planning to stay in this property longterm, you need to consider not only what your lifestyle is like now but also what it’s going to look like in years to come. Your current most important local landmark might be well be the pub, but things could change drastically in a couple of years, especially if starting a family is on the agenda.

Maybe you’re a gym-goer, or a dog owner who loves daily walks in the park. So, think about what’s important to you; what you enjoy about your current location and also the things that would perhaps improve your daily life.

4. Schools

If you have kids or are planning to have kids, do your homework on what schools are local to your preferred areas. Check not only their performance and general stats but also their acceptance criteria. Be sure to get an idea of transport to and from the school and, if you can, talk to parents of pupils to get their opinions on the school too, as these can be valuable in understanding what the school is like on a day to day basis.

5. Safety

We all want to be sure that the area we live in and potentially raise children in, is as safe as possible. When researching potential areas to buy a property, take a look at the crime mapping within the location. You can find information on how to do this on the PSNI website.

6. Friends and family

If you’re a bit of a homebird and like to spend a lot of time with your loved ones, you might want to ensure that your new property is close enough, or at least has transport options to and from your family and friends. This shouldn’t, however, be your deciding factor when it comes to location, as there’s always the chance that they could too relocate at some point.

7. Work

No matter how much you love your job, no one want to spend hours behind the wheel or on trains and buses try to get to and from work every single day. If you intend to stay in your place of work long term, then use Google Maps to see how far your new property is and investigate the main routes and how long the journey could take in rush hour.

If you’re not currently employed then try find out what employment and job opportunities there are in your new area.

8. Transport

Living in a nice country house in the middle of nowhere can sound idyllic for some, but it’s not for everyone and can be less than ideal when you’ve run out of milk at 8pm on a Monday night and the nearest shop is 15 miles away and closes at 6pm. If you do want to live somewhere fairly remote, research the transport links to the area – particularly if you don’t drive and rely on public transport.

9. Fashionable hotspots

In some circumstances, moving to an ‘up and coming area’ is a great idea. If it remains a fashionable area, you could significantly increase the value of your property – especially if you managed to get in there before peak popularity. However, you should be wary of ‘fashionable spots’ as there is potential for them go out of trend just as quickly and easily they it emerged. Its trendiness may also not be consistent with your lifestyle and goals. Consider what makes the place fashionable. For example – it is the growing number of bars and pubs? If so, will you want to live on the street beside a bar in ten years time? Also, do businesses seem to stay in this area or are new places popping up and closing down all the time? Think critically about these popular places. 

10. How quickly do houses sell?

An indication of how good or desirable an area is, is how fast the houses tend to sell. As well as asking around and talking to an estate agent, you can save searches in PropertyPal for homes for sale in your preferred location and see, on average, how long it takes for a home be sold. Bare in mind, that in many cases, the asking price combined with quality of the house and its features can make it sell faster or slower, but generally it’s a good indication.

11. Future changes

If you’ve found the perfect spot to buy a property, think carefully before you jump off the mark. Remember it’s not all about how the location is now, but look to the future and do your research on any construction or transport work that’s planned over the next few years. Think about how this might obstruct day to day life and how long it will last for. And consider whether this work will add to or detract from life in the area in the long run.

12. Talk to people who live there

A good way to really understand life in a certain town, city or village is talk to people who live there. The great thing about Northern Ireland is that it’s fairly small. If you want to move to Coleraine and don’t personally know anyone who lives there, chances are someone in your family or at work does. Take the opportunity to chat to residents and find out more about how they feel – get the information that you won’t find on the internet or buried in statistics. Of course, people will have biased opinions, so try to talk to a variety of people; those who’ve lived there years and people who have recently moved there.

13. Spend time there

Another great way to get a feel for a place is to spend time there yourself. Go for lunch, get a coffee or go for an evening drive through the area. Try to spend time their during the day and when it gets dark to see how you feel about it.

14. Rent before you buy

If you have the opportunity, the best thing you can do is rent in the area you’d like to buy, before you purchase a property. The only way to form a rounded and firm opinion on a location is to live there yourself. For example, you can get 1,000 positive opinions from others before you move, but after a few months maybe you decide it’s not for you – and it’s for a reason you just can’t put your finger on. If this is a possibility, this is something we’d strongly recommend, particularly if this is an entirely new area where you’ve never lived or spent much time before.


If you’re buying a new house and need a mortgage, visit PropertyPalMortgages.com to find and get the right deal for you. 


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