When showing people around properties we quite often hear the comment: ‘If only I could pick up this house and put it in another spot.’
Location is not the be-all and end-all of choosing a house to buy. There are other obvious considerations such as quality and condition, outside space, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, room sizes and layout for instance. For many buyers there is a fine balance between the practicalities of accommodation and the property’s situation. One often can’t have the best of both, however, so a choice has to be made.
A good location can sell a property on its own. Wonderful views, peaceful surroundings and useful amenities will always attract strong interest. In a buoyant market these properties will fly and even in more challenging times they will be resilient to downward pressure. A property on a main road, however, will suffer disproportionately in a poorer market, even if it is, itself, a cracker. This doesn’t mean that it won’t sell, but the price really does have to reflect the situation.
The other thing to bear in mind about location is that you can generally improve a property, but not its surroundings. A house set in a compromised situation will always have that situation (save for regeneration or bypass). A house needing attention, but in a great spot, however, has the potential to be a great house remaining in a great spot. Of course our surroundings are often at risk, but in this part of the world, where Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty dominate and sustainable development is a must, we are pretty protected.
So what is the ideal location? Everyone has different priorities, but looking at our register of eager applicants the following ‘would likes’ come out on top:
Family: Edge of, or close to a village with a pub and preferably a shop, open countryside to the rear, a feeling of space, easy for local schools and good communications.
Retired/Semi-retired: A village with amenities and a good community or a small town, walkable to shops but away from the traffic.
Equestrian: Rural or village edge with good riding out from the property and close to a wide road with decent access.
It would be nice to think that we could all have our ideal location, but sadly it doesn’t work like that. Availability is what drives the market place and thankfully some of us aren’t that concerned as long as a lot of the practical boxes are ticked.