Read the award-winning Clutton Cox Blog

News and Events

3 Crucial Things to Consider When You Buy a House Out of Your Area

View profile for Paul Hajek
  • Posted
  • Author

buying house out of areaWhen you buy a house locally you already know a few critical factors in making your choice.

For instance, which schools are close by, which neighbourhoods are best avoided and perhaps what roads and avenues you can afford.

It’s different when you have to choose a house to buy outside your area.

Here are three critical things you will need to consider:

1.Should I Order a Survey?

Let’s start with the easy bit. A great big Yes.

It is simply not worth the risk, not just for the peace of mind that a Survey should bring, but for other less obvious but vitally important reasons.

We had clients who were buying a house “up North” (that’s above Gloucester by the way for us). The house move was necessary because of a job move.

The clients found what they thought was an exciting property in need of some tender loving care but at a very reasonable price.

They commissioned a survey.  But, here is what our client’s surveyor had to say:

“While the property is located in an enclave of prestigious houses overlooking a park, we would point out that within 200 metres of the property, it is possible to buy a terraced house for as little as forty thousand pounds.

This could severely affect the long term value of the house and much depends on the immediate adjacent area takes, as to whether it will prove to be a good investment”

Our clients, whilst happy with the renovation work, could not risk the possibility of a poor investment and a potential loss of tens of thousands of pounds, when they later sold.

You can find out more information on the types of survey available in one of our previous blog posts “Do I Need a HomeBuyers’ Survey 

2. Have I Paid Too Much For My House?

As they say more haste less speed – with perhaps the exception of some parts of the London property market at the moment.

There is really no excuse for not doing your own detective and leg work.

No excuse as the internet has made searching for a new house or flat that much simpler and easier – and all from the comfort of your own home.

Rightmove is normally the starting point for researching prices and areas.

You can find some historic information on the price paid for properties in the past on websites such as PrimeLocation 

You can also view amenities on the local authority website.

It may be obvious but nothing beats getting in the car and viewing as many properties so you can to get the “touch and feel” of properties and prices in particular areas. And don’t forget to drive around the area at night to get the fullest picture possible.

You should feel confident enough to make your own judgment as to what equates to value for money.

Even where the price you have agreed appears to be “toppy” (in Estate Agent parlance) at least you know that for yourself from your own research and have made a reasoned decision.

I’m reminded of a Russian oligarch who purchased a property for 18 million pounds in Knightsbridge in September 2008 just as the Banking crisis hit.

In response to the question “Do you think you have paid too much for the property?”

He responded by stating that “you can never pay too much for a property only too soon”

3. Ask Your Conveyancing Solicitors To Make the Right Searches and Enquiries

Once you have made an offer which has been accepted, your Conveyancing Solicitor will be able to provide more information about which you may be unaware.

These are commonly called Conveyancing Searches and Enquiries.

Here’s what to look out for:

Chancel Repair Liability

Avid reader you could not have missed my blog posts on Chancel Repair Liability and Chancel Repair Liability Searches.

For most, the danger of buying a property affected by Chancel Repair Liability has passed, but for reasons why it is still good practice to carry out a search read my blog post here.


Flooding is a major issue for certain parts of the country. If you are buying a property out of your area, you could easily be impervious to the chances of flooding. Don’t risk not having a Flood search as part of an overall Environmental Search.

The environmental search will throw up any issues with contaminated land as well.

Common and not So Commons Searches

You can read about less common searches all of which have the potential to “bite you in the bum” and of which you may be blissfully aware here

High Speed 2 or HS2

Avid train spotters apart it may not be your ideal location to have high speed trains whizzing past your bottom gate.

Property Information Form

The Sellers will also reveal (or should reveal) any neighbour disputes. This will give you some idea of what you may be letting yourself in for.

Also if you get the time why not introduce yourself to the neighbours and ask them about the area –good and bad.

Remember, you can still pull out of your proposed purchase right up until your Conveyancing Solicitor exchange contracts on your behalf with the Sellers’ Conveyancers.

The Moral of the Story: Better to be safe than sorry, especially so when you are buying out of the area.

When in doubt talk to your Conveyancing Solicitor, they’d be more than happy to help you.

Happy House Hunting.

Subscribe to Clutton Cox blog

Paul Hajek