How well do you know the neighbourhood of the property that you are interested in? 

Although the coronavirus lockdown may prevent you from viewing the property that you are interested in buying or renting, the lockdown shouldn’t prevent you from researching the area of any properties that you may like to view once restrictions have eased.

As they always say LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION so, if you don’t know the area well then, this lockdown period is an ideal time for you to do your research.

There are several websites available to help you research many aspects of the area that you are interested in buying or renting a property in. Even if you think that you know an area well it is always best to do your research especially in view of the volume of free information that is available for online.

When it comes to home buying or entering a long-term tenancy agreement, it is important to be proactive about your local neighbourhood. After all, the quality of your neighbourhood impacts everything from your happiness and sense of security.

Below are links to various websites that should contain just about all of the information you will want to know about the area that you are interested in.

StreetCheck provides information based on the postcode of a property with some of the information coming from The Land Registry, the latest census and the police. To include information on:

Housing

StreetCheck allows you to research property sales in the area including the addresses of those properties, the sold prices and the dates of those sales. There is information on information on the housing types in that area, the housing and the occupancy of properties in that area.

People

StreetCheck provides information on the social grade, gender, the age groups, relationship status, health along with information on the education and qualifications of people living in the area.

Culture

In this section StreetCheck allows you to research the ethnic group, the country of birth, the religion and also provides information on the country of issue of passports held by people living in the area.

Employment

You can research the economic activity along with the employer industry in the locality and can also see the proportion of people working full time or part-time, those who are self-employed, unemployed, those who are full-time students, those who are retired or looking after home or family and also those who are long term sick or disabled.

Crime

This section allows you to search for the crime committed in the vicinity of the area you are searching for.

Nearby

This section is useful particularly if you are moving to a new area with children and need to know where the nearest primary school or secondary schools are. This section also has links to view the latest OFSTED reports for those schools. 

This section also provides information on the location of the nearest doctor’s surgery, dentist, hospitals and opticians.

Although you may have thought that you have found the house of your dreams it pays to do your research on the area before making your offer to buy that property or to take up a tenancy of it especially as there is so much information available online most of which is free.  

Even if you think that you know an area it is surprising sometimes to see what the information that available reveals about the area is.

Other useful websites

Overall Neighbourhood Quality

Similar to StreetCheck and covers some different types of datasets like nearby train stations, bus stops, local crime rates.

Neighbourhoods scores in transport, education, amenities, green, safety, and lifestyle. It also provides neighbourhood recommendation based on users’ priorities.

Includes information on neighbourhood recommendation. Parameters taken include budget, commute locations, and preferences for travel time, safety, neighbourhood economic quality, outdoor environment, local health, public facility access.

Using parameters important to the under-26s.

Neighbourhood ranking for Index of Multiple Deprivation in England 2015, constituting of income, employment, education, skills and training, health deprivation and disability, crime, barriers to housing and services.

Local Safety

Providing the latest crime and policing data for the UK.

Dedicated crime data analytics site.

Education

Provides the list of schools in your search area and information about the school, including basic school information, key school performance data, links to Ofsted reports and school websites.

Provides school performance and catchment information.

Similar to Locrating, includes basic school information, performance, Ofsted report rating, catchment and admission information.

A similar range of information compared with further data analysis and visualisation.

Includes resident population, employment and unemployment, economic inactivity, Employment by occupation, qualifications, earnings by residence, Out-of-work benefits, Jobs (total jobs/employee jobs), Jobcentre plus vacancies and VAT registered businesses.

A tool which helps people to find green space in certain travelling time. Suggesting walk paths, playgrounds, parks, and natural parks.

Local Healthcare

A BBC project that measures Hospital NHS Trusts’ performance against four NHS waiting-time measures.

Flood Risk

Food Hygiene Ratings

Property Ownership and Historical Transaction Price Record

A Government service to check who owns a property, what they paid for it and if there’s a mortgage on it. Cost £3 per report.

Historical Property Transaction Price

The Police.UK data download site contains data at the single crime record level with detailed latitude, longitude, and crime category information. 

This archive includes data for census of population, claimant count, DWP Benefits, Job Seeker Allowance and so on.

This site is the central location for all NHS open data. A few interesting datasets include Patients Registered at a GP Practice and Data on written complaints in the NHS.

This site provides data on key stage 4 (KS4) and 16 to 18 (KS5) students going into apprenticeship, education and employment destinations.

WBW Solicitors has a property team in all of their nine offices across the South West. If you would like to discuss any aspect of a property transaction or just want some advice whilst we are in lockdown please contact louisecrockford@wbw.co.uk or visit our property page.