How to test-drive a new community during a pandemic
The end of May saw Rightmove announcing their busiest day ever, with incredibly over six million visits in one day. Since the easing back of our industry, our office has received numerous enquiries from those looking to move to Rickmansworth, Chorleywood, Croxley Green and the general South West Hertfordshire pocket we cover. Location has always been an important factor for those looking to buy a new home, but have your priorities changed since lockdown? Neighbourhoods you may have thought desirable could now have lost their shine and you might be seeking something different, but how do you test-drive a new community whilst a pandemic is still bubbling along?
Deciding on a new location can be challenging at the moment, but we think with a bit of online detective work and the right tools to hand you can discover a lot about a neighbourhood from the comfort of your sofa, and could even make a few new friends along the way too. Although this may seem a new way of finding a new home, it’s often the norm for people who have to relocate – this is why video has become so useful.
Slowly now you might be able to visit the local coffee shop for a takeout cuppa but you can’t see our towns in their full swing and customers filling up cafes and pubs. You can take a stroll through the areas you are considering but things are far from normal. We definitely suggest grabbing a local walk or getting on your bike for one of the many amazing routes some newly re-discovered during Lockdown. But also let your fingers and technology do the walking, talking, and digging for you.
Go social and local
Most local communities will have their own publication and we are no different. Both in print and the ever growing Social channels offer brilliant resources. Try out a search for the Chorleywood Magazine – it is a super publication and while not printing during COVID-19 they have regular excellent Facebook posts. The Chorleywood Residents Association also have a magazine and MyNewsMag has both a Ricky & Croxley edition. The wider serving Hertfordshire Life has regular stories on local areas and is a wealth of resources. These will give you an insight into what’s happening in the area but of course the news is a little limited right now so maybe get hold of some old editions that will provide more of a sense of the area and a better feel for the community.
During the Lockdown and subsequent easing of regulations, the local Social Media channels have been a wealth of strength and support for us small independent businesses. We have been overwhelmed with the feeling of community and togetherness given by other local businesses and locals. It has been a time of pulling together and recognising we need to support one another for the survival of our communities. This is a brilliant time to follow local Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts and you will get a terrific feel for the local area. Use these platforms to ask any questions you may have; we know the locals will be happy to give their opinions and let you know why they’ve made our pocket of Hertfordshire their home. Simply search for #Rickmansworth #Chorleywood #Croxleygreen We have tagged some of the wonderful accounts who have given us so much welcome support in the recent months in our Instagram post here, for you to follow.
Walking with Google
Have you ever taken a walk with Google? Did you know that you can wander around any potential new area whilst relaxing with a cuppa? Google Street View is an incredible tool that allows you to virtually walk along a street, you can see where each road leads and where local amenities are situated.
You can access Google Street View via google.com/maps. Simply type in the address of the street or property you’re interested in and, on the left side of the screen the address will appear with an image below; click on the image and you’ll be taken to the street view. From here you should be able to click and drag your way along the street, down the next, and go for a walk as if you were actually there.
The local market
If you have your eyes set on a community but unsure what you can buy, one of the best ways to get a sense of the local property market is to search both homes for sale and those recently sold. You will be able to see typical architecture styles and, should you be seeking a period home or a contemporary abode you’ll discover where they are located. As well as styles, you’ll get a sense of prices, so if you’ve decided that a particular neighbourhood is for you, you can be realistic about what kind of property you can afford there.
Get on the phone
It’s funny, but when looking for a new property many people shy away from making the one call that could make the most difference. As estate agents we know every community inside and out; knowing the kind of neighbourhood you’re seeking we will be able to advise you on where to start looking. We can give you detailed advice on the local property market and also keep an eye out for a home that could be right for you.
We’re not scary really, so please pick up the phone or drop us a message.
Local schooling is always an important factor for families choosing a new community, and we know you’ll want to research which will suit your children best. Of course, look at the Ofsted reports, but to get the real story talk to the parents whose children are attending the school – you should easily find people on local social media sites. Now we know these are certainly not normal times and headteachers are under a lot of pressure at the moment, so you may need to be patient if you’re wanting specific questions answered by the school.
None of us know what school will look like in the months to come, but now more than ever, as our little ones head back, you’ll want to ensure that the school you choose is the right one.
Enjoy your test-drive
We know that test-driving an area is not ideal, but if you’re actively wanting to move home it will give you the best insight into a new neighbourhood in Rickmansworth, Croxley Green, Chorleywood and the greater South West Hertfordshire area, and will help you feel confident that you’ve made the right decision.
Remember to please give us a call at Trend & Thomas, we have a wealth of advice that we know you will find extremely valuable when deciding where to live, call our team on 01923 773 616 or drop us an email or via Instagram.