Relocating or renovating

An expert property guide

Want a snapshot of the latest information about a new area, or are you planning to renovate your property? Here are some insider tips. 

It can be tricky to unearth hidden gems in a neighbourhood you know well, let alone if you’re planning to move to an unfamiliar area.

Here are some expert tips on making the most of your postcode – whether you’re brand new or already settled in – with everything from local business insights to finding the best schools. Plus, if you’re looking to get more from your home, we’ve got a video from architectural designer and television presenter Charlie Luxton on how to plan a renovation.

Location, location, location

For the latest information on your new or current area, put your postcode into StreetCheck. This website filters complex information from census and Land Registry data to extract key statistics, from employment rates to population trends, house prices and crime rates.

“It was created to make life easier for house hunters and give a snapshot of different areas,” said StreetCheck director Peter Bailey. “It can also help you pinpoint the nearest GP surgeries, hospitals and schools. Plus, it’s updated every week so you know it’s the latest information.”

Alternatively, look at Barclays Local Insights, which reveals interesting facts, figures and insights about everything from income bands to shopping trends in your neighbourhood.

Schools and nurseries

Choosing a school is no easy task, whether you’re moving to a new catchment area or you’ve got children making a leap from primary to secondary school.

As a starting point, explore school-rating website Locrating, which enables you to find information such as inspection reports, catchment area indicators, parents’ approval ratings, school fees and pupil-to-teacher ratios.

Another option is the Good Schools Guide, which has details of more than 30,000 educational institutions and in-depth reviews of more than 1,200 schools.

“We want to equip parents with as much detail as possible,” says Good Schools Guide spokesman Francis Hamlyn. “We speak to parents of current pupils, head teachers, teaching assistants, administrators, matrons and lots of pupils – anyone who can give us a truly rounded view. The candid views, both good and bad, play a crucial part.”

While the website includes basic information for free, more detailed breakdowns are available on a subscription or in print. You can also get personalised assistance through its educational consultancy. The Tatler Schools Guide is an alternative, and includes reviews of public and preparatory schools. Plus, if you’re interested in private education, look up a Tatler Schools Live! event.

Staying safe

Renovations and house moves can attract opportunistic burglars, but recent research shows security is one of the lowest priorities for movers. Security company Yale found that home security comes in at 43rd on a list of the top 50 things people think about when moving home.

“According to the Home Office, figures have highlighted that you are almost twice as likely to be burgled in the first 12 months of being in a new home, so security should be at the forefront of people’s minds when moving,” says Yale managing director Nigel Fisher1.

Consider getting an MLA-approved locksmith to change the locks when you move in – as previous tenants may have old copies. And, if your home has an alarm system, make sure you set a new pin as soon as possible. On moving day, have someone near the removal vehicle, and once you’re in your new home, consider putting up curtains as soon as possible and avoid putting boxes in open view so it’s not obvious you’ve just arrived.

It also pays to make sure you’re insured during your move, as well as once you’re in your new home. With Premier, you can get Barclays Premium Insurance, provided by Hiscox – our most comprehensive level of insurance. We will even cover your possessions in transit when you move home, to help you save money on buying additional cover and giving you one less thing to worry about. Terms and conditions apply.

Check connectivity

If you’re moving home, check the connectivity in your local area. Around 89% of us would be ‘put off’ moving to an area if we knew it had slow broadband – and 1 in 5 Britons would even prioritise broadband over water or gas when they move into a new home2.

Use the Which? online tool to find out how fast your broadband is likely to be, or take a look at broadband and mobile coverage on Ofcom’s checker tool.

You can also contact your broadband supplier’s customer service department if you feel you were led to believe that you’d have a higher speed on a regular or permanent basis.
 

What’s nearby

Sometimes it’s easy to forget about what’s right on your doorstep. Try the Google Maps ‘explore’ function to find out about gyms or events in the area, or consider Instagram for the latest new openings and café hotspots.

It’s also worth joining local Facebook groups to learn about issues affecting the neighbourhood. Plus, remember to make the most of Barclays Premier Rewards for discounts on dining out, a year’s free membership with Picturehouse Cinemas and free coffee.

Renovation

Want to improve your new home, or increase the value of your existing property before a potential move? It’s worth considering home improvements. A loft conversion adds an estimated 21% to the value of a home, while a new, modern kitchen can add around 4%3.

If you’re doing home improvements, you can get cashback at DIY retailers, including B&Q if you shop through us, with an extra 1% cashback if you’re signed up to Barclays Blue Rewards4 . Terms and conditions apply. Retailers exclusions apply.

For more tips on settling in and planning a successful renovation, here’s a guide from architectural designer and TV presenter Charlie Luxton. 

But before work begins, it’s important to make sure you have the right cover in place. Recent research shows that, while most people know that their insurance might be invalid if they don’t notify their insurer of building works, nearly 70% choose to go ahead with a project without additional cover anyway5.

You can insure everything that matters to you with Barclays Premium Home Insurance, provided by Hiscox. Premium Home Insurance allows you to insure your buildings and contents on one policy with no need to list possessions under £15,000 – plus, if you’re doing building works under £75,000 your home will remain protected unlike some other policies. To understand how you can insure your home and building works when embarking on larger projects, speak with one of our Hiscox Insurance Experts. Terms and conditions apply.

If you’re considering improving your home instead of moving, we can help. Talk to us to work out which option is right for you financially, or read our article on how to add value to your property by doing home improvements.

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