There's much to think about when determining whether the commuter lifestyle is for you, and if so, what you should examine when looking for a suitable property. The rationale behind your desire to live outside a major centre will also affect the rentability of a property, impacting the return on investment.
There are always going to be trade-offs in making a move. It's easy to crunch the numbers. The savings made on the cost of buying or renting a home in a commuter town minus the cost of the commute is a basic starting point. At this stage, check the price of a season ticket from the area you're considering, as some similar length routes cost more than others.
You may well find the cost of the house together with the cost of a rail season ticket is financially appealing and within your budget, but you can't buy time, so factor this into any decision on where to live. Ideally, you want to keep the commute under 45 minutes.
In addition, take into account your work needs. If arriving punctually is an important aspect of your work, avoid areas serviced by slower train lines with unreliable services. Journeys that have extra connections can create possible problems. Every change takes time and adds a stress factor, whereas a single trip provides an opportunity to use the time productively, which makes for a happy commute.
Look for the most convenient point of arrival for your work location too, as once again, travelling to and from arrival points takes time and may lack comfort in peak travel, creating a more stressful commute. Before making a final commitment, try the travel at different times of day to make sure you're comfortable with it. If you need to drive to a station, make sure there is adequate and affordable parking available and you're not going to be involved in traffic holdups during peak time transits.
The location of your property remains a priority. Is the area still going to provide the kind of lifestyle and comfort you currently enjoy, as well as added benefits such as a larger garden or a nicer house? Is there easy access to shops, bars and restaurants, as well as good schools? Think about how you will spend your weekends - is there enough in the area for you to enjoy your leisure time, as well as amenities that allow you to continue with any hobbies or activities you currently enjoy or to develop new interests?
Whether you intend to make a lifestyle change or you're buying a rental property, it is a significant investment, so the potential for capital growth should be considered. Research current development in the area to find out if it will result in improved facilities in the town that will add to its attractiveness. Large-scale investment projects, particularly any improvements in transport links, will have a major impact on future property prices.
If you are looking to move to a commuter property, have a look at some of the homes Guild Members have on offer.