The dream of a bucolic life continues to be a priority for many Britons. This year 37,370 people have said goodbye to the big smoke and hello to fresh air — 7 per cent more than at the same time last year, according to Hamptons International.
Last year one in five city dwellers who sold their homes moved to the country. Emma Seaton was one of them. The former London estate agent and her family moved from Wandsworth in southwest London to Micheldever, a village in Hampshire, a year ago because she and her husband wanted to bring up their two young children in the country. Seaton now works as a buying agent for Prime Purchase in the Hampshire area, helping families wanting to make a similar move.
She says choosing a location where there are residents at a similar life stage to you is key in finding a place where you will want to stay put. For example, if you need help from another parent to get your child to school at the last minute, don’t buy in a village where the population is made up of downsizers.
“Some villages can look glorious, but a lovely pub doesn’t mean there are other mums who you will want to be friends with. Our village has a WhatsApp group that is a lifeline — if you need a child’s costume at the last minute we message each other and the group comes up trumps. When we were looking to move we viewed a house in another village where there were a lot of older residents. If we had moved there I wonder if we would have lasted,” she says.
However, moving to a rural home doesn’t always work out. Some people find the longer commute taxing, or admit to feelings of isolation. Hamptons International figures show that 9.2 per cent of people who returned to London this year did so after only three years in the country. So how can you ensure your relocation is a success? We look at what you should consider.
The broad rule of thumb is if you, or your partner, is going to commute five days a week, the journey needs to be an hour or less to be sustainable, according to Seaton. If you are commuting three days a week you can stretch this to 90 minutes. Also it is best not to live farther than 15 minutes from a train station.
Get involved in the community
Gyms, book clubs and local schools are a good way to meet people and several agents advise getting a dog, which will give you an instant bond with fellow dog walkers.
Carol Peett, the managing director of West Wales Property Finders, a buying agency, says using local professionals when you buy your home can help to tie you to the local community and possibly save your property deal.
“When buying a property use a good local solicitor rather than a general conveyancer or a solicitor from a town or city,” she says. “There are many times when clients have come to us having found and lost a property due to issues of unregistered land, rights of way etc, which are a common occurrence here, but can baffle city solicitors,” she says.
Don’t have high expectations for broadband speed
Blair Stewart of the South Hams office of Strutt & Parker says that the buyers of a £3 million house that he was selling pulled out because the wifi was not strong enough for their children to stream videos and do homework.
“Parts of the country still suffer from appalling broadband connections,” says Rupert Reeves, a partner at the Newbury office of Carter Jonas in Berkshire. He recommends asking a local provider to ensure your home has a decent speed, particularly if you are going to work from home, and to check the mobile phone signal.
Research the community
See if there is a village Facebook page, or a newsletter that will give you a sense of whether the area is sleepy or has beer festivals and am-dram societies. “When you are looking for a home, the farmer next door may seem endearing, but it can be a different story once you move in,” says Jess Simpson, a property search agent who specialises in country houses across the UK. “Some residents are wary of ‘townies’ who move to the country, so be conscious of who your neighbours are and try to get to know them. Don’t assume your children can ride their bikes across the neighbour’s field. Be respectful and ask first.”
Peett adds that for most residents the country is a workplace and not a rural idyll. “You need to be patient with the slower pace of life. Whatever you do, do not complain of farm smells, cockerels crowing, mud on the road or being caught behind a tractor or herd of cows when driving. Also, do not interfere with country sports and pastimes. If you don’t want to accept these things as part of everyday life in the country, do not move there, or you will become unpopular very quickly,” she says. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/bricks-mortar/make-a-successful-move-to-the-country-vgvcj652j?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=newsletter_113&utm_medium=email&utm_content=113_05.10.18%20Bricks%20Sell%20before%20Xmas%20(1)&CMP=TNLEmail_118918_4240197_113 The Times Friday, 5th October 2018
If you are thinking of moving to the country to Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion or Gower, give us here a call here at West Wales Property Finders on 01834 862816. We can find your perfect property for you whilst saving you time, stress and often money too. http://wwwwestwalespropertyfinders.co.uk