With house prices remaining strong in London many Londoners now find themself in the position of being able to afford to trade in their 1 or 2 bedroom flat for a 4 or 5 bedroom house in the countryside where house prices have held steady or even fallen over the last year.
Recently the insurance firm NFU Mutual claimed over 100,000 people a year were swapping city living for a place in the country. A number we think will only continue to grow as people carry on the trend of selling their homes in London to get more space for their money in other parts of the county.
Some examples we found from local estate agents include a small 2 bedroom terrace house in Wandsworth that was on the market for £799,950 which could buy you a 5 bedroom detached house set in 3 acres in a village just outside Taunton and you’d still be left with £100,000 in change!
We asked removals companies in Somerset what advice they’d give buyers looking to make the move to the county and here’s the top 5 tips we received.
1) If possible visit the area in the winter and summer or ask a few local people what it’s like at different times of the year. Some locations (particularly nearer the coast) are very quiet in the winter and become very busy with holiday makers in the summer.
2) Large gardens and land always look great, but remember it may become a bit of a chore mowing a large lawn every other weekend in the summer.
3) If you need the internet for work or watch TV online you had better check what internet connections are available at potential properties as in general properties based in the countryside have slower connections.
4) Location, location, location – This applies to any new property search and is defiantly applicable when looking to move to the countryside. Distance to work, catchment area for schools, how far to the supermarket, what leisure facilities are nearby etc.
5) Get a full survey done, it’s not uncommon for rural country houses to be hundreds of years old plus if you’re moving to an area you’re not familiar with houses may have been built in a different style/with different building materials than the area you currently live in.
While country life may not suite everyone there are a few things you can do to help yourself if you are considering making the move. Here are a few extra tips we think you should consider when planning making the move.
Think about running costs, if you’re buying a much bigger house then it’ll cost more to heat in the winter than a smaller house. Some maintenance jobs may require more effort e.g. painting the windows (although the chances are labour will be cheaper).
Secondly make a concerted effort to get involved in the community, making friends and getting to know your neighbours is key to settling in the countryside where there’s a much smaller population. Things you can do to help include: using local tradesmen, attending local events and if you’re into any sports/hobbies join a local club.
Lastly do your research, make sure the area is right for you don’t take on project you’re not confident with. Moving to a new area can be stressful at the best of times so anything that adds to that stress shouldn’t be considered lightly.