The move out from London can seem very daunting but don’t worry, you are following a very well trodden path! When you have moved and found loads of friends who have all done the same thing with similar experiences, you will breathe a sigh of relief and realise it was the right answer.
But there are a few key things that need to be done first, and this article should help provide a check list. PropertyTurner are very happy to chat any of this through in further detail.
Which area of Kent?
This will largely be dependant upon your own priorities and finances. We believe the commute is key and it is important to balance the train journey with house prices and school options and a decision as to whether you want to stay relatively urban – Sevenoaks town for example or more rural, say a village in the Weald of Kent near Cranbrook.
Schools play a huge part here, finding a school you love which has spaces is a top priority and then balance that with how long a commute you are prepared to do and what type of property you get for your money and it will soon become obvious which part of Kent is for you.
One of the key drivers people move out of London is the schools. People are very keen for their kids to have space to play, learn and just be kids, however they are also keen to ensure a top education. The prep school offer in Kent is first class, no matter what you are looking for with a good many options, all with a slightly different emphasis. The school registrars are a very friendly bunch, and often have had kids go through the schools themselves and understand individual concerns. Most have previously done the move out of London themselves not that many years ago, so ringing and asking for a prospectus and an appointment to go and see the schools is an easy step.
Another key time people move is when the eldest child is coming up to secondary schooling and parents decide they do not want to out their child through the whole London day school struggle for places. Again Kent wins here with a number of excellent options in both the private and state sector, remember Kent still has grammar schools which is a great option for many.
Where to live?
Having decided an area and a school the final piece of the jigsaw is the house. The first decision is often to buy or rent. Moving is expensive, especially with stamp duty at its new levels and therefore many families want to move out, get the kids settled at school and then decide where to buy. However, be aware that decent rental properties are in high demand and if this is the route you have decided to go, then be prepared to speak to the agents daily and come down to view at the drop of a hat. Such is the demand that in the summer months good family properties to rent can go within a day. Also renting is not cheap, be prepared to pay over £2000 per month for a decent family home, with many properties fetching nearer £3000.
However, most people want to start their lives down here in their new homes and are keen to combine a sale in London with a buy in the country. It makes them feel more settled and permanent. The pitfalls are huge if you go wrong and it is important to know you have made a sound investment. Know your areas well, for example know what are the rat run roads that are impossible at school run time but might seem fine during a Saturday afternoon viewing? What is the best route to the most reliable train station? (not as obvious as it may appear at first). Is the property old and listed with character but also gaping draughts and enormous running costs or contemporary and efficient to run? Is it on mains drainage or do you have an old cesspit in the garden? Is there mains gas or are you going to be reliant on the price of oil (which, incidentally, is very reasonable at the moment). Does the flow of the house work?
Land is another consideration, a big garden sounds great but just consider the time and money involved in maintaining a large garden. Big country houses are beautiful places to live but they can be time consuming and costly to run. The villages are all slightly different, some offering great community spirit and some offering more seclusion.
With both rental and purchase properties there will be other parties in the same position. And that is why we suggest using PropertyTurner Search Agents. We know the agents and get to hear about a considerable amount of properties before they hit the internet. We also know our market and the relevant comparables and can discuss value with you from a position of knowledge. Our local knowledge also means that we can tell you which roads and which villages represent sound investments.