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To ask if you'd rather live in a massive house in a crap location, good-sized house in a good-ish location or diddly house in a fantastic location?

(144 Posts)
Beepbeep1 Tue 05-Mar-13 19:33:06

First of all let me just make clear I'm very blessed to have a house at all! And very grateful. I know people have bigger 'problems' - this is just a lighthearted thread really.

I'd bet we'd all probably like to live in a massive house in a fantastic area - but that's reserved for people with a lot more money than my family.

At the moment we live in a good sized house in an goodish area but I'd absolutely LOVE to live in a quaint little village...it's a long-time fantasy. However on our budget it would be a diddly (quite crap) house. And DH would be very, very reluctant to downsize. I wouldn't mind so much.

We have good schools, little crime, nice community etc but the suburbs just make me feel a bit sad. I don't think I'll ever really properly love it. Does anyone love where they live? Or is the grass always greener?

We have one DS and another on the way though so I suppose things like a nice big garden are important - again, wouldn't get that in the posh village.

What are everyone else's preferences?

GirlOutNumbered Tue 05-Mar-13 20:24:01

Location for me.... Although I don't live in London, so the goodish places are still pretty nice.

Talkinpeace Tue 05-Mar-13 20:25:22

House (since we altered it) is a good / large size
Area is crap/ poor
BUT bus route to nice city centre and local market town is right by, supermarket is walking distance and New Forest is cycling distance

Beepbeep1 Tue 05-Mar-13 20:27:32

Snooty I just have an image of a village idyll in my head that I can't bloody shake. The lovely pub, the little shop, etc.

Where we live is fine. Just so bloody beige. I want the lovely little exclusive village - but you're absolutely correct in that we've kind of made it a bit impossible for ourselves as we are spoilt with space and gardens in the 'burbs and giving that up would be a big ask for DH - particularly as there's nothing 'wrong' with it. We did move from a practical ghetto, honestly. Shootings and stuff. So I should be ecstatic not moaning ungrateful cow

dikkertjedap Tue 05-Mar-13 20:30:38

I used to have a flat in Central London, then a good sized house in a small market town, then a very large house (too large TBH) in a dead boring and unfriendly village and now live in a very comfortable house with smallish garden but close to everything I need or may need (don't need to use the car at all, can do anything either walking or on my bike). From all the places where I have lived this is by far the best one, although I enjoyed the flat in Central London as well.

However, with two kids, I think I would stay put where you are as it seems to have most things you need (schools, community, sufficient space, etc.).

Beepbeep1 Tue 05-Mar-13 20:30:43

Sounds lovely OrWelly. Do you mind me asking how old you were when you made the move?

dikkertjedap Tue 05-Mar-13 20:40:22

Idyll about living in a small village:

- if you need healthcare you need to drive
- if you have a young child which needs to see a doctor urgently, you may face a 1 hour drive minimum (as many out of hours doctors posts in small community hospitals are funnily enough open during the day but not during the evening/nigh/weekends/Holidays)
- if you need to go shopping you need to drive or go to the hugely overpriced village shop which probably won't have what you are looking for
- if you need cash you need to drive to the nearest cash machine as many villages no longer have cash machines and Post Offices for that matter
- villagers may welcome you, but may not, very hard to judge in advance which way it will be, can be very cliquey, think school gates 100 times worse
- kids need to be driven to school, village may have a CofE village school but in all likelihood only until year 4
- kids need to be driven to all activities, such as swimming, sports, clubs etc.
- village school is unlikely to have breakfast club, after school care
- village school is likely to be small which may prove a mixed blessing - small classes often means that year groups have to be combined, less choice in building friendships as there are fewer boys/girls of same age, sometimes hard to attract/retain experienced staff
- if there is heavy snow, you may get stuck unless you have a 4X4
- road around the village may be full with potholes as there is no money to maintain small rural roads
- you will spend a fortune on petrol

Clearly, you may be lucky and end up in a lovely welcoming village with a vibrant community life, brilliant school etc. However, it is not always as idyllic as it may look when you drive through a lovely village.

MidnightMasquerader Tue 05-Mar-13 20:44:14

I think the size of the house can be a bit of a red herring, and hopefully you can pitch it to your DH this way, albeit subtly...

What I mean is, we've lived in a huge house in an amazing location and been miserable (immediately post-emigrating), in a small-ish (4-bed, but small) house in a great location and been the happiest we've ever been (pre-emigrating!) and now, after much moving around and a city change we're in the biggest house we can afford in a good/on-the-rise location, and I already feel happier and more settled, for the first time since emigrating.

The reason? The house itself.

You pretty much know if a potential house is even in the running as soon as you walk into it. It feels right. You wander around envisaging yourselves living in it. And then afterwards, you mentally move in and start imagining what you're going to do to it to make it your own.

Does your DH like the same style of house as you? I mean, is he a cottage-y sort of person? If he's not a character-home type then you've got your work cut out for you. However, if there are certain things that you can identify that will help to sway him on it, then do your research, and find a few places that you can hopefully get him to fall in love with. Maybe somewhere that backs onto fields or grassland or a park or a river - whatever - but something that gives more of an illusion of space. For example.

I love where we are now, and can't imagine us anywhere else. It has been a long time coming!!

babybythesea Tue 05-Mar-13 20:45:57

Well, I think it's a bit horses for courses.

We live in the little village. One road big, with a village hall in which lots of stuff goes on almost constantly, quaint little houses.

Our house is big (four bedrooms, feels huge to us) with a big garden. We have views to die for - we can see literally for miles with hardly any other houses in view.
We could afford it because while all the other houses in the village are quaint, ours most definitely is not. It is an ex-council, square, concrete, pig-ugly place. The much smaller place, which is beautiful, just up the road from us, went for £75,000 more than ours! My thinking is once I'm in the house looking out, I see the nice things and not the ugliness of my house.

The down side is that the village is so small and quaint that there is nothing here. The nearest pint of milk is two miles away, and that shop doesn't sell bread so the nearest loaf of bread is five miles away. On these country roads, that;s about fifteen minutes away (unless you bump into sheep being moved from one field to another like I did the other day in which case it takes longer). That's half an hour or more for a loaf of bread, driving, not walking. No pub either. And anything you want to do activities wise (swimming or brownies or whatever it is) is miles and miles away, and everything is spread out. Which will make after school activities very hard to get to when we reach that stage.

A friend of mine came to stay, pulled a face, and said "Oh god, how do you live here? There's nothing here. What happens when you need to pop out for milk?" My answer: "I love it. I just organise myself. I always check the fridge and the bread bin before I leave the house so I can pick things up on the way out/home, and I keep spare stuff in the freezer just in case. I don't pop out!" And I couldn't live in her flat in Outer London - hemmed in by people, however convenient.

My location is what makes it for me. But because I don't want to live where loads of others do (ie the village is quaint but doesn't have any of the conveniences that people seem to want) I can afford a bigger house too. Win win. And all with a bit of organisation as my only compromise!

digerd Tue 05-Mar-13 20:47:36

Definitely location and a bungalow. Just round the corner village type shops, GP and chemist and Post office. Bus stops as don't drive. Fields, canal, trees. 2 small bedrooms, 2 good sized receptions, but only use the front room now. Just me here and little dog. Nice garden front and back, fish pond with bridge over it leading onto river bank. Just trees and fields behind canal.

Peace and quiet is what I needed and that I have got. Bungalows are in short supply and expensive compared with houses. I consider myself lucky finding this one.
.

Beepbeep1 Tue 05-Mar-13 20:56:11

Thanks for the advice Midnight. We like very different properties. I'd be so happy in a traditional 3 bed semi for example whereas he finds them a step down from an IMO soulless 4 bed new build.

All good points dikkert. We currently live within five minutes of one of the best hospitals in Europe and as I have a long term health condition I'm there an awful lot! Very handy. I'm also a bit neurotic over DSs health (I.e. would prefer to whip him straight to docs and get him checked out than wait on it, as I would guess most parents would do actually). Our suburban GPs is great, will get them in immediately.

In terms of schools - the village I have my eye on has a great one. But you are absolutely right about when DCs get older. They'll be bored shitless and we'd need to drive them everywhere, although I'd like to think we'd make the effort to. Our current school is great too though.

It's hard in that we did move from somewhere diabolical to be here - so really shouldn't complain. There certainly isn't that urgency to move as there's no real need - just my fantasies of life in a gorgeous posh village.

GirlOutNumbered Tue 05-Mar-13 21:02:13

We live in a small village, but it still has a bakers, post office, shop, florists and hairdressers. It is also only 10 mins to a 24 hour tesco and 20 mins to the city centre of the near city.
Best location ever.

Beepbeep1 Tue 05-Mar-13 21:09:46

Sounds perfect Girl.

Beepbeep1 Tue 05-Mar-13 21:10:35

Babyby - I'd tell your friend she's rather rude!! I think it sounds perfect!

babybythesea Tue 05-Mar-13 21:31:11

Yes to almost everything on the list above provided by dikkertjedap!

- if you need healthcare you need to drive - we do. Not always to the same place as different aspects of healthcare are spread around so distances, parking charges etc vary and you are never sure where you're going.

- ^if you have a young child which needs to see a doctor urgently, you may
face a 1 hour drive minimum (as many out of hours doctors posts in small community hospitals are funnily enough open during the day but not during the evening/nigh/weekends/Holidays)^ - Our nearest OOH is about 45 minutes away. Thankfully we've only had to use it once.

- if you need to go shopping you need to drive or go to the hugely overpriced village shop which probably won't have what you are looking for - Or there may not be a village shop at all (see above!)

- if you need cash you need to drive to the nearest cash machine as many villages no longer have cash machines and Post Offices for that matter - yup. No cash machine, no post office. Nearest cash point is one you pay to use about 25 minutes away. This can be a big problem - don't always have cash when I need it and resent having to pay (alternative is to drive for even longer to a non-paying one).

- villagers may welcome you, but may not, very hard to judge in advance which way it will be, can be very cliquey, think school gates 100 times worse
- our village is brilliant - strong sense of community, but mostly they are old. Socialising at a village 'do' usually means attending the WI coffee morning. I don't mind though - they are all very indulgent with dd which makes it easy to attend things and the next village along is younger so we go there for kid company. Still a drive away though).

- kids need to be driven to school, village may have a CofE village school but in all likelihood only until year 4 - yup. Can attend the school in the next village up to age 11 which is great, but will need to be driven there. And to the nearest bus stop for secondary school as the bus doesn't come through here. In fact, no public transport of any description near us.

- kids need to be driven to all activities, such as swimming, sports, clubs etc. - yup. See above.

- ^village school is unlikely to have breakfast club, after school care^- nope. Nowt like that.

- village school is likely to be small which may prove a mixed blessing - small classes often means that year groups have to be combined, less choice in building friendships as there are fewer boys/girls of same age, sometimes hard to attract/retain experienced staff - yup. Total school size - 50 kids. From nursery through to Year 6. Fortunately, it is a brilliant school with great staff, low turnover and an excellent OFSTED, coming out especially well on pastoral care. Two classes - one combining Nursery to Year 2 and the other combining Years 3 to 6. Staff are very aware of issues that may cause and work with otehr schools nearby (also small village schools) to pool resources. A different headteacher could have a totally different impact with no real way of diluting anything you don't like.

- if there is heavy snow, you may get stuck unless you have a 4X4. Yup. We bought a 4x4 for this very reason, having been stuck and unable to get out of the village before now. We are also now in a position to help elderly neighbours if it happens again, rather than needing help ourselves.

- road around the village may be full with potholes as there is no money to maintain small rural roads - not too much of an issue - definitely some but no more than anywhere else.

- you will spend a fortune on petrol - oh yes indeed.

Good list!
I still love it though - most of the things that could be big negatives here aren't - like the friendly villagers - but we weren't to know this before moving in. And most of the inconveniences are overcomeable. We'll see if we still feel like this when dd wants to go out with friends and we have to provide the taxi service...

OrWellyAnn Tue 05-Mar-13 22:19:36

Mid-Thirties. Honestly the best thing we ever did. There are nights when I sit and worry about our retirement, but then I think there were an equal number of nights when I used to lie in bed at the old house and think 'this is not me' and i cant say that it was less stressful than the money worry. DH and I both grew up in the back of beyond though, so it's very familiar to us. It helps that we have made an amazing group of friends here. I've never felt more 'in the right place' iyswim.
The big plus for us though is that we rent from a country gent with a big estate. House has been in his family for generations. No mortgage for him to pay so rent is v reasonable...and we can have it for as long as we like.

aldiwhore Tue 05-Mar-13 22:22:25

I would happily live in a one roomed pigsty overlooking the Torridge Estuary... I just have to convince the rest of the family!

midastouch Tue 05-Mar-13 22:22:48

i think id go for the middle one, fair sized house in fair location. That would be an improvement in my tiny rented house in crappy location sad maybe one day i'll win lottery

aldiwhore Tue 05-Mar-13 22:24:48

Saying that, we live in a tiny house with a massive garden in the country, so I'm a bit lazy about putting my pigsty plan into action because I am relatively happy here, especially in the spring and summer.

It would be a nightmare for some of my mates though... I'm glad people have different tastes.

The thought of a big house gives me the heeby jeebies.

IncognitoIsMyFavouriteWord Tue 05-Mar-13 22:26:56

I live in a diddly house in a good location anyway but we're a diddly family so only need a diddly house grin

foreversunny Tue 05-Mar-13 22:28:49

We live in a tiny, tiny, 2 up 2 down cottage in a semi-rural village. We outgrew our house around 5 years ago grin (all 5 of us!)

We do have a huge garden though which helps soften the blow of having a tiny house (around 80m long). It's our savior in the Summer months!

We love the area, such a strong sense of community, rural, lovely walks, little streams for the DDs to play in, wildlife galore, one local shop and a local pub.

We want to settle here long term so we're hoping one day we can afford a bigger house in the area. It's a very, very long way off yet but the dream is there.

Lueji Tue 05-Mar-13 22:33:20

We went for a fairly good sized house (3 people) in a reasonable area.

The garden was not enormous, but it was compensated by leading onto a large play field, with a children's park too.
And leading to a nice primary school with large grounds.

The same house in a more built up area would have seemed more claustrophobic.

Lueji Tue 05-Mar-13 22:35:05

But also convenient for train station (5 min) and gp (10 min walk).

SirBoobAlot Tue 05-Mar-13 22:35:56

My house and location are perfect. I never forget how bloody lucky I was to find this place. I'm disabled, and it's a bungalow. I'm in an area that has a worse reputation than it deserves, and I wouldn't move anywhere else.

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 05-Mar-13 22:36:17

We live on a busy road in a thoroughly dull location ... but it is within 10mins walk from everything that we need in life (town centre, railway station, bus stop, decent takeaway grin, primary and secondary schools, church, park, riverside walk). There are those who turn up their noses at the place where we live. It's not a "naice" address. But we have chosen to stay where we are and extend our house to make it into a comfortable size for a family.

So I guess I do think location is important - but not for reasons of snobbishness or social aspiration. And I'm really looking forward to my big new kitchen!

teacherwith2kids Tue 05-Mar-13 22:36:20

Moved from an 'idyllic' village to a (not unattractive) town several years ago.

Best decision we ever made, in terms of schools, activities, transport, work opportunities, breadth of social mix, ease of access to the highest levels of whatever the children get into - football, dance, table tennis, archery, whatever, great facilities with high standard coaching available on the doorstep - healthcare, etc etc.

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