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?

PhallicGiraffe Tue 05-Mar-13 19:34:27

Location, location, location.

DENMAN03 Tue 05-Mar-13 19:37:03

Having had to move fairly recently, I actually decided on a good-ish house in a good-ish location. Not a brilliant town but a nice part of that town. I had to move out of a fab village and could have bought the very expensive shoe box, however I still wanted space to have friends and family round! Practicality overcome the love of the village.

I would never buy a huge house in a rubbish location. You would have nightmares trying to sell it and its just more rooms to clean!

lljkk Tue 05-Mar-13 19:38:59

Weird thing is that everywhere I've lived has grown on me over time, even Loughborough. Loughborough!!!

My mother, who had a fantastic knack of buying property in rising neighbourhoods, always said spend as much money as you can buying the smallest/cheapest house in a fab area.

For me personally I'd go medium nice house in medium nice area, all else held constant.

littlepeas Tue 05-Mar-13 19:39:07

Always location. We have a 2 bedroom house and 3dc! I wouldn't consider living anywhere else, so we just have to wait until we can afford something bigger in this area (shouldn't be too much longer). My parents made the opposite decision and how I wish they hadn't.

Smartiepants79 Tue 05-Mar-13 19:39:44

Safe location with good schools and then the best that we could get!

BMW6 Tue 05-Mar-13 19:40:02

Location wins hands down

yuleheart Tue 05-Mar-13 19:40:21

The old adage ' always buy the worst house in the best location' comes to mind.

You can always do up a 'crap' house, you can't single-handedly do up a crap area.

Cotapaxi Tue 05-Mar-13 19:40:59

Village location, location wins hands down every time for me even it was a lot smaller.

StuntGirl Tue 05-Mar-13 19:41:57

Smaller house in the better location. But then we only have two adults to consider; if we had kids we'd need to take their needs into consideration too, which might mean being unable to move into our first choice property due to cost.

JeffActually Tue 05-Mar-13 19:42:06

For us it would have to be be good-ish house in a good-ish location.
We currently live in a teeny tiny victorian terrace house with a teeny tiny garden (which is a bonus) in a lovely market town in the Westcountry - but with DC2 on the way very soon the house will be just too small.
Sleeping arrangements are fine (2 bed) but it is the downstairs space that is the squish. The front door opens straight from the street into the lounge and the stairs are also in the lounge so we have space for a 2 seater sofa and our dining room table and that is pretty much it!
We can't afford a larger house in the town so will have to move a little further away which is a huge shame as we love it here.

Beepbeep1 Tue 05-Mar-13 19:42:25

Oh how I wish my DH would agree. I'd love to get the crap house in the fantastic area. He's a happy suburbanite.

Catsdontcare Tue 05-Mar-13 19:42:28

I'd rather move all four of us to a one bed studio flat than leave our current area.

Roseformeplease Tue 05-Mar-13 19:42:43

I live in a large house in an amazing location but, because the wilds of Scotland are not for everyone, it was really, really cheap. Fortunately, we don't have to factor in catchment areas, jobs or anything and we were lucky to find this place. Used to live in a tiny flat (1 bed) in a grim bit of London and it is worth the same as we bought this place for.

Cakethrow Tue 05-Mar-13 19:46:14

Location for me too.

Reluctantly gave up living in the city centre (in a flat). This reluctance meant I would only move to a nice village, like where I grew up as anything else would've made the move seem like too much of a compromise.

I live in a lovely area in a small house with a small back garden but I'm glad to be here! It's the perfect location - near public transport (I don't have a car), near the village centre, near the countryside and near 3 exclent schools.
It's also tucked away where I can see the stars at night and hear the birds singing during the day. (Sorry, I'm waffling!)

we are trying to buy our first house and due to our budget we have had to settle for a do-er upper in the best shittest area (as in its not the crapest but not the best by a long way). Its our first rung on the ladder and out of all the crap areas we can afford we have chosen this one as its the most likely to be the easiest to sell in a couple of years, and if they accept my VERY low offer we will hopefully make a good profit too.

Beepbeep1 Tue 05-Mar-13 19:48:07

I'm jealous Cakethrow.

blueberryupsidedown Tue 05-Mar-13 19:48:07

Size for me, and a garden. I would be miserable in a tiny house with no garden, would prefer an average area with an average house if it has a garden.

TuttoRhino Tue 05-Mar-13 19:52:02

We went for a good house in a good location. It wasn't our first choice of location as we couldn't afford the same size of house or something next to a good school. This place has a lovely location, great school nearby but is further out than we were originally looking to be.

However, we're loving the neighbourhood so far and I think we made a really good decision after all. It's in a neighbourhood that is on the up so hopefully it will only get nicer.

Sheilathegreat Tue 05-Mar-13 19:53:59

We have a very large house in what would be perceived as a crap area and would probably make the average mumsnetter run for the hills. But we've rather inadvertently grown roots. We love our house, the diverse community, our neighbours (some of the time) and have made ourselves 'a home'. I can't see us leaving.

NC78 Tue 05-Mar-13 19:55:54

good sized house in a goodish location.

INeedThatForkOff Tue 05-Mar-13 19:58:45

Location. We have a small house with a big garden in a very nice part of town. My cousin has a massive place with land, but the neighbours hate them and they hate the neighbours (all of them) which is different I know, but an all round pain in the ass.

Adversecamber Tue 05-Mar-13 19:58:56

Location but then again villages are not the be all and end all for me, memories of a lot of curtain twitching and any fallings out can have huge repercussions.

LaTrucha Tue 05-Mar-13 20:00:25

diddy house in a good location. DH and I faced precisely this dilemma and we are very pleased we chose the good location.

We bought at the height of the property market in late 2007. Our house hasn't depreciated and we have beautiful scenery and walking distance to everything we need.

A friend chose a bigger house in a less nice location at the same time and she knows she will never get what she paid for it.

I do dream of a kitchen that isn't also a dining room and utility room though.

Altinkum Tue 05-Mar-13 20:01:13

Its neither for me tbh, for me its above the community and what the community provides, a house is just bricks and mortar, a home is where the heart is happy.

Weeeell, we have a great (old) house in a 'good' location (low crime, good High Street, good state schools, great motorway/train links to the rest of the world), but very, very boring suburban location grin.

I agree with old 'location, location, location' adage if you are looking for a house that must (at least) keep its value if a further move is on the cards. However, if like for us, the house is a forever-house, then it does not matter quite so much.

I happen to like semi-rural/suburban life and the fact we have masses of space, can walk everywhere and much as there is an active community here, the place is big enough that not everybody knows everybody's business wink.

I sometimes wander around, admiring the stained glass windows and wood panelling, and I still cannot believe that I live in a house like this. Personally, I would not swap it for a lesser place in a 'better' location. DH might.

I am not moving again until I go into sheltered housing btw.

Horses for courses, methinks.

Icelollycraving Tue 05-Mar-13 20:01:27

Well,the sensible option would be the middle of the road. Small but somewhere fabulous,vibrant & fun pre dc. Sensible with dc.
I currently live in the ghetto according to a thread last week.

Owllady Tue 05-Mar-13 20:02:23

I rent Father Ted Crilly's house in a good location for us

Moominsarehippos Tue 05-Mar-13 20:02:29

Location. We are teensy but in a lovely area. We have huge parks, nice shops, libraries with books in them and the bins are emptied every day.

Beepbeep1 Tue 05-Mar-13 20:04:58

I want the village gastro pub sad

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 05-Mar-13 20:06:27

Location

Though in practice we have tended to buy the good ish house inn the good ish area.

Once tried the bigger house in a crap area and we were so desperately miserable there we moved quite quickly even though we lost money

disclaimer, just because it was crap for us I'm not saying it would be crap for everyone!

Owllady Tue 05-Mar-13 20:06:28

bins are emptied everyday?
not fortnightly?grin

AngryFeet Tue 05-Mar-13 20:07:01

We have based all our moves on school catchments. We are currently in the middle of purchasing a smallish house that needs to be completely redecorated because it is just around the corner from a very good secondary. We live in Croydon and good secondaries are hard to come by so this has to be the deciding factor for us. When decorated and hopefully extended in time it will be a lovely house.

Here it is http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-40161755.html

AngryFeet Tue 05-Mar-13 20:07:12
exoticfruits Tue 05-Mar-13 20:07:16

Location, location, location-every time.

Beepbeep1 Tue 05-Mar-13 20:08:52

Ooh perfect doer-upper Angry!

we have a teeny tiny gorgeous ancient cottage in about the best location in the world.

We are about to build some more house here because we couldn't bear to move!

Viviennemary Tue 05-Mar-13 20:09:09

It's all compromise. I certainly wouldn't live in a tiny house so I could move to the trendiest village around. But location is important. As even in a recession prices will hold better in good locations.

NumericalMum Tue 05-Mar-13 20:09:14

We have a large house but in an area most people wouldn't want to stay in!

Silly really as we lived in a gorgeous shoebox in a trendy location. We were burgled and had our car broken into a few times. Here it is very quiet in comparison, crime is about the same and as we had no hope of getting into the naice schools in either location due to minute catchments so that was never a factor.

We are minutes away from DC's (fee paying) school and minutes from several transport links. That was my only search factor, commuting time!

The area borders 3 much nicer areas so I think it could improve. We also had to buy a wreck fixer-upper!

HollyBerryBush Tue 05-Mar-13 20:09:51

Let me think about this - my cousins diddy 4 bed terrace in Ladbroke grove, Notting Hill worth 4million or my diddy South Outter London subirbian semi, worth about a 10th of that.

I'd take his 4mill pad with civilised neighbours any day of the week. Not that my neighbours are uncivilised but you get the drift.

Always buy what you can afford in a good location, coz if you buy big in a bad location, you'll never get your money back

AngryFeet Tue 05-Mar-13 20:12:00

That's the plan beepbeep. Just waiting for the slow solicitors to get on with their bloody job and we might be in by Easter smile

FellNel Tue 05-Mar-13 20:14:06

It depends on how diddy. I wouldn't live in a house that was so small and inappropriate for our needs that it depressed me and stressed me to be there, no matter good the location was. I suppose I would plump for number 2. A sensible compromise.

There is no way I'd live somewhere totally crap for all the space in the world though.

thesnootyfox Tue 05-Mar-13 20:14:42

It sounds like you are in a good location with a good house. I wouldn't give that up lightly.

What do you mean by suburbs? And why does it make you sad?

I personally wouldn't want to live in a village with children. Getting in a car all the time isn't much fun and teenagers won't thank you for it.

BabyRoger Tue 05-Mar-13 20:17:52

We had the exact same problem! We decided to go with a biggish house in an ok location. The lovely village is only 5 mins up the road but the same house there would be WAY out of our price range.

I have two young kids and they really need the space and garden.

I am really happy in our house and the area is nice enough and on the edge of a nice country park but I would love to live in the lovely village. House size won out for us though.

I am happy enough though as I moved from a teeny house in a shit area!

NumericalMum Tue 05-Mar-13 20:17:58

Angry feet I think you may be my bil's nearly neighbour!

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Tue 05-Mar-13 20:18:01

sheilathegreat we did that too, very happy for 8 years or so. I suppose it's what you consider to be crap though, isn't it?

I read once that the happiest people are those who are relatively richer than the people they live near. Makes sense.

I now live in the country and l like it just as much as my 'poorer' area.

NotHerRealname Tue 05-Mar-13 20:18:58

Well I live in a small 3 bedroom house in a crappish location.
This used to make me unhappy until I woke up and realised that

a) I am lucky to own a house at all, let alone one big enough for my needs.
b) The area is ok, just a bit scruffy
c) the people here are nice, crime is fairly low and its all fine.

I was born and raised in a quaint village in a large four bedroom, huge rambling garden and it was fab. Due to our income, this will never be an option for us. I have really struggled to get my head around this, but I am getting there!
Its hard though when I am such a raving snob [big grin]

Beepbeep1 Tue 05-Mar-13 20:19:47

Ooh lovely Angry! Good luck in your new home smile.

Moominsarehippos Tue 05-Mar-13 20:20:29

I suspect the neighbours in Ladbroke Grove (oops, Kensington North) will be a tad on the uncivilised side... It's still a bit ruff ruff there, even with a 4mil price tag! My friend was brought up there in a massive detached house and said it was like a war zone. Sadly the prices have shot up because people move in thinking that it is 'trendy Notting Hill' (even though it was a bit rough and ready when I moved there in the 1990s) and expect to see Julia Roberts tripping along Portobello.

OrWellyAnn Tue 05-Mar-13 20:21:56

Live in a lovely house in a fantastic hamlet, no street lights, no shop and the post office is once a week in the local farmers front room. Garden is huge for the kids. We swapped from a semi in the 'burbs...the catch? We rent. Couldn't afford to own this in a million years. Have probs destroyed chances of owning a decent house in our dotage...but my kids are having the moSt excellent country upbringing, which is what I've always dreamed of, so to me at least, it's worth it.

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.

Startail Tue 05-Mar-13 22:36:28

Goodish house in a goodish location.

Massive house if your scared to walk out the door or wouldn't send your DCs to the local school is pointless. Used to have a nice ex council house, reasonable size, but local kids climbing on the garage roof and pinching things out the garden didn't make me want to stay when DD1 was born.

DH and I both collect junk. We'll me and now DD1 collect craft stuff and he collects electrical stuff. We could live in the most beautiful place in the world and we'd still want space for hobby related stuff.

AngryFeet Tue 05-Mar-13 22:37:35

Really numerical?! How funny! Does he like it there?

GoOnDoOne Tue 05-Mar-13 22:39:04

What Altinkum said. We've a nice house in a 'rising' location but the community and our neighbours are what swing it for us.

LivingThings Tue 05-Mar-13 23:23:24

I just love the beauty of my homes location - endless National Trust and Woodland Trust on my doorstep and I can run for miles and never be on a road. My house is a new build one-off 5 bed down a country lane and I love it although looking to extend it even more.

AlphaAndEcho Tue 05-Mar-13 23:26:13

Medium house in medium area definitely . I think that's the (excuse the pun) happy medium grin

Kytti Tue 05-Mar-13 23:27:32

When you have little ones, the space at home is very important. Great if you can have it. Once they're older, you will be able to do all that kind of thing and you might not miss the big garden so much. If it's a nice area, then great. Location is everything, but if the place you're in is already quite good, losing a garden or a bedroom might be a bit drastic.

That sounds like you can't do without space, and I know you can. But I can't say anything , because I fled the town for somewhere halfway round the world for more space. smile

Terranova Wed 06-Mar-13 00:08:09

We have a good sized house, in an ok but not perfect location, I would love to live in a better area but then we couldn't afford school fees, and we would have to down size, that I couldn't do, space is very important to me, we entertain a lot, we have friends and family stay over quite a bit, and have 2 spare double rooms both with ensuite. We compromised in living here.

I don't like living in a built up area, I wish it were more rural. But its way cheaper, we have pretty much rebuilt this place to suite our needs. I don't think I can do all that again, and lose a chunk of space in the process.

JockTamsonsBairns Wed 06-Mar-13 01:08:50

Location every time - and, sadly, I speak from bitter experience.

Some years ago, around the height of the property boom, Dh and I sold our modest 2 bed town house, and ploughed everything we had into a barn conversion that we'd fallen in love with. It's the most amazing house, five bedrooms, three receptions, 32ft kitchen, floor to top-ceiling windows - we bought entirely emotionally, with no thought to the practicality at all. It's very rural, with views that you could only dream of.

Three years ago, we relocated to the South East with Dh's job - and have been renting down here with a view to selling our 'dream' home. Nope, nobody's interested at all. It's in North East Lincolnshire, the local schools are fairly crap and there's high unemployment everywhere. I can't believe we didn't do our homework on that front - we just fell in love with it and went for it, but it's become a bit of a millstone round our necks.

So, yes - location every time.

MusicalEndorphins Wed 06-Mar-13 03:15:35

Location location location.

middling middling for us. Too small makes us shouty. We figured out that when we were renovating and living on top of each other while another part of the house was being torn apart. It was stressful renovating, but much more stressful being in one or two rooms like sardines.

LouiseD29 Wed 06-Mar-13 06:15:07

Goodish house, goodish location. I live in London, and could just about afford a studio flat in a central, zone 1 location, but I prefer my lovely three bed flat a bit further out. Appreciate this becomes a different question when you're outside London though, particularly in the countryside, because of the transport, relationship with your neighbours, etc.

LtEveDallas Wed 06-Mar-13 06:32:53

We are buying this year and we have been surprised to discover that for us is neither location or house, but schools and other kids.

We have seen some bloody lovely houses, ones that we have both fallen in love with, but then sat on the street at school home time and not seen a single other child - so the house gets discounted sad

I've always said that I didn't want to live on an estate - but have realised that it is what is best for DD. Shes an only, and I don't want her isolated. I want her to make lots of friends and have the same kind of childhood I did.

So DH and I have put aside our dreams of a country cottage for now and are looking at far more practical options. Hopefully we can still get into a village, just not the ones we really want.

Eastpoint Wed 06-Mar-13 06:33:39

Location. We live near excellent public transport which means we can go anywhere easily. We can also walk to butchers, fishmongers etc and to parks. Great when DC were smaller as we could walk to playgrounds, nursery etc and now they can do things independently. House size less important as we didn't have DCs to never see them when we are all at home.

MrsFrin Wed 06-Mar-13 07:22:44

I live in one of those 'soulless' new builds on a big development & have to say its the best decision we made. Lots of young families all moving in at the same time means people actively trying to make friends, there have to be good public transport links as that's how these places get planning permission, we've had street parties for the last two summers and the

MrsFrin Wed 06-Mar-13 07:26:13

(Sorry) place actually does have a soul! Plus we're surrounded by fields and although the house may not have the period features every seems to be obsessed with, it is warm light and actually designed for family living. Plus if anything goes wrong I phone up& someone comes to fix it for free!

Downandoutnumbered Wed 06-Mar-13 08:29:13

I'm struggling with this at the moment, though from a different perspective. We moved from a flat in Central London to a house in zone 3, basically for DS's sake - our local schools were pretty bad, we couldn't afford to go private, and DH wanted a garden for DS to play in (ha bloody ha, given the summer we had last year). My head knows perfectly well it was the right thing to do. The local schools are good, we're near public transport, our house is pretty enough (but modern so the low ceilings feel oppressive: our old flat was in a Victorian conversion), and DS is in a good nursery at the moment.

BUT I hate suburban life and once you've moved out of town ever-increasing house price differentials mean you can probably never go back. I'm crying inside at the thought that I"ll never live in town again. I just have to accept that it's not all about me and get on with it.

rollmopses Wed 06-Mar-13 08:49:28

Massive house in fantastic location, thank you.

Wishiwasanheiress Wed 06-Mar-13 08:52:03

Compromise. So good ish wins.

impty Wed 06-Mar-13 08:59:38

We had good house in a good location. Moved to an equally good house in an amazing location.
We went from having the biggest house around to being in the smallest house. Even though they're the same size iykwim.
Location really is key. Which is what i remind myself when i see the mortgage statement!grin

Ragwort Wed 06-Mar-13 08:59:39

We live in a largish house in a goodish location (if that makes sense grin); for many years we lived in a beautiful home in a lovely 'village' location but quite honestly unless you were big on gardening/self sufficiency etc there wasn't a huge amount of things to do (and yes, I did get involved in every community group possible). It became a pain to have to get the car out to buy a pint of milk and for children growing up it was difficult, they had no independence at all. Equally for anyone older, on their own, without a car it was very, very isolating.

We now live on the outskirts of a small town and it is great that children can walk on their own to school/to the swimming pool etc etc.

Ragwort Wed 06-Mar-13 09:02:27

LtEveDallas makes a good point, when you are a family you do need to consider the needs of your children; we also have an only child and so this sort of small estate location is ideal for us. Of course when DS leaves home we will have to choose between a city apartment which I would love or a rural cottage for DH grin.

sherbetpips Wed 06-Mar-13 09:03:59

good-ish house in a good-ish location. We are on an estate so nothing attractive and its a box house BUT its a big box house near a lovely village with lots of bars/shops/restaurants and great schools. Great houses in the same location (but off the estate) are a good £100k more so that is no gonna happen!

sherbetpips Wed 06-Mar-13 09:06:16

also excellent public transport and links to the city. We did live off the estate (but still near by) in a smaller house on a side road. Although the location was better my DS was too far away from friends, couldnt walk to school etc. For the moment the priority is him, we get our choice with the next house!

WeAreEternal Wed 06-Mar-13 09:15:53

I've had all three and I can definitely without a doubt say that you should always go for location over anything else.

Because you can always improve (or extend) your house but you can not improve the location/area.

Terranova Wed 06-Mar-13 09:29:48

Jocktamson. I'm so sorry you are in such a position. I must admit if it were not for us being gazumped we would be in a similar position. We fell in love with a very unique property not far from where we live. I actually know the couple living there now, as their daughter is friends with our youngest.

Their property is worth approx £200k more than ours And they are beginning to regret ever stepping inside. They want Thier daughter to go to private school and plan to downsize to fund it. The property market is still awful here.
Thankfully our house isn't unique, however it is top end of market for the area so our prospective buyers market would be very small.

Wish you lots of luck with selling. Xx

cuillereasoupe Wed 06-Mar-13 09:44:05

We have a massive house in a location that terrifies most of my friends. BUT the local authorities are pumping money into the town because it's so crap ATM and we're getting a new train line next year so I reckon if we sit tight for a year or two we'll do well out of it.

FreudiansSlipper Wed 06-Mar-13 09:49:39

Location

for what we pay rent a good size house in suburbia or stay in bigger flat that I let out myself but much happier here and it has a great community feel

ivanapoo Wed 06-Mar-13 10:01:58

We went for nicer house, slightly less desirable / more suburban location. We probably won't make a huge profit on it or anything but our neighbours are lovely, we're near shops and a couple of decent eateries and most of our socialising is done around each other's houses anyway.

I feel happy every time I walk into my house, it's spacious and lovely.

jellybeans Wed 06-Mar-13 10:17:27

Small house in great area definitely. In fact that is what we have chosen.

SinisterBuggyMonth Wed 06-Mar-13 10:25:04

If it was just me I'd go tiny house fantastic location, something by the seaside.

But now I have a family I go for the goodish size house good location.

Terranova Wed 06-Mar-13 12:36:02

Cuillereasoupe, we have friends who joke about that when they come here, though we arnt a dire area, more middle, it's just you have to drive past a rough area about 1 mile from where we are, before it starts getting better again.

However every party we have, and most weekends, our house gets the vote to host, as with the kids in tow, we can't all fit into posh postcode shoe boxes with tiny gardens, we have a good sized garden and the kids can ride their bikes here.

INeverSaidThat Wed 06-Mar-13 14:20:17

Location 80%
House 20%

Hard to say though.

Beepbeep1 Thu 07-Mar-13 16:34:57

Well...I've four the village smile so now I just need to find the right house at the right price. I suppose as we're in no rush that makes things simpler?

Ahh it's gorgeous. 10 mins from the suburb where we currently live (and where our parents live). 5 mins from a good market town and 20 from the city. It has it's own c of e school, a pub, village hall.

DH not totally averse but we'll see what he's like if I do spot the house.

Beepbeep1 Thu 07-Mar-13 16:35:13

* found the

cheeseandchive Thu 07-Mar-13 17:30:25

We went for a big house (well, 3 bed 2 reception rooms - significantly bigger than what we could have afforded elsewhere) in a location that would send a lot of people running for the hills. We knew we wanted a big family and so went for the trade-off that made the most sense.

But, similar to someone else up-thread, the council have been pumping money into it because of it's bad reputation so I think we'll ok out of it eventually. The area is really popular with landlords, is close to the city centre, some local attractions etc. We have amazing neighbours who look out for us and have actually found ourselves quite a little community in such a seemingly unfriendly area.

However, I did always grow up thinking I'd end up living in blissful village peace...I am still dreaming!

Saltpig Thu 07-Mar-13 17:51:49

I used to live in a big house in a good location. Now I live in a diddly, nice house in a fantastic location. The rent isn't diddly though hmm.

I plan to buy soon and I'll sacrifice the location somewhat for a another diddly house because the prices here (whitstable) are very silly grin.

cheeseandchive Fri 08-Mar-13 11:12:42

Having said that, I have just seen a man blow his nose very loudly into his hand and all over the street.

I would now happily live in a house the size of a matchbox, just to be somewhere where people do.not.do.this.

We've gone for the good house / good location. We are in London and are moving out of a flat in Zone 2 to a house in Zone 3. The location is fine, there are lots of families in the area and transport links are good.

We just needed the space and wanted a garden for the children. Its not too suburban (we once lived in Zone 5 and I didn't like it much) but we won't be able to walk to Oxford Street anymore. My ideal would be to transport the house to where we live now but short of winning the Euromillions I don't think that's going to happen.

KobayashiMaru Fri 08-Mar-13 12:13:09

Its all about location so why put a property thread in aibu?

Viviennemary Fri 08-Mar-13 12:36:08

Well I can see why people put it in AIBU because more folk will see it. I wouldn't go on the property topic that often unless I was looking for some specific subject.

jakesmith Fri 08-Mar-13 13:06:36

Location every time, far better appreciation on the value too so you have more flexibility if you do decide on space later

LaFataTurchina Fri 08-Mar-13 13:16:14

Location for me - no kids yet, and live in a small flat in a naice area.

I think I'd choose small house/flat in a nice location if I had kids too though. I was born in Milan where most people live in flat and most children share bedrooms.
Plus we lived in a bit of a dodgy area growing up and my parents spent ages driving me and my brother around to activities/friends houses as we didn't have many local friends.

maninawomansworld Tue 19-Mar-13 11:19:21

Location every time. We moved a while back from a HUGE house in a nice suburban / semirural area to a good sized house with loads of land in the middle of the sicks.
I am like a pig in muck! I love it and the only way I'm ever leaving is in a box!

littlecrystal Fri 19-Jul-13 16:24:03

I would say a small house in a great location, but then great location for me equals great schools, nevermind everything else.
Currently live in a goodish house in a crap location and thinking of seriously downsizing to be in boring suburbs - I hope my DC will thank me for that when they grow up.

VeryDullNameChange Fri 19-Jul-13 16:36:10

Location has two aspects - the niceness of the area, but also the commute. The "Commuter's Fallacy" has an actual name, whereby people pick a house with an extra two rooms they hardly ever use (or, in the UK, a garden they hardly ever use) but in a location which costs them an extra hour of their life every working day.

We live in a location that many MNers would consider ropy, but the short (and consistently short) commute to Central London is beyond price in terms of quality of life.

Obviously a SAHM may see it differently.

TheCatIsUpTheDuff Fri 19-Jul-13 16:46:31

Depends why the house is crap. If it needs work which you'll be able to afford over time, I'd consider it. If it's not big enough for your family or needs more work than you can afford before it hits crisis point, I wouldn't.

We have an adequate house in a not very special location, but it's convenient for both of us for family and work, and is going to be quite a squeeze when the baby arrives. It'll have to do for now. The next move is still going to be a compromise; it'll have to be in the same mediocre town, and will probably be a new-estate type house. Older, more interesting houses nearer the town centre are a LOT more money for the same amount of accommodation, but we'll make the best of it and hope that one day we can afford what we'd really like.

stuckindamiddle Tue 04-Mar-14 22:41:05

Dikker - my DH grew up in a small village like you describe and really resents it now. He found it v isolating as a pre-teen and teen and his (single) mum found it impossible to keep up with transporting him and his siblings to all the activities they wanted to do.

He'd agree with all the drawbacks you highlight and would never live in such a village again.

Caff2 Wed 05-Mar-14 00:05:36

We rent an estate cottage in a lovely village. We love it, have a fantastic landlord (Our local aristocrat, may or may not be closely related to the royal family ;) ) and my children both love it here (aged 13 and 19 mths). Location for me; I never want to leave my gorgeous cottage. Which I don't even own. But we have a secure tenancy and a free reign to do what we like with the place in terms of making it our own.

Caff2 Wed 05-Mar-14 00:07:04

Oh - the point was we could afford to buy a much smaller place in our local town in a horrible area. So we stay in our gorgeous rented home.

winterhat Wed 05-Mar-14 00:18:06

Location all the way.

SelectAUserName Wed 05-Mar-14 00:28:15

We have just moved and as we're renting, we had a certain amount of flexibility regarding house v location. We went for location in the end - the house is lovely, but a bit smaller than ideal so we've rented long-term storage in which to keep our stuff that we can't it into the house.

Have been here five weeks and love it - we have everything on our doorstep and I no longer have to use the car for work. We definitely made the right choice.

I'd go for location, although my ideal location is possibly the opposite of what many would go for. DP and I are in a lovely 5 bed house, in a quiet cul de sac, all I can see out of my front windows are trees, in fact one morning I looked out my bedroom window to see a pheasant pootling about in the grass across the street. It's all children skipping in the street and peaceful. My sister, otoh, paid the same rent per month for a small one bed in a fantastic area about a 10 min walk from Dublin city centre. I'd swap with her in a heartbeat. Would much prefer to be in a small apartment in a lively, vibrant area, but our work is here so to move in to the city to commute for an hour out of the city would be lunacy. Though DP and I don't have children and unfortunately are unlikely to, which is probably why I'd prefer the city location. If we had children where we are now would probably be perfect.

Ticklefeet Wed 05-Mar-14 07:07:30

Big house, but depends if the area is actually crap, or just considered crap.
I love in a considered crap area, but I am walking distance from
5 primary schools (and a cycle ride from 5 secondary's )
2 big parks and a smaller one at the end of the rd
A mainline station
10 mins from local shops and supermarkets
10 mins from beach and gardens
5mins from library
About 50 restaurants /hotels/pubs within a 20 min walk
Lots of leisure facilities

So if others think it is crap I don't care too much as I have a very good quality of life and a big house & garden

If however a crap area is crap because there is nothing there, then I wouldn't bother .

Lazyjaney Wed 05-Mar-14 07:27:12

Its no fun living in a shoebox, so IMO a good size in a good area is a decent compromise - the real trick is to find an up and coming location so over time it becomes a great area.

Tartanpaint Wed 05-Mar-14 07:54:31

Often having a 70's house in a nice area is the way to go. 70's houses are generally a little bigger and cheaper then nice old ones.

We have a 70's house in a really great area. It's not THE poshest but very niiiccce and safe and pretty. I'd feel out of place with with all the gentry so have no interest in getting anything different.

thegreylady Wed 05-Mar-14 08:03:24

With dc we had a decentish house on a reasonable estate with adequate schools, it was never perfect and I hankered after something lovely.
Now retired we live in a bungalow in a cul de sac in a very convenient location which is safe though not pretty.
I will never have my dream house now because we will never afford it. We have no mortgage though and can walk to shops, library, doctor, dentist etc and get on with all the neighbours. I am content.

HermioneGranger38 Fri 25-Apr-14 16:50:31

Recently we moved to a large house with lots of room in a fairly rough location. Although it was nearish DD's school, the area was quite crime-y but as we had such a big house, we could ignore the neighbours and live in a world of our own. But I do agree that location is important - we've had our wellies stolen twice (of all things!) wink

MrsBlackthorn Fri 25-Apr-14 16:58:25

Location. We could sell up here and get a house in a crappy part of London, or a mansion up north, but... well, no.

Floggingmolly Fri 25-Apr-14 17:01:10

Always location. We spent years in houses that were far smaller than we wanted, rather than buy larger elsewhere and compromise on location.

jasminemai Fri 25-Apr-14 17:06:00

Small place, beautiful location, minimal crime, feel safe even if you were out alone at 3am, pretty, loads of free stuff to do, surrounded by natural beauty. Its not actual that expensive here overall its about middling.

mrso123 Fri 25-Apr-14 17:07:50

At the moment, for me its location. I don't drive and love where I live, its the city centre, I can walk to work, there's loads of lovely restaurants and bars, and our flat is great. No children yet (ttc) but there is really only space for 1 dc as we only have two bedrooms and one is pretty small so its not going to be a long term family home sad which is a shame as there is a lovely park near by and the school is really good.

Having said that, if I won the lottery tomorrow it would be the house. I'd be buying a plot of land in the middle of nowhere and building my big dream house with a massive garden...and hiring a chauffeur smile

bakingaddict Fri 25-Apr-14 17:43:35

We bought a 2 bed flat years ago in a not so nice part of London because that's all we could afford at the time. 2 kids later we live in a 4 bed house with garden in the same area, a proper family home being more important to us over better location. While it's not a chi-chi area and a little rough around the edges it's grown on me over the decade. Apparently last year our borough had the fastest price growth after Kensington and Chelsea and Hackney and the area is slowly gentrifying.

gordyslovesheep Fri 25-Apr-14 17:53:46

medium - we did - I have a reasonable sized house, nice garden, okay schools, local amenities in an okay area ...not posh because I wouldn't fit in in a posh area but I did avoid bigger houses in rougher places

chandellina Fri 25-Apr-14 17:55:35

I'm surprised location is so important to people, in a country where there's little choice but to be indoor lot. I'd rather love my home and enjoy being there than live in a shoebox in some overpriced, usually overrated area.

I love supporting an "up and coming" area instead.

natwebb79 Fri 25-Apr-14 18:02:38

We're currently looking and having to opt for goodish house for decent schools in our price range.

Quoteunquote Fri 25-Apr-14 19:50:23

I live in a very diddy house in (to me is )a fantastic location,

The advantages far out weigh the disadvantages for us, because everything that is on our doorstep adds to the quality of life, I can fall out the door and be on the water, we have stunning beaches, and rivers, the moors, which is what we use for fun.

Just driving in the rain across the moors yesterday, I was bombarded with beauty, it makes a real difference to your mood,

I also have amazing neighbours, which has to be one of the most additions to living happily.

I have yet to find any property I would move for.

BeyondRepair Fri 25-Apr-14 20:29:47

tough one, i love my house and when im in it i could be anywhere! its an Ok size for our needs....however when i open the front door i feel harrased and stressed.
i did live in small cottage and the feeling on opening door was bliss, immediate beauty, walks right there - stunning and so on, but house was too small. too small for family of four. for us anyway....

BeyondRepair Fri 25-Apr-14 20:30:05

BUT never ever biggest in bad area, eveer

lechers Fri 25-Apr-14 21:22:46

We moved from a bigger house in an okay surburban area (but with crap schools) to a much smaller house in a naice village with great schooling. I have no regrets at all, and after 4 years, still get a warm glow when I leave the big town behind at night, heading home and all the stars appear in the sky, or the view over the river and pretty houses as I return. It was totally the right decision for us.

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