Moving to London

(190 Posts)
Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 13:47:18

I have copied this thread from the Lone parenting section, thought it would make sense to post in multiple areas:

Hi, I had no idea where else to post this topic so thought here would do.

I am a lone parent, have ds who has just turned one. I currently live in the north of England and work here. My salary is ok and I receive tax credits due to being SP.

I don't really enjoy my job and it feels like a daily grind and I can't see me wanting to stick it out any longer than I have to. There are no prospects for me at all.

I have seen a job advertised but it is in London. I need to find out what the salary would be (waiting on a call back plus loads of other Questions I'd like to ask them about the position).

My question is has anyone moved to a completely new area miles and miles away from friends and family as a lone parent and succeeded? Is the cost of living in London expensive and would it be worth my while since I am on my own with a baby. I am anxious about the cost of living and childcare more than anything else, plus being miles away from my family and friends.

Anyone have any advice?

DarlingGrace Fri 21-Feb-14 13:51:57

London is a vast city, it's a sprawling metropolis of 8 million people. Without wanting to sound unhelpful you might be be living from Mayfair to Tower Hamlets and anywhere in between.

You need to find out your salary, the area , then plot a commuting line and work out if you can afford it from that. Child minders will be in the region of £4-£5ph. Nurseries the thick end of a grand a month

Rental prices vary wildly. A three bed semi my way is a min of £1,500pcm to rent, a 2 bed flat on a rather grim high street is £1200pcm and a 25 min journey into Charing X will be the thick end of £1600pa.

NigellasDealer Fri 21-Feb-14 13:54:12

London is hard to get into these days, the rents are through the roof.
You would need a good few thousand to get established.
Do you know London at all in terms of nice areas to live?
If you do decide to go ahead, please do contact me and I can give you some suggestions, would hate to see you stuck somewhere horrible with your child.
the actual costs of living are about the same as anywhere else in terms of bills and food and transport, IMO, it is just the rents are a problem.
You might be entitled to some HB but again you have to choose your area carefully as some London boroughs have really capped this low.
Research, research. research.
you have to decide where you would like to live and phone that borough to find out their HB rates.
Also think about schools for the future although that is not your immediate concern. Childcare is expensive these days I have heard.
please do feel free to PM me about areas.

FlyingDucky Fri 21-Feb-14 13:57:11

Good opportunities for work in London. Better wages, lots of free stuff to do with kids. It could be a really positive move for you op.

Research different areas. Where would you be working if you got the job?

Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 13:57:36

Thanks. I was vague, the area is Crystal Palace, the starting salary is not brilliant (it would be fine oop north grin).

I have been to London (Canary Wharf) only ever a few times and it was years ago. Is Crystal Palace a nice area (without meaning to offend or come across as a snob)?

I'm looking into childcare in that area now, it is roughly the same pw as up here. The closing date for this job is a couple of weeks time so I think my best bet would be travel down there to have a look at the area and what I might be getting myself into before sending off that CV

NigellasDealer Fri 21-Feb-14 13:59:28

Actually Crystal Palace is one area I would consider again, a bit villagey in its feel and plenty of bus routes, not bad at all, and some nice parks too for your child.
I would say go for it!

squeaver Fri 21-Feb-14 14:03:01

Being able to live and work in the same area - and Crystal Palace is a nice, family-friendly area - would make a huge difference in London as it's the cost and time of commuting that is a killer for a lot of people.

SidandAndyssextoy Fri 21-Feb-14 14:03:23

Crystal Palace is nice, and although housing prices have gone a bit insane round here recently there are nice-but-dull bits at the edge of it that are still fairly affordable.

It's a very family friendly place too, and great for kids, with lots of green space (the park is wonderful). Public transport in London is actually cheaper than many other places, there are shops for all budgets, so it's housing and childcare that bite.

FlyingDucky Fri 21-Feb-14 14:04:39

Crystal palace is nice. Good shops, big park.
You'd have no travel do that's a saving.
Look on rightmove at local rents and surrounding areas.

QueenStromba Fri 21-Feb-14 14:06:08

As others have said, being able to live and work in the same area in London is a big bonus - the average commute is 40 minutes each way I believe.

FiveLeavesLeft Fri 21-Feb-14 14:06:16

Crystal palace is lovely and very friendly. Lots of young families and plenty of beautiful outside space. Dead easy into town too with lots of transport options.

Just check out proximity to schools as there is a lot of pressure and maximum distance for admissions are very small. Have a look at www.Virtualnorwood.com for a bit of local flavour.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Fri 21-Feb-14 14:07:15

Have you looked at the price of renting. Lots of people can't afford London on double incomes atcthe moment.

NigellasDealer Fri 21-Feb-14 14:10:57

yes but she is a LP and so could apply for HB support as well as tax credits etc.

Mintyy Fri 21-Feb-14 14:11:42

Yes, Crystal Palace is a nice suburb of London, about 7 miles south east of the centre. Will you need a two or three bed flat? I imagine rent would be in the region of £900 - £1400 per month (but don't quote me). The area postcode is SE19 if you want to have a browse on Right Move.

SidandAndyssextoy Fri 21-Feb-14 14:11:57

Yes, what would your rental budget be?

Sarahschuster Fri 21-Feb-14 14:14:11

Crystal palace is nice, but not the cheapest. The further SE you go, the cheaper as a rule.

NigellasDealer Fri 21-Feb-14 14:14:57

beyond there is not really London though is it?

FiveLeavesLeft Fri 21-Feb-14 14:16:34

Sorry meant to add that there is a really good chat forum on Virtual Norwood. It might be worth your whole posting there too.

I have some friends in CP who really struggled to find childcare, so many families have moved there in recent years. So would suggest not just looking at cost but availability.

If the job itself is in CP you could save some money by moving further out.

Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 14:21:07

Hi and thanks for all your lovely helpful replies. I have looked at renting two bed apartments and the prices range greatly depending on the website you use!! It's so vast! I am definitely going to travel down there next weekend to have a look at the place, see what it 'feels' like.

There are quite a few OFSTED registered childminders in the area too so hopefully if I get the job (not even applied yet but that's optimism for you!) it shouldn't be too hard to find one with a vacancy.

So if I am reading this correctly....you can do both Live and Work in Crystal Palace? You wouldn't need to do any hefty commutes? Sorry, I'm sounding so dumb confused. A lot of people go on about commuting into London and I think that has put me off living/working down there in the past, plus the expense.

I will ring tax credits too to find out if I'd still qualify for them. I've never received HB and have always managed fine

SoonToBeSix Fri 21-Feb-14 14:21:25

You should consider a one bedroom
Flat to save costs as your ds could sleep with you for another year at least. Then you could get a nice day bed or sofa bed for the front room and give ds the bedroom.

specialsubject Fri 21-Feb-14 14:22:00

as a matter of interest I had a look on rightmove. 2 bed flats in the area are about £1000 pcm.

SoonToBeSix Fri 21-Feb-14 14:25:47

London rents are crazy, my four bed house with driveway and garden is only £400 a month.

FiveLeavesLeft Fri 21-Feb-14 14:27:03

Second what dreamingbohemian said, get child are sorted as soon as you are able, as there is a real shortage.

CP is the suburbs really, so yes you can live and work there. But it's become extremely desirable for families in recent years so prices have shot up. I would also recommend getting a one bed and sleeping in the lounge, you will save a lot of money.

I'd actually ring some childminders and see if you can find a vacancy. There may be lots but really, from what I hear from friends, it was a nightmare finding someone. Nurseries and schools packed too.

Have a look at the train lines that go through CP and look in the neighbourhoods along them. Even a short commute might find you somewhere cheaper and with better childcare options. London is indeed vast but if you focus on the commuting paths, it helps.

FiveLeavesLeft Fri 21-Feb-14 14:47:32

CP is also well served by buses so worth checking out areas along some of the routes that pass through.

Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 14:47:36

How far is Croydon and what is that like? Expensive? Nice?

DarlingGrace Fri 21-Feb-14 14:53:18

Parts of CP are ok, others not so. From Penge you are 15 mins into Victoria. But CP would be considered outer London and not command a City or West End salary>

My cousin lives in Penge. It all comes under Bromley - which is generally good for schooling.

What you dont want to be doing is moving over towards Croydon, which again has some lovely areas but also some pretty shitty bits.

RiverTam Fri 21-Feb-14 14:58:20

you need to get yourself onto the Transport for London (TfL) website, all the bus, tube and train maps are on there. I would also get a big, fold out A-Z map of London so you can plot things on it. Look at schools too.

Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 14:59:20

Thanks Grace

So Bromley/Penge is the better area? Aaaaahhh I feel like my head is going to explode hehe!! Google maps is good but it's hard to get a feel for a place from it

RussianBlu Fri 21-Feb-14 15:04:39

I think it kind of depends where about in London your job is and how much you would be earning. Its all very well telling the Op she could get Housing benefit but how many landlords actually accept people with this??

Childminders can tend to charge wildly varying prices from £5 an hour if you are lucky to £9 an hour.

SidandAndyssextoy Fri 21-Feb-14 15:05:38

Penge is also part of the great price explosion but still cheaper. South Norwood is cheaper too. Croydon does have some really grotty bits. It must seem really overwhelming, I know! It's not easy even when you already live close.

whois Fri 21-Feb-14 15:06:04

CP isn't exactly 'moving to london' however it's a nice family area, prices aren't as high as nearer in and there are decent enough transport links.

Yes you could live and work there!

DorotheaHomeAlone Fri 21-Feb-14 15:09:29

I think this might be a really good idea for you if you're feeling stuck where you are. The starting wage may be low but there is much more potential to move up wage and opportunity-wise in London if you can make ends meet for now. CP is lovely and surrounded by cheaper but still quite respectable areas, like Penge and West Norwood, where rents are relatively low for London.

My main concern for you would be the potential isolation from living away from your support network. Will you be ok without people to help with childcare/emergencies etc?

nancy75 Fri 21-Feb-14 15:12:47

Op can you say what the salary would be? It is hard to give you an idea of property if we have no idea of budget.

Bromley is close to crystal palace and has some very good schools but Bromley is a massive borough with some bits much better than others.

FlyingDucky Fri 21-Feb-14 15:14:03

Croydon has some rough bits but also nice parts that are affordable compared to CP. Kenley, sanderstead, Purley, Coulsdon, riddlesdown and Shirley all pleasant and family friendly.

Good transport links to CP.

RiverTam Fri 21-Feb-14 15:15:30

of course Crystal Palace is moving to London, what a bizarre thing to say.

Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 15:18:11

Thanks again for all your replies

Russian I will call tax credits to see what help is available.

Thanks for your recommendations of areas sid, I'm so out of my depth but I have now narrowed down my search on rightmove etc.

Dorothea - Yes I think it will be quite 'isolating' in some ways and my nearest family (I am a Northerner born and bred) will be in High Wycombe and I only see them maybe once every couple of years. My saving grace is that I am comfortable making new friends, I get on with most people and my home town is a mere 3-and-a-half-ish-hours-away!!!

RussianBlu Fri 21-Feb-14 15:20:36

Hi op, Im not sure that tax credits will be able to let you know what properties in Crystal Palace (or anywhere) are willing to accept Housing Benefit Im afraid.

Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 15:23:02

And let's not forget...I've not applied for the job yet grin.

I hate uncertainties. But I might just bite the bullet and go for it anyway

Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 15:23:45

Russian - I'd just want to find out if I still qualify for them really. I should do being a LP

Mandy21 Fri 21-Feb-14 15:32:37

I also think its a good idea if you're in a bit of a rut now. With a 1yr old, you can be fairly flexible, its once children get to school age that you are more limited with moves. I'd go for it, obviously subject to the other parts of the jigsaw falling into place. Good luck smile

MrsWedgeAntilles Fri 21-Feb-14 15:35:35

It might be a bit cheaper to live somewhere like Norwood or Streatham and travel over to Crystal Palace.

An other thing to think about (an one of the reasons we left) is that there is a shortage of school places in London. Just before we came away there were newspaper articles about kids who couldn't get a place and had to wait for the next intake to start school.

WallyBantersJunkBox Fri 21-Feb-14 15:41:06

I lived in the area around Crystal Palace for 20 years. It does have lovely green areas and a community feel.

It's harder to get the balance in London as a lone parent without a plan B and a back up plan.

But that is more of an issue if you can't afford to live, work and school in the same place IYSWIM. It is a huge stress to work in Oxford Street, live in Epsom and manage childcare on your own for example. I remember just feeling physically sick some days stuck on the underground in a tunnel with no reception, unable to tell the nursery there was a delay.

But if you plan to work and live in close proximity then I don't foresee a huge problem if the salary is manageable and you can get the right childcare support.

SidandAndyssextoy Fri 21-Feb-14 15:43:56

Actually there's stuff in Sydenham for under £1000 a month. Sydenham is very nice with good schools, and an easy journey to Crystal Palace.

coffeeslave Fri 21-Feb-14 15:44:48

Use Mapumental to help you find property:

http://property.mapumental.com/

Put in the postcode of your work, how long you want to commute & voila!

Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 15:47:00

The starting salary is £18k but it is graded. It's a trainee position so your salary increases as you become more competent. I don't know how far that would get me living there. In the north I would be fine on that - similar income to what I am on now but here I have no prospects in my current role and it is hard to find a similar job with prospects that start on this salary.

"When you're at the bottom, climb to the top!"

SidandAndyssextoy Fri 21-Feb-14 15:48:40

Ouch. £18k will be tight. I know people who do manage on similar salaries but you will definitely see a difference.

Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 15:48:47

Thanks coffeeslave

Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 15:49:22

Ooooh that comment put me off sid

SidandAndyssextoy Fri 21-Feb-14 15:54:11

Sorry... I love this bit of London and would encourage people to come here but I wouldn't want you to feel surprised by the lifestyle. Plenty of people living here earn that or less and manage, of course they do, but it will definitely be more of a struggle than in some other areas.

Artandco Fri 21-Feb-14 15:54:28

We couldn't live on £18k. However we live more central and both work so no help with rent. Our rent is almost £20k a year! ( one bed)

I wouldn't do it for 18K if you don't have any support in the area, unless you can indeed get a good amount in TC/HB.

Once you're settled in London you can live more cheaply than you think, but getting set up can be really expensive. It can take you a while to set up childcare and what will you do in the meantime?

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 21-Feb-14 16:01:56

Honestly, I can't imagine living in London on 18k. We left SE London a couple of years ago because it was too expensive. Our household income was more than 3x that. We wanted to buy, which makes a difference, but still...

I know nothing about tcs, but you'd have to be getting a LOT of money to make it doable IMO.

Crystal palace is nice though.

DarlingGrace Fri 21-Feb-14 16:02:38

18k - ok, what would you get in top-up benefits for that?
Child benefit, tax credits, housing benefit, childcare vouchers - I'm sorry I'm no more help than that. 18K isn't going to be the only money coming in.

Yes! the poster who mentioned Sydenham, that's nice.

Everyone has a bit of postcode snobbery about them; you'd be surprised how warm and welcoming some of the less salubrious areas are.

I live quite near Thamesmead which has a god-awful legacy reputation. Today, the old blocks are being torn down and proper houses built and it's a thoroughly different environment

A lot of people will say you need like 40K a year to live in London -- we managed on half that, so it is doable, but that was without child care and already knowing the city well and having some support. We're now thinking about moving back but only if we can line up at least 30K.

You can live on less obviously but then what quality of life do you want? The excitement of living in London fades rapidly when you're in a crappy damp flat in a super dodgy part of town and living on toast.

Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 16:09:59

Yes, I believe childcare will be a nightmare. I am fantastic at budgeting for things but I reckon I will be short at the end of the month based on all your comments sad

The best thing for me to do would be hope for the best, prepare for the worst. I can apply for this job, hopefully they will interview me. I will have to work my notice period at work if I do get this job which will hopefully give me some time to make arrangements. And If I genuinely can't afford it or it just wouldn't be feasible I'd have to say thanks but no thanks and look for other opportunities.

My job here is secure, I just wish I could advance but really my problem lies with the management of this place, they just don't seem to care and I feel like I've wasted three years here already. The only good thing about it is they have an onsite nursery which my son loves, the nursery staff are brilliant and the environment he is in is a safe, happy secure one so I would feel bad about pulling him out of it. But that's not a reason for me to stay. The only other reason I stay is because whilst it's not the most convenient place to commute too (40 mins away by car) the wage is decent-ish and I'm guaranteed that steady income each month and KNOW I can survive on the money I get plus I have managed to save some whilst being here.

I feel 'ready' for a new challenge, a better working environment and something more stimulating than what I am currently doing. I don't feel I have achieved any of my potential whilst being here and the job in CP sounds like something I would really be interested in doing - I looked into it whilst on mat leave and asked about it when I returned to work. They had no vacancies at the time but now it has come up, I feel 'fated' to apply for it. But I'm face with the headache of making all the practical arrangements and whilst it doesn't really phase me it is a minefield confused and then my support network will be gone too. But it still seems like something I would love to do.

Essay over smile

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 21-Feb-14 16:10:04

Also, make sure you check out childcare. Friends of mine who had full time nursery places were paying £1200+ a month.

SidandAndyssextoy Fri 21-Feb-14 16:12:48

£1200 a month? It would be £2000 a month for full time at our nursery! Although you won't pay that much in most places.

OP, are you NHS? There might be subsidised childcare.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 21-Feb-14 16:14:13

This was a couple of years ago. That's a hell of a lot of inflation, but I can believe it. Scary prices.

SidandAndyssextoy Fri 21-Feb-14 16:15:21

It would have been the same two years ago. Nurseries are a licence to print money round our way. Most people would pay around £1500 for full time private nursery I reckon.

Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 16:24:32

Currently I receive working tax credit that has the childcare element to it since ds is in nursery. The wtc pays for his nursery fees, I siphon it away into a separate account to make sure I don't spend it on anything else. I get CB (80 pm) and ctc - (170pm). No HB but I survive cos my rent is cheap

Blu Fri 21-Feb-14 16:29:37

Crystal Palace, as in the streets around Westow Hill, is very buzzy and trendy, and on the edge of the magnificent park. There are loads of much cheaper residential areas within good easy travel, such as Penge, Sydenham, Norwood (S Norwood), Annerley.

It sounds as if you are up for a challenge that pays dividends. I have no idea what benefits you would be entitled to towards childcare and housing, but it is possible to rent a flat for 111pw. You could start modest and move into a bigger place as your money rises.

SidandAndyssextoy Fri 21-Feb-14 16:31:59

Blu, that's a single room in a share!

bigTillyMint Fri 21-Feb-14 16:36:14

I agree with sid, £18K would be very tight. Would it be likely to increase a lot very quickly?
Also, AFAIK, childcare is more expensive here.

But London is fabuloussmile I have lived here all my working life, miles from any family support! It wasn't a problem when the DC were small - our friends are others in the same position so we all supported each other.

bigTillyMint Fri 21-Feb-14 16:37:51

Ooops, just realised I missed a whole page!

Mintyy Fri 21-Feb-14 16:39:15

I think it is unrealistic, sorry. We had a similar thread recently where someone was pondering whether it was worth moving to London as a lp on a salary of £40,000 and that would have been a stretch too.

Blu Fri 21-Feb-14 16:40:59

Oops, sorry. blush

spikeyiscool Fri 21-Feb-14 16:51:40

I leave a few miles from Crystal Palace and think that it would be very hard to survive as a LP on �18000 a year, but not sure what benefits you could claim, this might make a difference.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Fri 21-Feb-14 17:46:02

Presumably hb would pay a lot of the housing and ctc a lot of the childcare?

TheXxed Fri 21-Feb-14 18:01:18

Mintyy I am a lone parent last year I made less than OP I also live very nearby to CP further into London. So it is doable. If you live is social housing try and swap

Artandco Fri 21-Feb-14 18:06:31

We pay £900 a month for x3 morning childcare only for 2. So £450 per child for 9 hrs a week

Poppylovescheese Fri 21-Feb-14 18:10:50

As a lp who lives in the Midlands I turned down a job in London paying 28K as I worked out it wasn't do-able. Sorry to be negative but I think 18K is too low to live on in London.

VulvaBeaker Fri 21-Feb-14 18:16:38

I wouldn't move into London with kids unless extremely well off, having grown up there, and then moved around, and then gone back, I would say quality of life there as a kid is extremely shit compared to almost anywhere else.

MrsKoala Fri 21-Feb-14 18:24:24

Hi OP. I lived near Crystal Palace in South Norwood and sold my flat there last year. The flat was on Selhurst Road a stones throw from Selhurst Station. I must say i thought that area was a right crap hole. Fried chicken/kebab shops, Bookies and Offies, 2 rough pubs and 1 alright one were the local shops. We had quite a few issues with an upstairs drug dealing neighbour and many neighbours just parking on our drive and telling us aggressively to fuck off and being quite threatening when we asked them not to.

Norwood Junction was slightly better, in that it had a decent Thai and Indian and a supermarket, but still lots of fried chicken places and a couple of really rough pubs. I used to get the bus from there to work and it could be quite 'earthy', a couple of times i was threatened and abused - you would get a lot of twats who thought they were 'hard' type of thing.

The rental we were told we'd get on our one bedroom flat was £850. When i was looking into childcare, everywhere had a waiting list of quite a few months and was about £55 a day.

Crystal Palace is much nicer, as is Penge - but more expensive. I would avoid going towards Croydon personally. I used to work in schools in Croydon and they weren't great.

Avoid Thornton Heath like the plague.

mouldyironingboard Fri 21-Feb-14 18:39:40

Don't move to London unless you will earn a lot more in the future. You would struggle to make ends meet even if you get help with tax credits or other benefits. Rent and childcare is probably much more than you are currently paying (likely to be double)

LurkingCinners Fri 21-Feb-14 19:22:21

I would also advise only to move to London if your salary is almost guaranteed to go up significantly in the near future.

London is great for kids but you need spare money to make it happen. Everything costs more than up North, music lessons, swimming lessons, childcare, etc.

We lived on 30k with 2 small dc 10 years ago, and it was really tough. I look back in horror. We knew it would only be a short while (only a year in the end) but that sort of money stretched nowhere. And we paid only 850 in rent per month, quite cheap.

Think carefully. Maybe a trainee job where you are now and then move to London to get a higher paid job? Or a move to a big city which isn't London?

nannyj Fri 21-Feb-14 19:48:09

There are also other costs involved when working full time. I've just moved from London as work life balance was awful and I earned over £30,000 and had a free flat with my job. Everything is more expensive including food etc. I think you would really struggle on £18,000 but go for the job and see what happens. Good luck.

apermanentheadache Fri 21-Feb-14 19:48:10

Unless you can get social housing through a swap, I am sorry to say I completely agree with Mintyy. 18k, even with tax credits top-up, will be no where near enough to live on. While I appreciate your frustration and your dream to get on, I think you would be likely to be absolutely miserable and on the breadline, with no friends/family safety net.

Childcare will be around �55 per day absolute minimum. Unless you rely on a bike or walking everywhere, you will need some form of public transport even if only occasionally.

Rent will be ���. Cheap places are cheap for a reason usually: insalubrious area, unsuitable for walking alone in the dark in, far away from shops/transport links etc.

I am sure that this sounds very negative but it's vital to be realistic.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Fri 21-Feb-14 20:04:16

Do you currently have supportive family nearby? Because if you do I wouldn't give that up for the world!

We have a great life but having family nearby is the one thing I would change. We have the whole work / life / kids thing balanced really really well - until someone gets ill and then it all falls apart.

As a lone parent you really need support from someone.

apermanentheadache Fri 21-Feb-14 20:08:17

Mumof speaks sense. It is when you or your DC gets ill it all goes wrong. This mightn't be relevant if your currently nearby relatives don't ever help you now, though.

It is so stressful when illness strikes and you have to be at work.

Italwayshappenstome Fri 21-Feb-14 22:52:48

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I hadn't considered one of us getting ill tbh cos usually when I'm ill I just plough thru it cos I've no choice.

My parents are very supportive when I need them so yes they are my safety net. I was a little worried when I spoke to the lady from the company today and she said 18k, that will be before tax.

If only this job was in the north I'd go for it in a heart beat, I've a feeling I'm gonna over think it now and not apply due to the realisation I was probably being overly-optimistic.

Ahh well, I'll just keep looking. Thank you so much for your replies, I appreciate it

movingmovingmoving Fri 21-Feb-14 23:14:12

I wouldn't move away from family and friends if I had a choice, with children, and I have a DH! You honestly don't know how much you'll miss their support.

You should look for a challenge closer to home; if you moved to London it sounds like you 'd be living in a boring suburban area (I know it) with no support, and you'd end up doing 'London' things once in a blue moon. Sorry. Get a better job locally and enjoy living near your family and friends.

LittleBearPad Sat 22-Feb-14 08:12:22

Apply and see what happens. If you get it you don't have to take it.

Visit the area and see what you think. London is expensive but it also has lots of amazing free things to do which are great for children.

XiCi Sat 22-Feb-14 08:53:37

Where do you live OP? Have you thought about moving to a bigger city in the North? Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh? Somewhere where it is closer to family support but you can still command higher salaries and find that challenge you are looking for
Im in the North West and earn 3 times that salary. The thought of being in London on 18k would fill me with dread. If its London youre set on could you retrain and then look for jobs that start on a higher salary? Good luck with whatever you decide

MegBusset Sat 22-Feb-14 09:09:02

I have to agree with everyone else, that's not a living London wage even for someone without children. I earned £18k in London nearly 20 years ago and was skint all the time, lived in shitty flatshares etc. It was fine because I was young and had no dependants. It would be miserable for children.

On another note, I think on a societal level it's not right for the taxpayer to subsidise these pitiful salaries with tax credits etc. Of course people doing these jobs need help but ideally everybody should boycott jobs offering below the London living wage.

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 22-Feb-14 09:16:27

I lived in London 10 years ago as a single person on £18k and it was plenty! But unlikely to be enough now with a DC to support - once they are school age it's easier, as after school clubs etc easy to find and cheap-ish. Housing is the big drain - cheap houses are cheap for a reason...

Southeastdweller Sat 22-Feb-14 09:23:24

Oh my, I agree with the others - please don't move here on that salary. You could of course live in a crappy area nearby C.P of which there's a few but even then you'd be struggling.

RussianBlu Sat 22-Feb-14 09:24:03

Yes MegBusset, good idea. Lets all boycott jobs earning in the region of £18k a year in London and stay at home watching Cash in the Attic. What a fantastic idea. Hmm. Lots of people have no choice but to take jobs on much less than that a year in London whether they like it or not.

MegBusset Sat 22-Feb-14 14:22:57

I said ideally. Of course it would never happen in the real world.

As long as there are people prepared to work for low wages, wages will stay low sad

NigellasDealer Sat 22-Feb-14 14:27:01

yes but megbussett a working parent you would be entitled to a range of support from wftc, ctc, cb, hb etc which you as a single person were not.
so how you lived as a single person is irrelevant to OP.
OP do not underestimate how hard it is without support as a single parent and how isolating a new area could be.

getdownshep Sat 22-Feb-14 15:40:03

My dds have both moved to London, they share a room in Kilburn.
That's costs them over £400 per month, they both earn quite a bit more than £18 grand and they struggle some months.
No childcare to pay for as well.

RussianBlu Sat 22-Feb-14 17:29:49

I don't think its a case of being prepared to work for low wages, its a case of having to. I don't think its negotiable so there isn't a huge amount that a person looking for a job can do really.

getdownshep, I don't understand why your daughters have a combined income of over £36,000 a year and are struggling if they are each paying £200 a month in rent unless they have large debts that they are paying off or are living extravagant life styles.

If the op were to find a flat and have a chunk of her rent paid for by Housing Benefit and also some of her childcare covered by tax credits then she would be perfectly able to survive in London unless she had huge debts or something. I think perhaps travel costs could be a nuisance unless she was able to walk to work. You can do lots of cheap/free things in London or you can spend an absolute fortune.

MrsKoala Sat 22-Feb-14 18:10:22

It is perfectly doable to live in London on £18k if you have no dependants. a double room in a shared house all inclusive of bills is £500 a month in Norwood Junction (a short bus ride to crystal palace). £18k would give you £1266 a month. So you would be left with over £700 for food, fares and going out/living etc.

It's once you add dc to the mix that everything shoots up - as you can't live in a house share and you need childcare.

Not saying anything disparaging about the OP or those in similar situations - life happens and i earn barely more. But this is why the types of training jobs on this salary are the first rung of the ladder and people often wait longer till they are higher up to have dc. It is why changing career or retraining once you have dc is an almost impossible task, especially if you are a SP.

I have placed graduates in work in Southwark on £13k. The idea is these 'juniors' are living at home and wont stay in this position long - a year tops - then climb up the ladder. No one older with dc could afford to do it - unless heavily supported.

Mintyy Sat 22-Feb-14 18:32:01

I'm shocked at that salary tbh. I was earning £18,000 in 1992 and I have never been in a highly paid profession.

Southeastdweller Sat 22-Feb-14 19:16:41

Mrs It's been mentioned up thread that cheap places are cheap for damn good reasons and I can't think why anyone would want to willingly live in an unsafe dump like Norwood Junction.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Sat 22-Feb-14 21:17:25

Lots and lots of jobs on that kind of salary. Not sure why anyone would be surprised.

Lots of jobs even less.

Urbanvoltaire Sat 22-Feb-14 21:38:31

OP if you're looking at areas around CP eg Penge, Sydenham, check out Beckenham as well, it's quite family friendly with good schools, served by bus, train and tram.

I wish you luck whatever you decide.

MrsKoala Sun 23-Feb-14 09:34:13

Southeast - i know. My post was one of them smile but my point is when you are young with no dc. It is quite normal to live in a dump for a few years (i lived there for 4). Not great. But doable to train and get up the career ladder. Most trainee type jobs rely on that people will do this. There are plenty of people willing to live in Norwood Junction - i couldn't afford a house there still! sad

BsshBossh Sun 23-Feb-14 09:45:35

You can live in London on a 18k salary but you'll be pretty much limited to a houseshare or as a lodger and no childcare costs. Personally I wouldn't move down here OP. It's going to be very tough as a low-earning LP with no free back-up childcare in place.

Iwillorderthefood Sun 23-Feb-14 10:07:44

I agree with a lot of what people are saying on this thread. Please don't look at Streatham either, as the places you could afford would be in awful areas. Yes to Sydenham. London is a hard city to go it alone in. It will be hard to make friends with little money, and hard to do anything at all other than put a roof over your head (and this may be questionable). Local veg shops etc are reasonable. Please note, I found it hard on£13.5k in 1997 as a new graduate renting the smallest room in a house share. I was able to afford to go out too, not extravagantly, but could have a drink after work. I would think it would feel very isolated as a lone parent.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sun 23-Feb-14 10:12:58

What do you mean don't live in Streatham?

I live here in a bloody lovely road which is quiet and I have lovely neighbours!

We've just had a new leisure centre and Tesco built and Streatham and Tooting have some nice coffee shops and some lovely pubs. House prices are rocketing.

Try living here before you knock it thanks.

Preciousbane Sun 23-Feb-14 10:18:55

I did the opposite left the SE and now live in the South of the North as I like to call it. I am interested as to what the job is your looking at and what the career progression is. Personally I don't think you should go for it but am interested in what this job is. I was earning that way back in 1988 and I don't have a degree though I did have professional qualifications I took at night school.

The standard of living we have living here is far better as your money really does go further. My lovely niece who earns 26k a year as a lone parent really struggles down South.

wonderingwoman64 Sun 23-Feb-14 10:19:35

Some of Streatham is lovely. Great large Victorian built family houses. Well performing schools. Excellent public transport links. Lots of individually owned coffee shops and restaurants.

Laquitar Sun 23-Feb-14 10:24:42

OP i would think very hard about leaving friends, family and support.
But no problem about living in London and living in a not the best area. Not everybody lives in a leafy street.

GingerMaman Sun 23-Feb-14 10:37:52

London is very very expensive, I wouldn't personally make the move unless the salary was at least double or triple of what you are getting in the north.

To give you an idea, rent in affordable areas of London, for a 2 bed flat are between £1300 to £1500 PCM. Add to that paying for parking etc. in the north you could get a 2-3 bed house for £500 PCM.

Southeastdweller Sun 23-Feb-14 10:37:57

Mrs Yes, see what you mean and I did move here to a quite rough area where I knew not a soul back in the day and on quite a low salary but I didn't have kids. I think the OP would be crazy to leave all that support.

Some of Streatham is fine and actually quite desirable to live these days. As precious says, property prices are rocketing.

Anniegoestotown Sun 23-Feb-14 11:23:37

Moved down from the north west in the early 80's as a singleton. Got myself a grotty studio beforehand in a grotty area then got on a coach with all my wordily goods packed into 1 suitcase and a back pack and enough money to pay the rent for 4 months.

Best decision I ever made.

Moved out with dp because of his job 5 years later. Worse decision ever made. Moved back again 8 years later. With careful planning it is doable and once you are down here applying for better paid jobs will be much easier.

Having lived outside of London I knew having children would be a lot easier in London than out. Lots more for children to do that is free.

Chunderella Sun 23-Feb-14 11:39:51

You need to do a full benefits check OP and be very sure what your take home pay will be. It will be hard to be totally accurate but you can do the following:

- Work out your take home wage. 18k is £1254 a month without student loan or pension contributions. If you have to make either of these, it will be less.

- You will get child benefit at the usual rate.

- No working tax credits except the childcare element afaik. Child tax credits would be about £200 a month on that income.

- You will get some help with childcare. On that income, you'll probably be better off getting childcare tax credits rather than childcare vouchers. The tax credit entitlement tables suggest you'd get about £9000 annually, proivided you're spending at least £175 weekly on childcare which for a full time place in London you will be! That works out at roughly £750 per month. You'll have to find the rest yourself.

- I don't think you'd get council tax benefit, or if you did it would only be a couple of quid.

- Housing benefit entitlement depends on the area you're living in. You need to find out what the LHA rates are for the area you want to live in, to get an idea how much assistance you would be entitled to. You'd certainly get something, but it would be nowhere near your whole rent.

Once you have a bit more info about potential housing and childcare costs, you can do a full welfare benefits check using the entitled2 calculator.

Elfina Sun 23-Feb-14 11:55:32

We live in CP and there is an amazing community here - loads if support from other mums - have a look at the crystal palace mums group on Facebook. To be honest, 18K might be hard - our nursery is £57 a day, and by no means the most expensive hmm feel free to ask any specific questions!

pinkdelight Sun 23-Feb-14 11:59:45

No one's saying don't move to Streatham because it's not got great bits. They're saying the OP can't afford to live Iain those bits and they're right. Read the post before knocking the person who isn't knocking Streatham, just being realistic!

pinkdelight Sun 23-Feb-14 12:00:23

in, not Iain. Dunno who he is.

Elfina Sun 23-Feb-14 12:02:17

Actually, thinking about it I'm not sure it even is possible on 18K? Say child care is a grand a month, and rent will be about a grand, you're already over without food and bills? Between us DH and I earn 70K and whilst of course we're not poor, we DO have to think about money. I don't say this to be unhelpful, but I think you need to be realistic.

AGoodPirate Sun 23-Feb-14 12:11:20

I think living as a LP in Crystal Palace on £18k would be really really hard. Crystal Palace is nice. We thought about moving there on two £25k ish salaries but decided it was to expensive and went further out!

ALittleStranger Sun 23-Feb-14 12:14:38

Honestly, there is no way I would do that.

18K is fine if you're a new graduate and happy living in a crummy flatshare. Even with benefits I just don't see how a LP could do that in London. Even if the salary will double over the next few years (unlikely I'd wager) money would still be tight.

Also, benefit income is now hugely unreliable thanks to our blessed government. I think you'd have to be very naive to factor it into any long-term plans. Particularly given that London has suffered most from LHA cuts.

ProphetOfDoom Sun 23-Feb-14 12:34:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Anniegoestotown Sun 23-Feb-14 14:30:38

With London you have to take on board that the grotty roads are next to the really lovely places. On the one hand you can have £1million pound houses yet 200 yards down the road you can have a rough tower block.

I suppose if you don't do it, you will always think what if?

Friend lives in Peckham, the nice bit, but talks of an area down the road which is like the Alamo.

Bearbehind Sun 23-Feb-14 15:14:33

OP, I'm struggling a bit to understand how you are even contemplating moving to one of the most expensive cities in the world on a salary similar to your current one when you'd also lose any free emergency childcare and family support.

Unless you are currently saving a large proportion of your salary it just isn't feasible as your salary won't go anywhere near as far in London.

Have you looked in other big cities outside of London?

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sun 23-Feb-14 15:47:36

OP don't even think about it especially not on 18k. We found living in London hard on 3x that salary.

Streatham, the nice bits are lovely-right by the common, houses are 700k plus. shock

I am amused by the comment about CP not really moving to London. I lived 5 mins from there and we were 15 mins on the train to Charring Cross-so I wonder where it is if not London?grin

I think child care alone would be your biggest issue tbh.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sun 23-Feb-14 15:49:24

Some roads are lovely in Peckham, but sometimes it's like Grand Theft Auto theregrin

Anniegoestotown Sun 23-Feb-14 20:12:17

We live off net twice that and there are 4 of us ( 2 teenagers and a cat) and eldest goes to private school. It is just a matter of balancingthe books, being queen of Ebay, queen of vouchers and knowing where to shop.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Sun 23-Feb-14 20:34:50

It's really not a matter of just balancing books if rent+food+childcare > income.

Only if you have disposable income is it just a matter of balancing books.

whois Sun 23-Feb-14 21:12:15

Wow OP, £18k is really not a lot in London. New grads at work get more than that and they have to live in shared houses in cheap areas and they haven't got child are to pay for!

I wouldn't leave the north and family support for a job on £18k in london. No way.

Well done annie get you and your budgeting! Luckily you'll find that rents for a two or three bed are not two or three time the price of a one bed, heat and light aren't much more expensive, and net 2x£18k is a lot more then a salary of. £18k!

whois Sun 23-Feb-14 21:13:04

New grads at my work that is.

Blu Sun 23-Feb-14 21:20:07

So how do single working parents on £18k living in London manage then?
Give up work altogether and go on benefits?

I'm not saying I know how to manage this, but presumably the welfare system is there to enable people like the OP to take a paid job that will start her on the ladder of good jobs?

ALittleStranger Sun 23-Feb-14 21:30:15

Annie if you bought your home when your DCs where a teenager then your housing costs are probably far lower than anything the OP could hope to find.

SidandAndyssextoy Sun 23-Feb-14 21:39:49

I think it's probably easier to become a parent in London on that than move in. Eg there are subsidised state nurseries that are much cheaper than private but you need to be on the waiting list when you're pregnant. Rents have really shot up so if you're either already there, or in social housing, your costs will be lower. Also if you're used to the area, you'll have a far better chance of knowing where and how to cut costs.

springlamb Sun 23-Feb-14 21:57:30

I appreciate your feeling that you need to move on but I have misgivings that this would be the right move for you.
There are lovely areas all around Crystal Palace, unfortunately most of them are leafy streets full of owner occupiers. Many of the flats available will be on grotty estates or above shops.
It's also true that there are nice supportive communities. However you have to be available to these communities - your opportunities will be limited because you are working fulltime, your DC is not at a portable age to be taken out and about in the evening and you won't have babysitters.
You will have lovely weekends spent in the Park and you can get a bus directly to the centre of London, this is true.
Schools vary enormously and usually the best ones are in the best areas and hugely oversubscribed. There are also problems with not enough school places and many schools are operating bulge classes.
It could be a rather lonely life.
I left the area last year having lived all my life within a few miles of CP. I grew up on a council estate locally and was lucky enough to end up in a very nice house on one of the better roads, with DC in one of the better schools. Also lucky enough to work very part-time or not at all.
For my sister and friends, working lone parents, it could be a very lonely life.
At dd's Yr6 leaving party last summer, there were lone mums there who didn't know anyone as they had been struggling to juggle home and work for so many years.
Is there no way you could use the next few years to study more in your chosen field locally so that you could make a move in time for your DC to start school somewhere where there would be a good quality of life for you both.

springlamb Sun 23-Feb-14 22:04:43

Also note that 3 London boroughs converge right at Crystal Palace, Bromley, Croydon and Lambeth. If I had to rate them in the order I wished to live I would say Bromley, Croydon then Lambeth. Areas of Croydon mentioned previously such as Kenley and Purley would leave you with a difficult commute.

GoldenBeagle Sun 23-Feb-14 22:11:42

What difference does that actual borough make?

apermanentheadache Sun 23-Feb-14 22:11:52

Annie what are your housing costs?

cafecito Sun 23-Feb-14 22:15:34

OP, I don't think it sounds like it would be the right idea for you at this time - London is eminently depressing at times so I'm not sure you'd be happier. I would worry about your childcare and backup.

I am a single parent and I do live in London with no backup as family all buggered off years ago and ex a prize tosser, and friends are not of the child caring mentality. I worked full time in the city when my DS was a baby but even earning a very respectable salary, I found after tax, London nursery fees, my transport, bills and our rent for a 2 bedroom flat - I had next to nothing to live on, for all my very long hours and hard work. It was exhausting.

However I am still in London and have in fact taken a cut to change career and it is worse but no means impossible, I eventually found a much cheaper nursery option for example. It is one of those things you can do if you really have to, or really really want to.

London itself is vast it will take you a long time to work out where you like - all prices are pretty high in terms of rent but typically expensive areas aren't always as bad as you may think they are, and previously grim areas are often nouveau-lovely. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the UK really, except Cambridge where I lived once a long time ago, perhaps.

So - my advice is, move to a city that is not London. I think easier for renting, living, childcare and for schools and your future. Then reassess at the appropriate stage, but if hell bent on it the it can be done but isn't going to be the easiest ride.

Mintyy Sun 23-Feb-14 22:16:33

I think op realised it wasn't going to work for her a day or two ago.

cafecito Sun 23-Feb-14 22:27:09

she might be thinking about it

wasn't there a movie about always saying yes? with jim carrey in it?

QueenStromba Sun 23-Feb-14 22:32:57

I've just had a quick run through the Entitled to calculator and the OP is likely to get nearly 20k in benefits bringing her up to about £35k net which seems perfectly doable really.

GoldenBeagle Sun 23-Feb-14 22:57:20

QueenStromba - Excellent! Maybe you should PM the OP and tell her, because many of the posts on here were not really relevant to her situation, talking about running a car etc, and not informed about the level of support available.

I think if the OP is resourceful, sociable and determined London is a great place to get experience and prospects!

Also, her childcare costs will go down within 2 years.

Anniegoestotown Sun 23-Feb-14 23:00:40

Mortgage £600 per month rates £206 and water rates £38 house ins and car ins £50 we don't have debts and I only spend £35-£40 per week on food.

Went out last week for meal that with vouchers meant we only spent 75p

Oh and we don't smoke, drink, or eat meat.

Everything is done on a shoe string. House is falling down but the mortgage is paid. Our car has seen better days but it is ours. It is do able. Dd's school costs £900 per month. Everything is checked to see what vouchers are available.

And when we want clothes it is EBay or Primark.

Plateofcrumbs Mon 24-Feb-14 07:06:00

queenstroma I was just going to suggest using EntitledTo to check eligibility for benefits.

It would still be tough no doubt but benefits should be enough to make it possible.

If it really is an opportunity that would pay dividends long term it might be worth the move, if it is simply a more interesting job but without especially brilliant prospects I would be wary.

I would suggest Penge, Sydenham or Anerley as worth looking at to live, but be wary all of these areas are somewhat 'up and coming' (Sydenham especially) so rents are likely to be moving upwards. It was worth looking carefully at maximum local housing allowance levels in these places - you're likely to be eligible for some support with housing costs but be careful you don't end up somewhere where LHA rates aren't keeping up with rents .

Cakecrumbsinmybra Mon 24-Feb-14 07:14:21

I wouldn't move to London under your circumstances OP. London with a small child, no spare cash or other half would make life pretty difficult, particularly as your DC gets older and needs to be out/occupied more and more.

FWIW, I think Crystal Palace is a good area.

Artandco Mon 24-Feb-14 07:24:22

Annie - not many can still get a £600 only mortgage in London

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Mon 24-Feb-14 07:33:33

I was paying nigh on £600 per month in RENT 17 years ago.

pinkdelight Mon 24-Feb-14 07:59:07

You can double that £600 for rent on a two-bed flat these days, easily.

ILoveWooly Mon 24-Feb-14 08:50:23

Sadly many of these jobs are aimed at Londoners who still live at home with parents or in cheap shared accomodation so no expensive outgoings/child care etc.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Mon 24-Feb-14 08:54:50

Annie you're incredibly lucky. You're in a position very few people moving into London would be in.
600 gets what? A 130 grand mortgage? Do you know any houses selling for that in London...

Italwayshappenstome Mon 24-Feb-14 11:56:45

Thanks again for the responses folks.

I checked out entitledto (not sure I filled it in correctly due to so many 'unknown' factors), it did come up with financial subsidiaries of approx 20k per annum!!!

XiCi - I live not too far from Manchester altho the commute would be horrendous and the type of job/work I am interested in is not available there. I will have a look at jobs closer to home, I think I was over-reaching in my expectations judging by what most of you have said (unless that 20k is to be believed).

MegBusset - I have to agree with your point about low wages. I think the welfare system only exists because companies get away with paying p!ss-poor un-liveable unrealistic wages and the tax payer ends up footing the bill. At the risk of getting on my soap-box, corporations pay wages that are peanuts, the taxpayer ends up getting taxed to the eyeballs to account for this and the money gets divvied out to folk like me (altho I too am a taxpayer). Tax credits needn't exist if companies gave fairer wages for everybody so I do in fact agree with your view.

Climbs down from soap-box

Hmmm after some consideration, I am going to look closer to home and if I can fit it in somewhere maybe look at doing something in order to re-train or advance my qualifications. Luckily I have my family up here to help me out should I need to go to night classes or do an online degree or something.

Thank you all for your responses, I have had time to chew the facts over and think I will be giving this opportunity a miss.

Plateofcrumbs Mon 24-Feb-14 13:11:50

That figure doesn't surprise me and sounds like genuinely what you might be eligible for. However being dependent on benefits for a big portion of your income is an added stress.

It's not impossible but it wouldn't be easy and it sounds like you've reached your own conclusion on what's best for you and your DC. Good luck!

Anniegoestotown Mon 24-Feb-14 18:07:52

£600 for £130000 mortgage!!! Can honestly say that is on a mortgage nearly treble that. Also op would not need a 2 bed flat she could make do with a 1bed or even a studio.

We live in a 2 bed house with 4 of us in there. Sometimes you have to rough it in order to move forward in life.

AphraBehn Mon 24-Feb-14 18:41:44

OP, you sound like an ambitious, motivated and resourceful person. I admire your can do attitude.

The London thing is a bit of a red herring, I don't think the city is the draw, rather the new opportunities it can offer.

Now you've realised you want more and can achieve more you can look for those opportunites without going through such a major, costly upheaval.

Good luck to you.

SidandAndyssextoy Mon 24-Feb-14 18:57:13

I want Annie's mortgage broker...

Good luck, OP. Maybe we'll see you in London in a few years?!

Plateofcrumbs Mon 24-Feb-14 19:58:37

Annie I assume you must be paying interest only on a very good rate. Otherwise you'd be looking at triple that on a mortgage of £350k+

apermanentheadache Mon 24-Feb-14 20:23:45

You pay �600 on a �390 k mortgage? How is that even possible? Unless you took it out decades ago and have paid down nearly all the capital...
Our mortgage is the most competitive on the market and we pay �1200 pcm on �260,000 principal.

WhereIsMyHat Mon 24-Feb-14 20:31:23

Interest only is my guess....

whois Mon 24-Feb-14 21:12:41

Annie I have an £80k mortgage at < 50% LTV, remortgaged last year on a long term fix at approx 4%. I pay just under £600 a month on that.

You are either 1) talking bullshit about your mortgage payment 2) bought ages ago and have very little capital to repay over an extended term or 3) on an interest only mortgage which is neigh on impossible to get now.

pandarific Mon 24-Feb-14 23:42:46

Thought of you when I read this, OP. The soaring rent is a bit scary. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/23/london-houseboat-slum-rents-barge?CMP=fb_gu&commentpage=1

Have you considered Brighton and Hove at all? Anything in your sector there? Still pretty expensive but not as bad as London, plus if you could get work in Brighton/Hove itself you'd have minimal commuting as it's possible to live close enough to walk/cycle etc. Lovely for kids too, lifestyle wise, though not certain what the schools are like.

I was jobhunting recently in the area so I still have all the likely jobsite links - PM me if you like? Good luck, you're at least sure you need to move on from where you are now, and that's a good thing.

Anniegoestotown Tue 25-Feb-14 01:28:44

We are on .85% interest only. Which we will be selling this year and buying somewhere for cash.

Anniegoestotown Tue 25-Feb-14 01:34:31

And I was the one who found the mortgage not a mortgage broker.

Interest only is fine if you know you are at some point in the future before the mortgage comes to an end going to move.

Moved on to this mortgage about 6 years ago.

I too came from the area op is in and would never go back. Struggled for several years in the area then moved down here and have never looked back

Plateofcrumbs Tue 25-Feb-14 02:21:58

When house prices are rising interest-only beats renting - it means the bottom rung of the ladder isn't getting further out of reach, and if you are in a position to sell and move somewhere cheaper, you get to realise the appreciation in value.

If house prices are stable it is basically renting with more responsibility but greater security. And if house prices are falling you're screwed.

As you say it can work in the short term, but only the short term.

To be buying in cash now you presumably have had an inheritance/windfall or else you are moving to a very substantially cheaper area.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 25-Feb-14 05:06:16

So Annie you really are in a completely different position to op then!!

Bring able to buy a house outright or raise a mortgage on 300 odd is completely different to living on 18 grand and paying london rents!
At a wild guess she'd be able to get a mortgage of up to 60-80 max which isn't going to buy a house even if it was interest only. Not in London.

Not really a fair comparison of circumstances.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 25-Feb-14 05:06:58

(And of course having twice the income).

apermanentheadache Tue 25-Feb-14 09:43:57

PMSL at a mortgage of 60-80 grand in London. You could maybe get a lock-up garage for that grin

Anniegoestotown Tue 25-Feb-14 10:02:10

My mortgage is £600 whether it is on a mortgage or rent I have outgoings of £600. If the op is going to be getting similar income with her benefits I cannot see how it is different.

I most certainly haven't had a windfall. The money I will make on the sale of my home will more than adequately buy a larger place in a more convenient location in London.

If the op rented a studio (her ds is only 1) then with a monthly income of her £18k job and £20k in benefits coming in she should be able to manage Then once down here and when she has found her feet she could also apply for better paying jobs, get a bigger flat etc.

Can I ask what people spend their money on that if you take into account I have a £900 private school and £600 mortgage per month you cannot manage on £3000 per month. And that is for a family of 4

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 25-Feb-14 10:34:31

Exactly my point!

pinkdelight Tue 25-Feb-14 10:51:03

My brother just rented out his tiny studio in a rough bit if south London for £900pcm. I get that you're on a good deal, Annie, but it's nuts to suggest OP could have comparable outgoings. And nuts that she'd live in a studio flat with her DC. I know some do it but not if they have options.

Anniegoestotown Tue 25-Feb-14 10:55:55

Op would be on similar income and with a studio flat similar outgoings. Probably less

Your point was?

Op is not buying a place.

Anniegoestotown Tue 25-Feb-14 10:59:13

Op would be around Crystal Palace and a quick look suggests that she should be renting a studio for around £600.

Why would it be nuts to live in a studio with a 1 year old?

We live in a 2 bed place with teenagers.

Artandco Tue 25-Feb-14 11:23:39

Annie- you are living in a one man fairy land. We live in a one bed flat, x2 adults,x2 children. Admittedly more central, but it's £1600 a month. We asked recently about a mortgage and for £400k mortgage, monthly repayments would e approx £2400, that's a 2 bed.

No way would we get a £600 rent/ mortgage. I paid £680 6 years ago for a room in a flat share. Dh the same.

florascotia Tue 25-Feb-14 11:35:04

OP This may be off the point a bit but I must say that I really admire your get-up-and-go and your wish to improve your career. I was going to suggest some sort of further education, but see that you have thought of that yourself. Is there anything you could train for /study that is linked to your present employment, however loosely, so as to make it more interesting /rewarding?

Education is great for its own sake, but study ideally needs to be targeted if it is to progress your career, especially in these difficult times when so many young graduates with perfectly good but non-specific degrees find it hard to get a job. Might it be an idea to talk to the HR dept at your employers/seek specialist careers advice, eg from professional bodies linked to the sort of career you are aiming at, and/or from a relevant trade union?
The Open University has this website: www2.open.ac.uk/students/careers/ou-study-and-your-career which might perhaps be useful.

Please forgive me if I am interfering/just stating the blindingly obvious. Good luck.

Plateofcrumbs Tue 25-Feb-14 12:07:42

Annie you have been exceptionally fortunate with your housing costs. If you bought 6 years ago, this was just before the crash which severely curtailed mortgage lending and raised mortgage costs - getting such a low interest-only deal would be impossible these days despite the fact that base rates are so low.

You have also benefited from a period of unprecedentedly low interest rates, keeping your repayments extremely low. During a more typical period your repayments, even on an interest-only basis, would have been substantially higher.

And you have also benefited from a period in which housing market conditions in London have bucked national trends - blame wider international markets for that - in which prices rocket whilst in the rest of the country they have generally dropped through the down-turn. Leaving you with substantial equity in your home despite the fact you haven't been repaying any of the capita.

With 20-20 hindsight that may seem like good judgement on your part but no-one predicted what has happened over the last six years. It could easily have gone another way - in an alternate universe you could be paying £1500 a month in interest payments and trapped in negative equity.

Italwayshappenstome Tue 25-Feb-14 12:10:23

Thanks flora, I am contemplating the OU. The work I do now is related loosely to my degree which was in Engineering. Funnily I have ended up in the education sector but my role is very limited to the point that I just see it as a means to an end for now. I can guarantee on my monthly pay cheque and that's all it really holds for me.

The job I was thinking of applying for in London is moving towards a health care profession but still undertaking an engineering role, however it would mean starting as a trainee hence the naff wage.

I will consider the OU, I just need to establish what it is I am hoping to works towards.

Thanks for all the help people

Anniegoestotown Tue 25-Feb-14 12:35:59

Do not know where you are looking Art but £400000 for 2 beds?

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 25-Feb-14 13:05:57

The fact that you question 400k for a 2 bed shows how out of touch you are Annie,I think you live in la la landwink

Anniegoestotown Tue 25-Feb-14 13:18:49

I am not questioning £400000 for a 2 bed per se but you do not need to spend £400k to get a 2 bedder.

Recent thread was about how someone would not be able to buy as a 2 bed new build in Wembley was £350k and how they couldn't afford it even under the HTB scheme. (2 bed in Wembley £145)
Despite myself and several other posters repeating that HTB was not just available on new builds one of the last posters tried to point the op in the direction of moving to Northampton as there were a few new builds around that qualified under the HTB scheme.

And as for being exceptionally lucky I would just like to point out that if you call scrimping and saving for years exceptionally lucky then I have been.

Coveredinweetabix Tue 25-Feb-14 13:23:42

OP I'm someone else who really admires you for wanting to do this. I can't really comment on the financial side of things as don't really know about the cost of rent & childcare in London but do think carefully about the friends & family side of things. Who do you meet up with at evenings & weekends at the moment? Where do you meet up? Do your parents regularly babysit (whether of an evening or for a few hours during the day at the weekend)? Do you regularly go there for a meal or to stay? My worry for you is that you could be pretty lonely. You say you get on with anyone & make friends easily, but when & where are you going to meet people to make friends with? If you're working full time, in the mornings you'll be racing around to get ready, to drop your DS off at nursery & then get to work. All the other nursery parents will be doing the same and, whilst some people will begin to look familiar, you won't make friends, especially as everyone will drop off at slightly different times unlike at school when it opens at a set time and so people are waiting outside together. DD has been at nursery since she was 15mths but it wasn't until she turned 3 and some of the children had birthday parties that I ever said more than "hi" to any of the other parents. At work, if you are joining a graduate programme who mainly take fresh graduates, then I doubt that there will be many others in the same situation as you so a lot of the social life could be based around going out after work, something you won't be able to do as you've got to go & collect your DS from work. Also, they may well all be younger than you &, even if it's just by a couple of years, you will be so much more mature than them as you have a child & have already had an actual job. And then once you've collected DS and got home and put him to bed, what are you going to do then? Presumably you'll have little choice but to stay at home whilst he sleeps unless you can afford a babysitter. So that leaves you with the weekends to get out & about and make friends but a weekend can be a long time to fill when you are by yourself, have a little one to entertain & don't have friends and when your main way of meeting them is going to be the chance of finding a like minded person in the park. There may be some toddler activities or classes at the weekend but there aren't where I live (admittedly a fairly sleepy market town). I would love to be able to somehow wave my magic wand and move you to a nice flat, near a park, near the bus stop & in the catchment area of a good school and find you some friends with similar aged children but I don't have a wand and nor does anyone else!
Just one thing on nursery fees - our (outside London) nursery is open from 7.30 - 6.30. It is the only one in a ten mile radius which is open for this long. The fees for 8am - 6pm are £62 per day. It's then an additional £7.50 if you want to drop off at 7.30 and a further £7.50 if you want to pick up at 6.30 so bear in mind the premium you may have to pay if you want extended care, which you may need as you're the only one able to do drop off & pick up.

Artandco Tue 25-Feb-14 13:27:52

Annie if you can find me a 2 bed flat/ house that's within 30 commute of both Liverpool street and Fulham for work for £600 a month that would be great. Oh and can't be out of zone 2 really as then we would have high commuting costs the further out which defeats the point. Cant be more than 30 min commute otherwise we would spend more on nursery fees

Plateofcrumbs Tue 25-Feb-14 13:35:49

Annie I'm not suggesting you've not made sacrifices to get where you are, but the fact you have sustained such low housing costs and made enough equity to buy another house outright in cash IS exceptionally lucky, and not something anyone starting out at the bottom of the housing ladder today could hope to replicate.

On the matter of what the OP could afford (were she still considering moving to London - part of that £20k benefits will be housing benefit which (at a maximum) would only be available to cover the rent and no more. Depending on the age of her son she might be entitled to enough benefit to cover a 1 or 2 bed flat. Trading down to a cheaper studio wouldn't 'save' her any money as she would simply receive less housing benefit. In that respect the actual housing costs are somewhat irrelevant, it entirely depends what's available on the market to LHA recipients within the relevant caps.

Elfina Tue 25-Feb-14 16:24:53

We've just today had our 2 bed flat in CP that we bought two years ago for £220K valued at £370K. Our next door neighbours sold there's for this on Saturday. Been on the market for a day. Things are going crazy round here.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 25-Feb-14 16:30:29

Complete hijack alert-is the restaurant in CP called Mediterreanea (sp?) nice? A friend was telling me it was amazing....

Anniegoestotown Tue 25-Feb-14 16:57:59

Art you were saying you were trying to get a mortgage for £400000 for a 2 bed. Have you tried Stockwell, zone 2 20 mins Liverpool Street and 25mins Fulham b.way and under £299k and 3 beds.

As for the £600 per month I was referring to a studio in Crystal Palace for the op.

FiveLeavesLeft Tue 25-Feb-14 16:58:29

Mediterranea is lovely but A Torre a couple of doors up is even nicer!

Mintyy Tue 25-Feb-14 17:00:46

Its a good thing that op has long-since decided not to apply for the London job because this thread has gone off on a totally bizarre tangent!

pinkdelight Tue 25-Feb-14 17:14:12

Annie, my point was that studios are more than £600pcm. On right move there is one grotty minuscule studio for £625 and the rest are all £800 and above. I thought my point was pretty clear and several others have said the same. Your situation is not relevant to OP. no more relevant than me saying my neighbour has a 3-bed semi in CP and pays peanuts for it cos they bought it 20 years ago. Lucky them. It's a different world now and getting worse, and the fact that it's some badge of honour to live in tiny overcrowded accommodation just to make it in the capital is sickening. God knows what our kids have to look forward to!

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 25-Feb-14 17:28:13

Wow Elfina. I wish I had the money to play the property game! That's more than I will earn in years and years of work....

Annie - If your income is around 40 grand how on earth did you get a mortgage for nearly 10 x income? We were in london on 30ish, offered 4 times income so at most that was 120 grand we could borrow.

Plateofcrumbs Tue 25-Feb-14 18:39:53

It's all very well "making money" on your home but unless (like Annie seems to be doing) you move to a cheaper area or you downsize you never actually cash that in. We recently sold a flat and moved to a house - we 'made' £130k on the flat but in the same time frame the houses we wanted to buy (which had gone up at the same rate) had increased by more than £130k. So we'd have been better off if house prices hadn't increased at all. Getting excited about the increasing value of your home is generally about as useful as counting monopoly money.

Binkybix Tue 25-Feb-14 18:45:05

Anything in a Stockwell that's 3 beds and £299,000 wouldn't be great I'd have thought. Most 2 beds that I've seen around there are over £400,000 now.

Binkybix Tue 25-Feb-14 18:45:41

And YY to plateofcrumbs!

SidandAndyssextoy Tue 25-Feb-14 19:48:45

I know the OP has made the decision to rethink but I am hmm at the idea that she might want to move away from her current life into a studio in a grotty bit of London just for the sake of being in the city.

Prices in SE London are going insane. In my bit the price of a three bed Victorian terrace with around 1100 sq ft and a tiny garden has gone from around £500,000 to £850,000 plus in under two years.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 25-Feb-14 20:29:29

Five-thanks!smile

Elfina Wed 26-Feb-14 06:58:18

Who's getting excited? I'm worried we won't be able to get a house down here, so it might be point that sways us into moving to birmingham (where I'm from): £500K buys a bit more up there!

Artandco Wed 26-Feb-14 07:20:28

Thanks, but £299000 is very rare. I would be worried about area/ flat!
I need to be able to walk home at midnight after work without feeling threatened. Won't move to ' unfriendly' areas

Preciousbane Wed 26-Feb-14 08:33:40

Plate of crumbs that is exactly how I feel about property markets. Unless you a developer, estate agent, downsize, relocate or inherit a property it is not helpful to have rampant prices.

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