Please help me to decide about house moving

(37 Posts)
catbasilio Wed 16-Mar-16 08:22:35

My current house: non-traditional 1960s built (flat roof and plastic cladding) in 400+ estate, all privately owned, nice safe suburban area, catchment of one of best comprehensive secondary schools (my DC are Y3 and Reception). Affordable mortgage (640/month) and we can have easy life. Low maintenance and decor is in top order. We have a garage and a downstairs toilet (important!).

Drawbacks: The house has no extending potential. Our primary school is inconviently located 2 miles away, to which my DC mostly walk. I drive to the station near my kids school (10 mins drive) but my kids have to walk by aupair. We struggle with afterschool activities because one of the children has to stay in a local park, rather than home, to wait for activity to finish. I drive literally everywhere, and literally in rounds from train station to home, from home to pick up DC from afterschool activities. I wouldn't have bought the house if it wasn't for the secondary school catchment.
As you can imagine these houses are harder to shift and likely appreciate in value less.

House in question, which I am thinking to buy. 3 mins walk from the primary school, 15mins walk to the station. Not a pretty 1930s house but spacious and has potential. It would be superconvenient for us for the next few years. I could almost ditch my car. It is in a recently gentrified London area and has good community spirit, but the under the surface the area still has issues. This is one of few houses with SE postcode that I could still afford. There are more amenities and parks around than in my current area.

Drawbacks: Higher mortgage (abt 950/month). I can afford it, but everything needs doing to the house eventually and I have no budget for that. A big question of secondary schools, obviously there are schools but I anticipate big headache when the time comes. One bathroom. That's really it but the school question is really tough.

My current house is under offer and I am thinking to make an offer on the house in question. Please assure me it wont be a total mistake.

lalalonglegs Wed 16-Mar-16 08:35:00

I don't think either house sounds ideal. It's only 2.5 years until you apply for secondary schools, might it be worth hanging on and using some of the mortgage money you save on taxis for ah pair to do pick ups?

PippaFawcett Wed 16-Mar-16 08:38:01

There is no way I would move away from the catchment area of a good secondary. In fact, we are trying to do an opposite move to the catchment of our best local school.

catbasilio Wed 16-Mar-16 08:45:26

Thanks. Food for thought. My worry is that if I don't move now, I will never move firstly, because I will not want to move DC from their secondary 20 mins walk (and so I will drive to train station forever!), secondly the value gap between my house and other houses in more convenient area will definitely widen and I may not afford it.

namechangedtoday15 Wed 16-Mar-16 09:26:27

I agree that I would never move out of catchment of a good secondary school to the catchment of a questionable school - unless I had the funds to go private (which I don't!). Having said that, you need to do something because after school isn't working (staying in the park is OK now - presume with the au pair - but not something to do in winter). This is easier to sort that secondary school places though.

Can you sell yours, perhaps go into rented and wait for a good house in catchment to come onto the market?

catbasilio Wed 16-Mar-16 09:43:24

Oh no. Not the answers I was hoping for. No way going into rented, as the prices around going up so fast I am going to be priced out before I know it.

To be fair we are Catholics so we could always go down the praying route but sitting back and just waiting for a catchment school to be assigned is much more appealing.

I really don't know... Quite fancy that spacious 1930 house as a long term home, rather than a current one.

yawningbear Wed 16-Mar-16 10:01:38

Is there definitely no way to improve the house you are in? I have been contemplating the opposite move, currently in old Victorian house with big mortgage and tempted by charmless nearby 1960's estate, still in good catchment but way cheaper. So have thought a lot about how it would be to leave character of current house for small, low ceilings, not much potential. Have you seen the to programme 100k house-tricks of the trade? The last two episodes I think have covered small newer builds and the results for one at least was amazing. It's on I player. But no, In your situation I wouldn't move out of catchment for the better High School.

catbasilio Wed 16-Mar-16 10:12:06

yawning very interesting what you are contemplating. I sold my Victorian house last year thinking exactly the same as you. I quite like my current house (it is practical, heaps of storage, a garage, two toilets, very low to maintain) but on the other hand the garden is small (6m x 6m) and the roof is flat so no way to extend. Not that I need to extend - I am perfectly happy with the house space (would love a bigger garden though). But the location is the key I'd say. Neighbours are lovely but it is such suburb!! A year later and I already want to move back ton what is almost the old area. I would like to avoid a Victorian house though. 1930s would be perfect.

I am banging my head now.

lalalonglegs Wed 16-Mar-16 11:21:50

If you're in London, there must be schools that are nearer than your children's current one so explore those (where do your neighbours' children go? Are they happy there?). Second, I would recommend getting a bike for the journey tot he station, it is a much better form of traveling in London than car (I cycle here every day) especially on short suburban journeys. You can probably work out a route that will avoid busy roads and may include some park or common land.

catbasilio Wed 16-Mar-16 17:06:49

lala thanks. The problem is my children's commute, not mine. Their school does not allow bikes or scooters to be left so they traipse for 4 miles round trip almost every day, and more if they have to return for athletics etc.

There are schools ... Harris academies, failing comprehensives, 'outstanding' with horrible behaviour, supposedly happy schools but poor results (one if the worst borough for schools around London).

Moving15 Wed 16-Mar-16 17:14:43

Are you willing to divulge the SE postcode of the 1930s house?

TheLesserSpottedBee Wed 16-Mar-16 18:08:07

The thing you have to look at is staying would mean the primary school walk is still the next 6 years of your youngest child's life.

I had to commit to this type of arrangement when we moved for a secondary school, Ds1 was in year 3 and Ds2 was in nursery about to start reception. The move meant I have to drive the primary.

Schools can change massively in just a few years. When we moved we came into the catchment of an outstanding secondary with incredible pastoral care. The secondary we moved away from was sinking fast. That sinking secondary is now doing really well and recently got a new head (old one retired) luckily the amazing secondary is still amazing.

We moved for space, cheaper house than the previous area due to an okay primary rather than the outstanding over subscribed primary we used to live near. I have no regrets.

Secondary schools are a different kettle of fish because children tend to travel to secondary school whereas primary schools are hopefully on your doorstep. I know some parents are put off secondary schools if their child has to catch a bus or walk more than a particular amount of time. Just food for thought.

Personally, I would move. Cross the secondary school bridge when you come to it.

TheLesserSpottedBee Wed 16-Mar-16 18:08:56

* to the primary, I don't drive the primary. I don't have that much power grin

yawningbear Wed 16-Mar-16 20:49:10

Wow, is that is really unhelpful, not being able to leave scooters. On reflection I think that there is a part of me, if I were in your situation, which I could quite easily be, that thinks as a pp, go for the better house option and cross the secondary school bridge when you get to it.

But that for me, would mean that I would need to be prepared to uproot everyone again in a few years time, assuming schools remain the same, in order to move back into the decent catchment area.

Not that helpful, sorry Catbasilio, it does sound like you really want to move from where you are though. I am not sure that wherever I end up will be right, grass is always greener, moved so many times that I have itchy feet if I am somewhere for more than a couple of years!

yawningbear Wed 16-Mar-16 20:51:53

That is really unhelpful not is that Clearly it is!!

Coldtoeswarmheart Wed 16-Mar-16 20:54:28

I wouldn't move without a renovation budget, or a plan for secondary school.

catbasilio Wed 16-Mar-16 22:34:51

Renovation budget could be possibly overlooked for several years to come (everything in the house I want is old but hopefully working, but I probably sound a bit naive). If I move to this house I dont think I could afford to move again!! Like ever!!
But if I stay for secondary where I am, it will be sensible to stay until the youngest finished it - which is another 13 years or so. I will be in my early 50s then!!
So the move pros are: close to primary and good commute for me.
Cons are no good secondary and stretched budget.
Here. Summarized it.

lalalonglegs Wed 16-Mar-16 22:56:02

Children can travel independently to secondary schools - my oldest child is in Y7 and several of her contemporaries who were barely allowed to the corner shop this time last year are now getting trains/buses/tubes or a combination of all of the above seven or eight miles each day. Once your oldest child has his/her bum on a seat, providing the school admissions gives priority to siblings, then your younger child will get in automatically. So, realistically, you are talking about being in your current home for about 3.5 years until you can move elsewhere.

If you really can't bear it where you are and you don't mind stretching your budget then move but, on paper at least, there seems to be quite a lot of advantages to staying put.

Babymamamama Wed 16-Mar-16 22:59:22

Especially in London I wouldn't move away from a good secondary catchment. You could regret it when the time comes to make that transition.

Qwebec Wed 16-Mar-16 22:59:59

I canémt comment on the school thing, btu I woudl not move to an older home with at the top of my budget with no wiggle room. There is a high likelihood the there will be things that will be needed to be done and that they will be expensive. If it is in a rougher neighbourhood there is even more chances that it has been neglected.
If you decide to buy it, don't forget to look at the heating costs.

catbasilio Thu 17-Mar-16 08:47:26

That's how the back of my house looks like (the front is just a door). I really would love a house with more kerb appeal, though it is just vanity is it?
Fresh thoughts in the morning. You are right by saying I should factor in the upkeep. I used to live in a Victorian house and while it was beautiful, everything costs hundreds or thousands to repair.

I feel comfortable with my money now because the house upkeep is miniscule but perhaps this gives me a wrong impression that I can afford bigger and better.
Another way round, I think if I don't move now I will never afford "bigger, better" but maybe I will cross that bridge when I come there?

Still not sure but definitely more towards staying put today...

PippaFawcett Thu 17-Mar-16 11:20:25

Stay! Outstanding secondary is all you need to focus on. We haven't got an outstanding secondary for 20+ miles.

AppleAndBlackberry Thu 17-Mar-16 11:28:15

We're considering the opposite move at the moment (smaller house, better secondary school). It's going to cost us something like 100,000 to do this which seems mad but I'm really not keen on our current catchment secondary (special measures etc). We're probably going to lose a bedroom and possibly a reception room too. I'm really hoping it will be worth it in the long run!

PippaFawcett Thu 17-Mar-16 11:32:26

Apple, we are in the same boat. Moving to a smaller house for at least £100k more. It will leave us with hardly any disposable income which will be depressing.

GiddyOnZackHunt Thu 17-Mar-16 11:38:58

Do you know anyone who lives v close to the primary school? Could you ask them if they have somewhere you could leave bikes or scooters? That might make the current situation more tenable.

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