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Relocation advice - straight talking!

(56 Posts)
checkedcloth Sat 15-Aug-20 17:04:24

I would really appreciate some straight talking advice.

DH and I are considering relocating to Devon, from Surrey. We have some friends in the country but no family. We have two DC’s aged 10 and 8. Clearly this would uproot our children from their schools and friends (both of which they love).

We have massively outgrown our house, we are town centre and I’m fed up with not being able to park near our house after an hours drive home from work. House prices where we are are crazy, we cannot afford the 4 bed detached house that we would love.

My salary would stay the same, I’m a senior nurse in the NHS and DH could work remotely from home. So our money would go so much further.

I my head I believe we would have such an improved quality of life, more outdoor activities, beaches, great local food etc. I’m conscious that this may be influenced by visits to friends which are breaks/holidays and not real life.

We’d like to live in a village / small town with good access to beaches and the county.

Are we absolutely crazy to do this? Is it totally irresponsible to move your kids like this?

I’d love some straight talking advice from anyone who has been through this and made either decision.

Thank you

OP’s posts: |
LilyPond2 Sat 15-Aug-20 17:34:54

Haven't been through this, but my advice is that some children make friends much more easily than others. You must have a feel for where yours sit on the scale of "only with great difficulty" to "very easily". That should inform your thinking.

VictoriaBun Sat 15-Aug-20 17:40:04

We lived in the SE and moved to the NW 10 years ago. However we were in the great position of being able to leave our house (mortgage paid off ) and we rented in the area for a year before selling / and buying up here. It took everyone a while to settle into a new way of living but we wouldn't go back now.
You will never know if you don't try.

Raera Sat 15-Aug-20 17:41:27

Buy a house with room for overnight visitors.
We moved from Yorkshire to Suffolk with an 18 month old and had lots of visitors!
A few years later moved back with 10 and 6 year olds, that was more difficult because of changing schools but we all managed.
Both moves were due to employment not pure choice.
Where do your families live?

RoadworksAgain Sat 15-Aug-20 17:43:44

Have you asked your children what they think? They're certainly old enough to express an opinion.

AuditAngel Sat 15-Aug-20 17:47:58

If DC1 is 10, you don’t have much time before secondary school application time (I think October?)

Thneedville Sat 15-Aug-20 17:48:28

Moving (hopefully) within the same county but far enough to change schools. My DC are same ages as yours and to my amazement they are absolutely fine/not fussed about moving. Don’t seem bothered about leaving their friends - maybe not seeing them for last 6 months (but playing with them online) has influenced this.
Only complaint from DC1 is that it’s not a good idea to move in the middle of year 6 - I agree, but not much choice if we want a secondary school place.
They are happy because their bedrooms will be bigger.
I’m actually super cunning and got them to have the idea of moving to that area before we told them.

Thneedville Sat 15-Aug-20 17:50:06

November 29 for school applications if you’ve moved between October and then (my county anyway). Risk depends on how oversubscribed the schools in the area are.

BadEyeBri Sat 15-Aug-20 17:50:32

Last year we moved from the centre of Belfast to the countryside. We went from a 3 bed semi to a 3 bed detached period property with 1.5 acres. Our mortgage increased by £400 pcm. Our quality of life has increased exponentially. My drive to work is about 45-60mins but it's a very small price to pay. Do it. Do it. Do it.

LilyPond2 Sat 15-Aug-20 17:54:05

If you would be moving when your elder child is in Year 6, that's not ideal from the point of view of secondary school allocation, as you may miss the main deadline and therefore get allocated a place at whichever school has places left, which may be a not so great school. On the other hand, easier for your elder child to start Year 7 at the same time as everyone else rather than be the new boy or girl a bit later.

ChicCroissant Sat 15-Aug-20 17:54:28

I my head I believe we would have such an improved quality of life, more outdoor activities, beaches, great local food etc. I’m conscious that this may be influenced by visits to friends which are breaks/holidays and not real life.

Do you go out a lot at the moment? Because if you don't things are unlikely to change. Do the children do activities now, that will be better down there? Does your family ever look after the children because relocating without backup childcare can be awkward.

I've relocated - I didn't find it easy, I will admit that I wasn't looking forward to it anyway. We don't see our family as often as we did and they never come to see/stay with us!

checkedcloth Sat 15-Aug-20 17:57:00

Thanks all for replying. It’s really helpful.

Both DCs are opposed to the move! They both love Devon, can see all the lovely things we could do. But in particular my DS (10) says that he does not want to leave friends. Incidentally a number of his friends won’t go to his secondary school but he glosses over this!

I’d say they would be the types to make friends reasonably easily, my DD is a little shy but on the whole sociable.

We have family in Essex and Cumbria. We see very little of them now, certainly don’t rely on them for child care.

Yes, we would buy a place with a spare room, lots of opportunity for visitors.

My main worry is that are we taking away the opportunity for the DC’s of living in a thriving (albeit expensive) Surrey town with good schools etc? Is that terrible parenting?

OP’s posts: |
Jux Sat 15-Aug-20 18:04:51

Public transport is really awful and expensive and unreliable. Your children won't be able to meet up with friends easily without someone driving them - this will go on for years.

Stay where you are. I moved from the London suburbs to Devon. I've been here since 2005 and I would love to wind the clock back and not have done it.

LilyPond2 Sat 15-Aug-20 18:05:03

I'm sure there are good schools in Devon too! But I do think it would be bad parenting to move without carefully researching which secondary school your DC would be likely to end up at, and whether it's a good school.

Itisbetter Sat 15-Aug-20 18:09:09

I’d do it. What have you got to lose? What sort of budget do you have for a house?

Palavah Sat 15-Aug-20 18:13:17

Have you spent any time in the area you'd want to move to during the winter?

You say you can't afford the house you want in Surrey. Could you afford it in Devon? How many of your neighbours would be there year-round?

LilyPond2 Sat 15-Aug-20 18:26:14

Your children are about to hit the age where they will want to be able to meet up with their friends without having to rely on lifts from Mum and Dad. So a village with little to nothing in the way of public transport is not a great choice. A town where your children would likely be within walking distance of at least some of their schoolfriends would be better.

DPotter Sat 15-Aug-20 18:27:26

Choose your new location very very carefully and think through what sort of lifestyle you’re looking
for.

I grew up in a small seaside town and we often came across people who moved to the area after spending 1 possibly 2 weeks a year on holiday in the town. It would get to October and they would wonder what the hell just happened- bus services stopped or greatly reduced, shops & amenities would close.

Rural areas are great but you will have to reconcile reduced availability and access to all sorts of things - schools, shops, public transport, internet access to name but a few. I’m being serious about the internet access - we all have a little laugh around here about the cashless society being just around the corner and about all the people who can work from home. Not with our level of connectivity.....

For your career, you may retain your current salary but in Surrey you would have more opportunities for promotion/ sideways moves than in Devon simply because you would have more health facilities within your hour drive than the same in Devon

There may be little /no choice in schools if you’re too far from the bigger towns. Ask serious questions about public transport - we’re 4 miles from large town in deepest darkest Berkshire and we have no buses within 1.5miles. The school bus would leave at 7.05am for a school start at 8.45, and was frequently late as it called everywhere. And the bus stop was over a mile away on unlit roads with no pathway. So there will be a lot of driving kids around to school, friends etc.

Oh and if you do move, don’t have an extra bedroom for visitors- yes they will come. But they will also expect to treat your house as a hotel and free holiday. There’s usually at least one thread on the go about a family who have moved to a lovely part of the world who are fed up of being treated as a free holiday destination.

Oliversmumsarmy Sat 15-Aug-20 18:34:22

I would think about this a little more.

Do you tend to go for walks/runs in the area you are in.
Are you willing to become your children’s private taxi firm.
Some areas won’t have a transport network so as they approach teenage years are you willing to sit in each night waiting for the call to go and pick dc up from some place down an unlit country road.

As you say you have only thought about the nice bits when you have been on holiday. Think about living and working there f/t when the weather is awful and you have to make the journey home.
I viewed a house last week that was everything we wanted but the road to it I could see on a icy winter evening one of us could end up dead it was so narrow and had a 60mph speed limit and was really busy and if you came off the road their was a fair drop into a ditch. First time I have dismissed a house because a road it wasn’t even on.

Also in 8 years time would your dc be going to university and after would they come back? Are their jobs in the area?

What if it was just you and dh forever more.

Don’t want to cast doom and gloom.

We moved to the countryside and it was the worse move we ever made.

Trisolaris Sat 15-Aug-20 18:41:51

Be prepared to offer lots of lifts, or make sure that you are in a big enough town that the public transport is ok.

checkedcloth Sat 15-Aug-20 18:44:24

Thanks all. This is so helpful, and very balanced. We would go for a village / small town location, such as Kingsbridge. Agree that the DCs need to be able to walk somewhere to meet pals.

We can afford the home of our dreams in Devon. Currently in Surrey we are in a semi, next door is rented by students, we have a music venture two doors down and terrible parking. If we move to another part of our town we are looking at at £750k mortgage. That seems ridiculous and too risky as we are in our mid 40’s.

We do a lot of walks now, I’d hope that continues.

Essentially I’m in a senior NHS role, the level of responsibility and accountable in non NHS would grant an easy £150k salary. I suppose I feel that I’m working incredibly hard, super long hours but trapped living like we are newly married and starting out. Our home and family life doesn’t seem to reflect the ‘grownup-ness’ of my work life. But I can do the same job (or a promotion) and then give us the home and spare cash to do amazing things as a family.

Hopefully this makes some sense

OP’s posts: |
LilyPond2 Sat 15-Aug-20 18:47:31

As the mother of DC in their late teens, I can basically see a risk of you making a house move based on what your children are like now without taking into account quite how much your children will change as they grow up over the next few years. They will soon be past the age when they are happy to go for days out at the beach with Mum and Dad. They are likely to want to spend much more time meeting up independently with their own friends. In terms of factors in favour of the move, I would say they are likely to value more personal space at home, eg a bigger bedroom.

RoadworksAgain Sat 15-Aug-20 18:50:32

Wherever you choose, go spend a week there, November to February, and see the reality, just how much waking and outdoor activities you do, which local eateries and entertainment venues are actually open, how often you visit and enjoy the beach, etc.

muddledmidget Sat 15-Aug-20 19:05:00

I live in Dorset but work across Dorset, Devon and Somerset.

I'm not sure I'd bring children of that age to Devon unless they wanted it. The small town/village you want to love in will not have good transport links unless it also has a train station with links to Exeter and Plymouth so you'll be forever driving them around (buses barely exist)

Also drugs and county lines are a big issue in the coastal areas at the moment and seem to be getting worse even during lock down (I'm a pharmacist working with addicts)

The idea of spending more time outside is appealing, but I hibernate every weekend from July to September as everywhere is so busy and the roads are so crowded

Bristol is our nearest airport that really goes anywhere, but we still end up driving to Heathrow or Gatwick for long haul which adds on hours and costs to travel

I suppose what I'm saying is think about the lifestyle you want to have before you move, and check it will work for all of you. I moved from Kent nearly 20 years ago and I don't think I'd do it again, I miss trains, airports, bluewater, London, friends, family, but on the plus side I have the beach 20 mins walk away

OnlyFoolsnMothers Sat 15-Aug-20 19:09:00

I wouldn’t do it with kids on the cusp of teenagehood- better to be in a busier area/ city with great transport links. I think the idea of the great rural lifestyle is over romanticised and more beneficial to younger children.

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