To move or not? Have to decide tonight!(16 Posts)
Hi there - I'm totally stuck so would appreciate some help if anyone's about?!
I'm a working, single mother of 3 DC (DS1: 17, DD: 7 and DS2: 4.5) and I've been looking to move house for over a year now. Currently renting a 3 bed house and have been here for 4 years, but both the landlady and agents have been thoroughly useless at sorting issues and the house is a complete dump - several major leaks and some subsidence - I'm not entirely uncertain that the house won't fall into a massive sinkhole at some point! It's not safe and unpleasant to live in and the owners refuse to fix the source of the problems - they just patch job it until the next time. One of the leaks caused a £5400 water bill for 6 months usage (which I luckily didn't have to pay as deemed not at fault) and another leak in the conservatory that they have refused to mend, has caused all my kids toys that were being stored in there, to go mouldy. It's thoroughly disgusting and highly upsetting, so we're looking around for something more suitable.
Additionally, my estate agents have appeared to go into liquidation or something. I can't get hold of them by email or phone and their office has been completely abandoned. A quick google tells me that they sold the office in January. They could be dealing with any existing clients they have from their homes but I don't know this for sure and can't get hold of them to double check. This worries me hugely because my rent is paid to them (partial housing benefit, partial top up from me) and if they don't exist anymore, then is the rent getting to my landlady safely or are they planning to pocket it all and do a runner?! I've heard no bad news in the last couple of months that they've been office-less so I assume I'm panicking unduly and that they're taking care of it from home but their lack of response is unprofessional and that along with the rancid house and useless landlady is enough for me to say that I need to get the fuck out of dodge. And fast...
We are mostly priced out of my current area now but I viewed a 4 bedroom flat above a shop yesterday which was really nice and great value for money. I think I could probably get it if I went for it. But I still came away underwhelmed. And it's because it's still in the same area I'm in. I've wanted to move away from this area for YEARS now - not far, but over to the next county. Many of my friends are in the next county, in fact there's no one left where I live now (the area we all grew up in/went to school). The day before I viewed the flat, I learnt that my former in-laws (the kids beloved grandparents) have put their house on the market and also intend to move to the next county (nearer their oldest daughter/grandkids/my DC's auntie&cousins).
The DC's dad (who currently lives with them) plans to move 23 miles away with his GF to another county entirely (not a helpful move but there you have it). So that would leave me completely adrift in a great flat but in a town I completely despise and am desperate to leave. The kids schools are in this town, but even if I move over the border into the next county I could still get them to school by car if I moved away (anywhere between 1.5-11 miles between their school and the next county depending on which part I move to, so not excessive).
Is it alright if I put a pro's and cons list down here please and ask you Mumsnetters to help me decide what to do? I have until tomorrow morning to decide!!!
Pros of taking the flat
- It's HUGE!
- The kids would get a bedroom each.
- Good value for money and DSS welcome.
- Good local amenities/public transport.
- Still near the kids schools (which are brill).
- Estate agents are underneath the flat!!!
- Could continue on with tax credits and not have to make the rather worrying switch to Universal Credit, as remaining in the same area.
Cons of taking the flat
- I HATE the area (it's one of the ones in the news with all the stabbings/thefts and I don't want my kids growing up here really)
- I'm the only one left here locally so loneliness would be a problem.
- There is no local parking - I would need to buy a residents permit from the council and park 2 or 3 streets away. This will drive me batshit in no time at all, with kids, shopping, etc...
- Similar issue with wheelie bins/rubbish.
- No decent storage (I currently have a garage and a loft, the flat has neither) and no garden for the kids.
- On a busy main road and up steep stairs.
Pros of moving to the next county
- The kids and I will have a support system with friends and ex-in laws nearby.
- Nicer, safer area with nicer secondary schools (amazing the difference 2 miles can make)!
- More likely to be able to find a family home with outside space/better storage.
- I would be happier and in better mental shape and two out of my three kids would be happier too (the one that would prefer to stay local is almost an adult anyway, so can move back for uni if he wishes).
- Fairly decent amenities and lots of lovely local clubs/communities to get involved in and lots of green space.
Cons of moving to the next county
- No guarantees of finding anything decent in my price range anytime soon (mostly priced out there too).
- Would DEFINITELY never find another 4 bedroom for such good value, so the younger two would have to share a room for another couple more years until my oldest DS has moved out to uni.
- Would have to make the rather terrifying move over to universal credit, which could take weeks to sort out and would leave us about £200 worse off every month. (This will happen in the next couple of years anyway, even if I stay in my borough but will be a managed move so not quite so risky). It's doable though.
- Public transport is patchy and that's putting it mildly!
- Still a pipe dream really.
Other things to take into consideration:
- My credit rating (currently sitting at a not great 700-ish) will shoot up in May when a default drops off my account. Would certainly be wiser not to run a credit referencing check until after it's gone, but the new agents would have to if I take the local place. I can cope 2-3 more months where I am if the place will be worth it.
- I don't earn a lot and it could take me many YEARS to ever save up for another deposit/first months rent/more fees/etc - this move has to be the RIGHT move or I'll be stuck for god knows how long.
- BUT, if my agents have gone bust, I don't want to risk staying out for another couple of months and then potentially picketing more and more of my rent money. I don't think they are but if I turn this place down then god knows how long I'll be stuck in no-mans land with this dodgy situation in the background.
- My local job is at risk come the summer. I'm not really sure what that means yet but I'm the next county I will have a bigger search pool to chose from (am already looking).
- If the same place came up in the next county I would be gone tomorrow, even for its faults. There's more risk involved with moving counties but I'm thoroughly fed up with where I am.
What a mess! Really stuck! Please help me!!! Aaaaaaaaargh!
Id move to the next county if I was you.
Sharing a room for kids isnt the worst thing, and it sounds like you will all have a better support network and life there anyway!
It sounds like you want to move there imo! Go for it!!
I think a support network is more important than a big flat. I’d move to the next county.
Move to the next county, support network, family, more jobs, can wait until you credit score is better. Sharing for a couple of years won't hurt them at all. Staying where you are is a definite no, and the parking situation and no garden with the flat would get old quickly. You've paid your rent to the agent and can evidence that. You can't be liable twice it's not like you're illegally subletting.
Move to the next county when the time is right.
Do you have any way of contacting your landlord? If so I'd be tempted to ask them about the estate agent. I'm pretty certain it would be a dispute between the landlord and the estate agent if your money wasn't being passed on though, as long as you have proof of the payment being made you should be fine.
All of the things on your list are shouting move! Good luck!
I think you should move. Living in a place that you don't like will bring you down.
Sharing a room is not too bad. Being close to friends and family is important
I think you'd be miserable in that flat as you've described it. Wouldn't it also be very noisy if its above shops? Can you hang on where you are and keep searching in the next county? Sounds as if you need to follow your heart rather than your head. Good luck 💐
It's location over property for me every time.
I bought my first flat last year, and my number one priority was to be in a location where I felt safe living alone. I could have bought a decent size house for less money, in a less desirable area, but I decided to opt for a smaller flat in an area where I wouldn't feel nervous coming or going late at night, or walking to the shops alone. It sounds like the new flat would not be in a very safe area for you or your kids, and honestly no amount of bedrooms or living space would ever make up for that.
I have 3 siblings and we lived in a 3 bed house, did us no harm at all! And as you've said, your eldest may only be with you for another couple of years anyway, I think the younger ones could put up with sharing a room for a bit longer, especially if it means being closer to their extended family.
Thanks everyone for reading and replying (despite War and Peace above - well done for making it through all that ! 🤦🏼♀️😁)
A pretty unanimous response - it looks like I'll be calling/emailing in the morning to turn the flat down!
Weirdly, despite not hearing from my estate agents in the 6 days since I emailed them, after I posted this I checked my emails and I had had a response from them from earlier this evening! Basically, they're still operating as a business but working from home now and have given up the shop to cut costs. But they're still managing the business and are still local if we have any problems.
So that's a huge relief and worry off my shoulders, knowing that they haven't done a bunk with my rent money 🙈 and that I can't breath a bit easier with regards to looking for a new place.
Still desperate to get out of this hell hole but I want to get it right this time and I've decided that deep down, the next county over is where I want to be. All my friends are there, some family too and I just think there'll be more job and extra curricular opportunities for me and the kids. They can decide whether or not they want to continue on at the same schools or move (oldest is in year 12 so will definitely stay on for his last year to complete Alevels, but with the younger two we'll play it by ear). I will help them with lifts (although oldest capable of using trains/buses himself) and it's really only a few miles over the border - we can manage that for the next year whilst DS1 finishes up at school! Might keep the younger two there for one more additional year and then reassess.
The only downside is the extra petrol costs as public transport in the next county is not the best. And of course the Universal credit thing is worrying - I definitely need some advice on that. But I think now I'm looking at May/June - my credit rating will have improved and I'll know a little more about what's happening with my job.
Thanks all for your good advice I guess it really is location location location!
Wait and move to the next county.
Better to be close to family in a nicer area with more opportunities for work.
Btw, if doesn't matter if your Estate Agent doesn't pay your current Landlord. As long as you can prove you are paying then it would be up to your Landlord to claim against the EA if they don't receive it.
I always think what's quite useful if you have this kind of big old decision to make is to ask yourself how you would feel if the decision was suddenly not yours to make. As in, if you rang the agent tomorrow about the four-bed flat and they said it has just gone to someone else, would you be gutted or would you be quite, ah well, wasn't meant to be, something else will turn up...'. If you'd feel quite philosophical, it's not the place for you. As you have already decided while I wrote this post!
Definitely aim to move to the next county along! A big flat in a shit area isn't a good idea. I'd choose a small house in a lovely, safe area any day. I think that should be what you aim for, for your kids sakes and your own sanity. It would do you a world of good to be near friends and know your kids are safe. If your kids have to share bedrooms then nevermind. You can re-evaluate at at later date (but re-evaluate from the safety of your lovely new area!). Maybe better properties will become more affordable as I guess wages will be higher to be more in line with living costs. It sounds like you already know this is what you truly want, and it seems like other posters agree that it's best! So follow your heart and go for it!
Move to the next county. Its better to be in a smaller property in a nicer area. I made a similar choice many years ago (moved away from London) and I’ve never regretted it.
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