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What to think about when buying a house?

(6 Posts)
goodbanana Fri 12-Jun-20 09:54:59

My main concern is that I have an 18 month old and which school he will go to. It'll just be me and my son living in the house. Is it mad to consider looking at schools this/next year (post lockdown) whilst he is so young and deciding based on that? I have no idea how the school thing works etc.

My dilemma is that I live in an expensive area and would like to move to a cheaper area just to get on the housing ladder, but don't want to end up stuck there. As a lone parent I would really like his school to be where I live now so family can help me out. They're happy to.

Is there anything else I need to think about?

OP’s posts: |
Neverender Fri 12-Jun-20 10:13:33

You can look up all the local schools and their current ratings but be aware these can change - a new head may mean that a currently under-performing school may improve, or the other way round. I'd be looking for an area where there are several currently very good schools so if one drops in performance, you have greater choice.

maxelly Fri 12-Jun-20 10:31:23

I don't think it's mad at all, sounds very sensible to me. There are so many costs associated with buying/selling property (E.A. fees, solicitors, surveys, mortgage fees, stamp duty etc etc), you really want to avoid having to move again in the near future once you have moved, and schools are a big factor in many people's decisions. It is definitely worth doing your research into schools, catchment areas, childcare options before you buy.

I guess I would just be cautious about setting too much store by Ofsted reports, things can change a lot and a school which is outstanding today could be in requires improvement in 3-4 years time by the time your DS is starting school, or vice versa. Ofsted ratings aren't the be all and end all either, some really great schools never get better than 'good' just because they struggle to tick some particular Ofsted box.

How far away are the different areas you are looking at - would the cheap area put you completely beyond the reach of regular family support in general, or is the expensive area just more convenient? Bear in mind that your and your family circumstances can change a lot in 3-5 years, you may change job, you may get a new partner, family may move away, so no house is ever totally future proof. Also, have you thought through whether now is the best time to get on the property ladder, I know Brits in general are obsessed with property ownership and think of it as THE investment you absolutely have to make as soon as you are able, but its worth considering what the market is likely to do in the new few years, possible mortgage interest rate changes vs rental rates, and add that to the fact you might want to keep some flexibility with your young son, it wouldn't necessarily be a disaster financially to not purchase for a few years yet, providing you invest your money prudently in the meantime. But of course if you are really keen to have a place of your own for personal reasons then that is different...

Justanothernameonthepage Fri 12-Jun-20 10:44:16

I'd recommend looking at the schools online newsletters (pick a couple of dates from the last 3 years). It gives a sense of the school that you don't get from the website. Some schools that are improving or focused on things other than exams can be spotted more easily.

SunbathingDragon Fri 12-Jun-20 10:49:27

I think lots of people decide where they live based on the school catchment areas.

There can be a big change quickly with schools but usually they tend to be fairly consistent and predictable for the next few years.

Join some local Facebook groups and ask around on there for advice and recommendations. Also look on your council website to see which schools have been oversubscribed because you don’t need to send your child to your local school; as long as there is a space, they can go many miles away from your house.

It might also be worth you considering waiting a couple of years before you buy, so that you can live in the catchment area of a school you specifically want.

caringcarer Fri 12-Jun-20 11:17:15

As well as schools I would look at other practical things too.

Are you near to a playpark?
Close to GP surgery?
Crime rate of new location?
Will new house have garden for DC to play in?
Close to shops?
Is there enough parking?
Is it close enough that friends and family will drop by?

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