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Yet another set of moving to Edinburgh questions

(9 Posts)
Cornopean Fri 23-Jan-15 23:54:31

Hi Edinburgh mumsnetters, I'll try not to ask the same questions I've seen answered elsewhere. About us: two kids (3y, 3m), looks like we can afford a nice 2 bed flat + boxroom in areas with reasonable schools, but will have to rent first, preferably in an area we'd look to buy in. And before all that, we're heading up for a fortnight in February to try the city out - it's a long way from our present home in the South East of England.

Looking for areas we might fit in - unpretentious professionals, both working part-time and looking after our kids part-time. Definitely won't be privately educating our kids. The job I might take is near Newhaven. We'd like to be in walking distance of high-street shops (grocer etc.) rather than commuter-ville.

What are the pre-school options like for our eldest, who has just qualified for state-funded part-time pre-school? Is everywhere reserved years in advance? And after maternity leave we'll need somewhere for the youngest for a day or two a week, with only a few months notice. Are child-minders like gold dust?

If we did move into a flat (probably a traditional tenement), where do you store buggies and/or bikes? Once you've bought, how much are factoring charges typically (for maintenance of communal areas like the stair etc.)? And how do the "Offers over" prices relate to selling prices for flats these days?

Some final specific questions: Stockbridge looks nice, but parking looks a nightmare - is it really any worse than other comparable areas? The broad Morningside area also appeals, but I've read contrasting comments about student flats waking people up at 4am and other families loving the area. Are there more family-friendly sub-areas in the James Gillespie / Boroughmuir catchment areas?

Looking forward to our "try before we buy" holiday!

coffeeCamelCase Sat 24-Jan-15 11:05:11

Marchmont, Bruntsfield - less towny than Stockbridge or Morningside-proper, but still plenty of nice shops etc.

The thing about student horror stories is that people who have them tell them widely - most students are delightful people! We've lived in flats adjacent to student flats for over 20 years and never had a problem. Obviously living in a flat at all isn't suitable if you'll be bothered by the occasional civilised party or people on the stairs, but our experience is that the most that's been required is to let people know that noise really carries from the stair and ask them to be quiet when they come in late. Usually not even that. Student flats can be a convenient source of babysitters, if you're lucky, too.

Factoring charges as such don't exist IME. Flats on the stair share common expenses by agreement. Expenses include staircleaning and mowing the common grass: a few pounds a week. The worse thing is major building work, e.g. the roof or restoring the masonry. Watch out for tenements built out of crumbling sandstone that haven't yet had massive restoration projects done - that can run into tens of thousands per flat. But most are built out of harder-wearing stuff.

Buggies and bikes usually in the common stair. Thefts happen though so think about locking, and check your insurance will cover theft under conditions you can meet. You can get bike stands that fit in (ie give a vertical rail from floor to ceiling of the area) and provide something to lock them to, which is wise - many stairs have a rail or two missing from their stair where some enterprising thief has shown that locking to the stair rails is inadequate.

I have the impression that the oo price is a reasonable guide to the actual price, but not sure. Latest ESPC paper had prices of 2-bed flats still having fallen over last year, so prob still a buyers' market.

Can't speak to nurseries and childminders. Common sense says it'll be easier if you can be flexible about which couple of days you want than if that'll be fixed e.g. by your employer.

HTH. Welcome to Edinburgh!

Cornopean Sat 24-Jan-15 13:30:20

Thanks for that coffeeCamelCase, all very useful. On childminders we're fortunate that we probably will be able to move our working days around childminder availability to some extent. We'll try to explore Marchmont and Bruntsfield along with the areas mentioned above, also perhaps Trinity as nearer to my work, and Portobello as a left-field option.

Other insights most welcome.

3nationedinburgh Sat 24-Jan-15 15:42:40

A commute from Marchmont/ Bruntsfield to Newhaven will take you 45-55 minutes and two buses which is a lot of a hassle for a small city. Morning side would be even worse. Driving is an option but parking round These areas is a nightmare and resident permits are not issued in any proportion to available spaces so you may end up parking 15 minute walk from your flat- not ideal with kids, buggy, shopping. If Newhaven is definite then Trinity would be a better choice or Stockbridge at a push. The Botanic Gardens, Inverleith park and Victoria park are all good green spaces which compensate for flat living with no outside space.
Www.espc.com is the go to site for property in the city. Edinburgh is a fantastic place for families and wherever you choose I'm sure you will love living here.

Cornopean Sat 24-Jan-15 16:18:38

Aha, thanks! I presumed the buses would be quicker than that - but that's why I'm asking here. I'll happily walk, my last commute involved two miles of walking each way plus a 25 minute train journey, so it looks like Stockbridge would be fine in that regard. Ideally we'd like somewhere with a smaller school, as my daughter will be one of the youngest in her year, but I can find that info out myself.

I've been avidly browsing espc smile

krusovice Mon 26-Jan-15 16:48:04

Stockbridge is lovely and parking no worse than anywhere else that's similar. New town is also lovely area and not as expensive as you might think if you look to outside the Georgian townhouse areas! Comely bank and the shore also have nicE flats close to Newhaven and shops/bars/cafes. New builds may be better for parking and space or lifts for buggies etc if you're concerned about that, and there are loads in that area. Decent schools would be flora Stevenson, broughton, trinity, Stockbridge, leith walk all spread over that area of town.

StatisticallyChallenged Wed 28-Jan-15 20:52:27

Stockbridge Primary is one of the smallest ones around there, certainly considerably smaller than its neighbours (Flora Stevenson, Wardie...) but the actual Stockbridge catchment is the size of a postage stamp. Seems to be a lovely school though. Comely Bank and Orchard Brae are nearby and nice too. The cheapest flats you'll find within the Stockbridge catchment are on Saunders Street - butt ugly grin but a decent size and a 2 minute walk to the school, and very popular with families.

I don't think the parking in Stockbridge is any worse than Marchmont, Morningside etc. Trinity and Newhaven are both nice too.

Buggy storage - just buy a baby jogger city mini, one less thing to worry about! Ours hangs on a bike hook in our hall!

Childcare - nurseries and childminders around that area are pretty busy. Being flexible about which days you can work initially will be useful - but most childminders will need the days to be fixed i.e. they won't be able to accommodate changing/rotating shifts very easily. There are quite a few good nurseries in that area too - Doune Terrace, the Orchard, Arbor Green and a few others.

LoblollyBoy Thu 29-Jan-15 13:29:45

I wouldn't count on being able to keep bikes in a stair, it very much depends on the attitudes of others in the stair.

Cornopean Thu 29-Jan-15 14:03:15

Thanks for all the contributions, really helps us get a picture of how we might live our lives. Those Saunders Street flats are truly ghastly, but I guess if you have to see them anyway, better from the inside than the out!

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