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House and schools shenanigans

(10 Posts)
Lottiegal Wed 21-Sep-11 20:32:01

I'm in a bit of a pickle about where to buy a house regarding school catchment areas. We're relocating from Tun Wells to Eastbourne to get more for our money and the schools are relatively good in Eastbourne.

We sold our small 2 bed terraced cottage in May and lost the house we were going to buy near a good school as the chain fell through so we ended up at my mums as an emergency measure. Then I had a baby (I have two other toddlers) and got ill with a breast abscess (whole other story) so house hunting got waylaid.

We then fell in love with another house in a good school catchment area but were gazumped at the last minute through bad communication with ea as I was in and out of hospital. The agent then came back to us saying the other buyer was pulling out were we still interested - we said yes. They then came back saying the vendor was going to stick with the original buyer, so we were pretty hacked off as you can imagine. Anyway 6 months later we have bid on many other houses of various kinds and prices, but none have accepted our offers around our budget.

We then saw a house in a slightly run down area that I was quite keen on, house but needed work.The local infant school has just got an outstanding and feeds into a junior school which is 'on the up'. We decided to go for it as ds is starting school next Sept so have to get the application in by January at the latest. I'm now getting slightly cold feet and am not sure if we are making a big mistake with the school not being as good as the better area. I've chatted with a few mums around Eastbourne on forums who all talk about the old town being great, but there is little feedback about the area this house is in.

We thought about renting, but there are no houses AT ALL in the old town, only a two bed flat in the catchment area for the good schools. I'm in turmoil every day changing my mind about this. Only today I viewed a house in the better area within school catchment areas, it's 3 bed so would need extending at some point if we stayed there and is on at £275000, 25k over our budget. I decided to put an offer in at £25000 as I liked the house and could see we could stay there and improve it. It was rejected with a definite 'NO'.

Should we pull out of the other house (in the slightly crappy area) or go ahead with the work and risk the schools and hope it improves? I have to make a choice either way soon for ds sake. Sorry for the rambling essay, but I have to get an impartial opinion on this as it's driving me crazy!


caramelwaffle Wed 21-Sep-11 20:44:14

My initial thoughts: go for renting the flat (because of school applications) and keep looking for a house that you really like in the nicer area.


mylovelymonster Thu 22-Sep-11 00:00:53

Oh yes, rent if at all possible and get a really good feel for exactly where you want to be before buying.

PanicMode Thu 22-Sep-11 07:56:27

Definitely rent in the catchment area of the good school and wait for the house that you want. It will happen - prices are going to be under more pressure as time goes on - the economy isn't going to get better any time soon so people WILL have to be realistic about their prices. We bought in an 'on the up' area in a rush, and ended up really regretting it, and moving again (to T Wells!) because I got cold feet when I actually looked at the school the children would be going to.

Tunicandtrousers Thu 22-Sep-11 08:14:24

I think you need to go and LOOK at the schools in the not so nice area. Only then can you see if you would be happy with them. Forget what's in the Ofsted report. Go and see if you like them.

BTw - isn't 250 000 the threshold for higher rate of stanp duty? If so you should be offering 249 999 - and the 275 000 house will be hanging around for a whilse as nobody wants to pay another 25 grand and thus incur extra stamp duty.

Lottiegal Thu 22-Sep-11 21:22:47

Thanks all, I think you are right and I should probably rent for a while. I was just getting fed up of being in limbo being at mums for 6 months now and renting is a bit of a stop gap but probably worth it in the long run. Unfortunately there is nothing on the letting market in that area apart from the flat, but hope something will come up soon.

Tunicandtrousers, I have looked at all the schools in the not so nice area, some are quite good, but I'm not so sure about the people in the area. Not to say they are not nice people, just don't know if I'd have much in common with them iykwim. Regarding the offer, we did offer 249950, I was just generalising. It got turned down anyway

Panicmode, glad to hear from someone who has been in this situation, and you have confirmed some of my fears. Where was the area?

caramelwaffle Thu 22-Sep-11 22:03:41

Good luck

SparklePrincess Thu 22-Sep-11 23:58:02

You should look in Heathfield. It's only 30 minutes from the coast in Eastbourne, but the schools are FAR superior as is the location!! I know with Eastbourne they have specific catchment areas, & you need to live within them as competition is fierce. Have you thought about Uckfield? Its got more shops & amenities than Heathfield, but also a fab comp. If you have 250k you could buy a nice house in a far nicer location than Eastbourne with far better schools imo. Do some research. smile

PanicMode Fri 23-Sep-11 08:45:31

Lottiegal - in Surrey.

Indaba Fri 23-Sep-11 22:58:27

just check about catchment areas...they move each academic year...we moved to a good catchment area but didn't get in as so many others applied that year with siblings.....don't trust estate agents...LEA's publish the distance you had to live in the previous year to actually get in.

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