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Flat vs house (nw London)

(12 Posts)
HairyPorter Fri 24-Jan-14 14:41:49

I know this has been done to death but would appreciate input from anyone with some knowledge of nw London. With our budget we could afford a small (1200sq ft ish) 3 bed flat that may/ may not have a patio garden in west hampstead OR a big (1800sq ft ish) 4+ bedroom house in willesden green or dollis hill. I keep flipping between the two and we are viewing everything that comes up in those areas. We've seen a decent house in dollis hill and may make an offer but I'm wondering if I'm making a mistake as we currently live in west hampstead (rented) and love it here... We have 2 dc. No more planned but will likely have overseas guests for a few months of the year. Dc are 3 and 1.5 at the moment and share currently.

Stokey Fri 24-Jan-14 16:57:24

Think with 2dc, you need the extra space. West Hampstead is lovely but you'll probably find more young families in the other areas ( which must confess i don't know).
Tempting to want to stay where you rent but 1200 sq ft sounds small for family of four. We moved from a similar sized 2 bed flat to a 1800+ sq ft 3 bed house and do not regret in the slightest. In fact we've almost filled new place to capacity and are thinking of extending to get bigger kitchen & 4th bedroom. We also have 2 dc ( 4 & 2) & family who live far away so come & stay.

Artandco Fri 24-Jan-14 17:06:02

I would go for the flat personally. But we live in a tiny 600sqft flat in zone 1 London with x2 children and love it

LondonGirl83 Fri 24-Jan-14 17:38:01

If you don't feel you need more space than 1,200 sqft then stay in the flat. It will be several years before your children will be too old to share so as long as the room they are sharing is a good size it all about your personal preference. I know people living in 3 bed houses that are only 1,100 sqft with two school age children very happily.

As another poster said- how ever big your house is, you'll end up filling it up.

Are there parks near the flat? That would be a big factor for me.

One thing I like about smaller homes (flats or houses) is that the maintenance is lower both cost-wise and time-wise. That gives you more time to enjoy your family and more money to spend doing fun things.

Good luck whatever you choose. I doubt you'll be unhappy with either choice smile

Kitttty Sun 26-Jan-14 02:42:50

What is on you wish list - space? garden? schools? nicer area? and then how are these prioritized? Sounds like you don't want to leave where you are now -...as you are renting why don't you rent in the new area for 6 months to see if it is your cup of tea - if not move back and buy in WH --having saved a costly and miserable mistake.

frenchfancy Sun 26-Jan-14 07:07:55

I would go for the house in Willesden green. But I wouldn't go out as far as Dollis Hill. Willesden Green is in Zone 2. I would assume no more than 15 mins walk to the station. The area around Anson road, Gladstone Park is ok as are the "tree" streets heading up to Cricklewood.

oif Mon 27-Jan-14 13:50:07

We had similar decision 2 years ago - were renting in Chalk Farm, and were looking at 2-bed maisonettes there or 3-bed houses in Kensal/Willesden. We bought the latter.

It has been good here - I really appreciate the garden and ground floor access, and it is a lovely friendly area to be in with kids. I don't know WG/Dollis Hill much, but depending on which side you were you would possibly have Roundwood Park, cafe and kids activities on College Road, willesden rec with swimming pool, bouncy castle etc., shops and cafes on Chamberlayne Road

However, if I had to make the decision again I'm not sure what I would do. We rarely use our 3rd bedroom as it is in loft conversion, so would have been fine with 2 for a good while (we have 3.5yo and 21mo who happily share), and a ground floor flat would have given us garden, plus if you are close enough to nice parks and playgrounds and friends' houses, garden doesn't matter so much.

I lost contact with everyone I made friends with through DD in Chalk Farm, and although I have made new friends here, it takes a while to settle in anywhere new. I also miss the centrality and I miss easy access to the Heath and Primrose Hill and a bigger selection of shops and cafes and so on.

It depends what is most important to you, although I know sometimes that is hard to work out until you are missing something!

I would have thought given your kids ages that school would be the most relevant factor at the moment?

EasterHoliday Mon 27-Jan-14 13:52:29

you know there are a few amazing flats for sale in Highpoint at the moment - cake and eat it! lovely Highgate, communal gardens with play area and swimming pool / tennis courts, short stroll to the heath. Can't be more ££ than a house like that in Dollis Hill...

Happymother77 Tue 25-Feb-14 13:54:04

I can recommend you making a list of pros and cons of each property. For example, the house is rather big that’ll be good for your family especially if you have children, so (1800sq ft ish) 4+ bedroom house in willesden green or dollis hill is a nice opportunity. The flat is not so big but its in London! Consider the location whether it’ll be comfortable for you to live in each place. House is always better than a flat but here you need to consider so many other factors. For instance, repairs that need to be done in house and apartment, neighborhood etc. When you make this list of advantages and disadvantages you’ll see what will be better for your family.

TheWave Tue 25-Feb-14 13:59:04

I would be looking a school choices. And not just primary. Look further ahead if you can before you buy. Unless you think you might move again or go private anyway.

crazyhead Tue 25-Feb-14 15:03:46

We faced similar questions (big flat in Crouch End or house somewhere nearby and bit cheaper). Neither seemed right, so we ended up buying utter dump doer upper house of 1200-1300 sqft in Crouch End, doing it up, and we'll be able to add 500sqft with loft in a few years when we've got a bit more cash again.

Would something like that be an option? If you are vacillating so much I wonder if the two choices you've set yourself as either quite right for you. Personally I'm not a Londoner, and found it hard to quite swallow the flat or the area I didn't like so much (spoilt emoticon) without questioning why we were staying in London. What we have was a killer project while we did it, but more sustainable in the long run.

cestlavielife Tue 25-Feb-14 23:13:25

Go hang out in williesden green it s a diff feel to west Hampstead.

Personally I would stay in smaller place in west Hampstead closer to everything. Easy to get home if you work Central London by tube bus or taxi in emergency or cycle or walk. Willies den green that bit further...

But if your priority is house with Garden....

Also think about schools .

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