One house or two - london or not(18 Posts)
Trying to work out which would be better for life - either buy home in London and spend our max, and live nearer to work but have less space, and fret a bit about having teenagers in London (not worried about kids in London just when it comes to secondary etc), or buy a home outside of London and commute in, plus buy a central London flat so still have a foot in London, investment, and can also enjoy central London life but have more space and a bit of countryside for children. But then commute would be a slog. Didn't want to commute more than an hour door to door really particularly when both in so kids would feel far away (and how does working in London work when school happens? I guess my career would have to be one that goes if we decide to move out?)
I love london, but I also love the countryside. However am also a bit scared of living in Commuterworld too. Nowhere stands out as somewhere I'd like to live really within the hour. Just feel a bit at a crossroads and not sure which is best. We have children now too so that makes our house choice different to pre kids and really where dilemma is. No chance of situation changing soon. I.e. Job away from london so have to factor in DH getting in every day.
So weighing up commute, house size, lifestyle, where kids would grow up.
We have £1.35 max. I know I am lucky to even consider this.
My DH works ft long hours. I work pt ok hours and flexible though I am aiming to change jobs at some point or go freelance.
Family and friends all over the place so that doesn't really help narrow it down.
Thanks so much for any thoughts.
Working an hour away from kids is definitely not doable for you both long term. You need some slack for illness emergency and you may find wrap around care hours limited. Homework and school hols and activities suffer. Can you live in commuter land (it's not that bad) keep your London flat and afford one of you to work locally?
What do you like doing, what attracts you to London, maybe we can suggest a commuter town that would suit
I love the vibe/aliveness of london and all it's quirky places and people. Failing that I like some decent independent shops (so middle class yawn) and the parklife. Love the architecture too and choice of stuff to do - also for kids!
I could try working freelance. I may fail - big unknown. I also like the interaction with folk too in an office. True told I get a bit lonely looking after the kids all time and on mat leave with DH doing long hours though know it's only v short period of life. But it is an option for me to work at home so commuterland may work.
A lot of people commute happily from Bucks and Herts and keep a flat in London. Could you not work near your chosen town? Lots of people give up their jobs in London to work locally and then go back when the children are older. You may find you don't get a huge amount of space in a commuter town/village when you take the price of London flats into consideration. What split of £ were you thinking of? The money you have, without the flat, would buy you something pretty nice in lots of areas. Also, two properties are expensive to maintain, Council tax, heating, electricity bills - they all mount up.
Agree with above poster that running two homes sounds like a pita.
With your budget you could get a good house in a leafy area such as Dulwich. Best of both worlds.
If your DH works long hours I'd stay in London - with that budget you can buy a sizeable house in zone 2/3 giving him a short commute, plenty of space and near decent schools. Eg Dulwich, Herne Hill, Chiswick, etc. I'd base search on where DH has to commute to, then look at areas with good schools and take it from there.
And I don't think you need be that concerned about secondary schools. London has great schools - state and private. With that budget you can afford to target 'catchments' of good state schools or if you want to go private then spend less on the house and invest the rest to pay for school fees.
Friends of ours recently sold a house at your sort of budget and moved to West Sussex - they have loved the year they've spent there, but are now looking to have a 'city' pad because the commuting is a pain.....their children are at boarding school, so they have less of an issue with childcare now, but they want to keep the countryside lifestyle but have the city commute during term time.
We don't have close to that sort of budget but wanted to move out of London, so compromised with Tunbridge Wells - the commute is just about an hour, the schools are great, there are parks, theatres, loads of things for (young) children to do (bit more of an issue with teenagers), a lovely high street with loads of lovely shops, it's very friendly and as there are loads of London 'expats' everyone knows what it's like to leave the big smoke - but we're only an hour away from London so can do West End shows, museums or concerts at the O2 and be home easily. Your budget would buy something lovely here!
Even in London, unless you're right on the tube line for where you work and you live basically on top of the station, your commute is likely to be an hour door to door anyway. And you're likely to need wrap around childcare either way. I'd concentrate on z2/3 and find a lovely family home for you all near a station and decent schools. You'll really compromise on what you're buying if you're funding a central London flat as well (and running two homes is a massive PITA).
Two properties will mean compromising on both, a flat in London 'to come and visit' is a great idea but the reality of what you could afford with your budget would likely be a one bed flat that isn't likely to be too comfortable for 4 of you to spend a weekend (so it won't happen often). And I'd guess you'll end up looking at houses outside London and finding ones that you like are just beyond your budget and settling for something. Then you'll have the headache of maintaining and financing two properties.
If you love London, I'd stay. It is fantastic for teenagers, I think people worry about having babies here then realise it's actually amazing and then go through the same process wrt older kids. The time you and DH get with DC's rather than spent commuting is invaluable. Neither of you will have to make career sacrifices you don't want to.
I know lots of people who left London and regret it, not true of everyone but you sound like you aren't ready to go yet! If in doubt, rent out your current property and rent somewhere outside for a year, then see how you feel - don't burn bridges (and £££ in stamp duty etc) straight off!
Depending on where you / DH work look at somewhere on the Thameslink line or on a fast line to London Bridge. You can be at work in a lot less than an hour from a surprisingly large radius.
Also loads of areas have a good choice of both primary and secondary state schools. We both worked f/t but were able to do flexi and cover the school pick up between us.
Thanks so much for wise words. Yes perhaps two places is not the best idea - it was just because I thought it would be good to still feel like had a foothold in London if moving out. I think we need to think about really what we need and want - SE London maybe, and funny enough Tunbridge wells was one of the places we thought about as still stuff to do but commute not too too horrendous. Though if I was thinking about keeping a foothold perhaps we are not ready to move out of London yet. It's partly because I feel that's what everyone does when they have children - move out of London. Maybe I'm thinking too much about the what ifs of the future and should just enjoy London wit small children for now and be grateful our budget allows us to even consider living in London fairly close ish to work.
We have recently moved out of London and commute in. I would say that actually anywhere commutable to London holds its value price wise so you may not need to keep a flat in london purely for investment. We are half hour from London and so its just as easy to get it and around for nights out or weekends.
We live in Surbiton but areas we considered were:
Essex - great transport links and lots of countryside plus loads more house for your money
Walton on Thames - half hour into waterloo
Fleet - 40 minutes into waterloo
Failing that what about somewhere like Twickenham? still London but far enough out that you get bigger houses and more space. not the country side but good schools and bigger gardens
With your budget I'd say London. Dh's commute is 25 mins but it's about 45-50 mins door to desk and it's really great knowing he's able to be home so early. When your dc are older maybe revisit this question but honestly for me, while I'm on mat leave and having dh home 6/6.30...well at the end of a long day for me it's priceless!
Don't forget you will need 3% extra stamp duty for a second home as of April 2016 due to Autumn budget.
We chose London. Two people commuting an hour+ each way into London is unsustainable imo and to be frank we don't want to live in a house in commutersville that means that one of us can afford to give up work. All the financial pressure is on one person and to be honest in order live within half mile of the station in TW, Sevenoaks, Guildford, St Albans etc in a good school catchment area is pretty much the same cost of much of London without the £7-10k a year on a season ticket.
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