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WWYD? Buy a medium sized house near great school or big house where schools will be trickier?

(25 Posts)
SkaterGrrrrl Fri 17-Mar-17 08:13:31

DD is in year 1. She goes to an outstanding state primary for girls and boys. DS is at nursery and around Easter is likely to get a Reception place at the same school. As soon as DS gets his offer we are going to put our house on the market.

We currently live right in the middle of town in a tiny house. We moved here 5 years ago with a bump and a baby and have rapidly outgrown it (but big win was getting DD into lovely school).

We can afford more space on the edges of our town & have 2 areas to house hunt and would value your opinion.

Neighbourhood 1 we could afford a medium sized house in the catchment of a good state high school for girls and boys.

Neighbourhood 2 we could afford a big house in the catchment of an outstanding high school for girls so DD would be sorted but DS would have to get a bus to the next town to a new academy.

Seems mad to be thinking about his high school when he's only 4 but there you go!

Miniwookie Fri 17-Mar-17 08:18:25

I think you could move again by the time your 4yo starts high school or the high school situation could change and in the meantime you could be enjoying a bigger house.

TipTop333 Fri 17-Mar-17 08:20:49

Getting the bus to school not a big deal.

But choose the house that will make you happiest as both those situations are workable.

SkaterGrrrrl Fri 17-Mar-17 08:22:13

Thanks mini I was wondering about that and catchments can change a lot in the 7 years he will be at primary. What scares me is that we've only been in current house a shirt timer so potentially moving house in 2012, 2017 and say 2022 at £40k stamp duty each time...

pinkdelight Fri 17-Mar-17 09:22:15

I'd get the medium-sized house assuming medium was big enough. That's what we've done and although I still keep an eye out for a big house for a future move, it feels like it makes sense to go small, medium, large and that most people don't go from tiny house to big house without some other kind of compromise. Catchment for both kids at the same secondary school will be great and makes things nice and simple. Only other consideration I guess is how easy it is to get from each neighbourhood to their current primary, which will be the more impactful factor for the next few years.

Idefix Fri 17-Mar-17 09:54:34

Getting a bus is not a huge issue at secondary school level, dd has a 40 minute journey to school and it causes no issues.

What is the academy like? Is it similar to the mixed state high school where the medium house is?

lljkk Fri 17-Mar-17 09:59:11

We did this -- went for the big house, when DC1 was 4yo. DC have actually ended up at a better high school as a result (wasn't even on our radar at the time). I couldn't stand spending so much money on a small house I didn't much otherwise like.

SkaterGrrrrl Fri 17-Mar-17 10:38:53

Excellent feedback, thanks. I like the idea of them both being at the same school. I went to an all girls school which was brilliant academically but less so socially with girls being quite cliquey.

SkaterGrrrrl Fri 17-Mar-17 10:55:27

Pink delight good point, neighbourhood 1 is closer to current primary.... So medium house but shorter walk to school ( big house would mean bus to primary), less rush in mornings and primary classmates living nearby.

KnittedDress Fri 17-Mar-17 12:26:26

Bear in mind that research shows that girls do better in single sex schools, while boys do better in co-ed. If the academy is good then number 2 would not be short selling either child school wise.

Needmoresleep Fri 17-Mar-17 12:36:06

ALL girls, Knitted? Despite it being much quoted on MN, no one has ever come up with a link. And 'better'? Grades, social adjustment, preparedness for tertiary education?

SerialReJoiner Fri 17-Mar-17 12:39:22

I would go for the big house, personally, because i hate moving house and wouldn't want to move more than necessary!

Travelling to school sounds tricky, but it's not forever.

Harumff Fri 17-Mar-17 12:51:54

Also bear in mind that schools change... a change in leadership for example can have a massive effect in a few years. We moved into our area 10 years ago with a baby and bump with the plan of moving again before high school as the local one was awful. Now they're coming to go to it its outstanding thanks to a change in head! And another local school has gone in the opposite direction in the same time frame. Making a decision now based on schools in 7 years time may not work out so I would got for what is best for your family over the next 7 years instead.

And £40k stamp duty is some house!!

CountMagnus Fri 17-Mar-17 13:10:43

And £40k stamp duty is some house!!

Depends somewhat if you're in England or Scotland - in England, house would be £1,000,000, in Scotland it would be £670,000.

Harumff Fri 17-Mar-17 13:12:59

Fair point CountMagnus, I have my north of England head on.

Falafelings Fri 17-Mar-17 13:20:29

Medium house in a nicer area. You want your secondary aged kids to be walking around in a reasonably safe area!

Also buy a house that can be extended in 2022! Save yourself 40k

ASqueakingInTheShrubbery Fri 17-Mar-17 13:28:47

If you bought the big house, would you intend to stay there long-term? If so, and the school question is manageable, I'd do that. Why face the upheaval of moving twice if you can avoid it? A bus ride to school is fine if the school itself is ok.

KnittedDress Fri 17-Mar-17 14:08:10

needmoresleep that is my received wisdom and appears to be born out by results - article says it holds true even taking into account other factors. Obviously it relates to girls as a class, not every single individual girl since we're all individuals.
Sorry OP - don't want to derail and I don't have any particular knowledge for a debate in any case. I just thought it was relevant possibly to your decision.

KnittedDress Fri 17-Mar-17 14:08:56

Argh - forgot link...

SkaterGrrrrl Fri 17-Mar-17 20:24:03

It's £35k stamp duty for a house nearing £900k on the SW London / Surrey border. This would get us our 'big house', namely a 3 or 4 bed with 2 receptions and a 20 metre garden.... I know it's madness.

DH and I both work for charities and are lucky that a relative helped with the deposit or we couldn't afford this area. It's bonkers. But it's green, safe and state schools are good. It's DS leaving nursery that is going to enable us to put another grand on a new mortgage every month.

SkaterGrrrrl Fri 17-Mar-17 20:30:57

"If you bought the big house, would you intend to stay there long-term?"

Yes, would be forever house.

OverOn Fri 17-Mar-17 20:36:34

I'd go medium house with both DC at same high school. I know bus to school isn't a big deal. But having done it myself, I felt left out as I wasn't local to the school and didn't have friends in my immediate neighbourhood.

Also if medium house is walking distance to current primary, that's got to be better for the DC while they're at school (near their friends for play dates etc).

Can medium house be extended when the DC are bigger?

SkaterGrrrrl Fri 17-Mar-17 20:56:52

Both houses theoretical atm . We have narrowed down our search to 2 areas and know what we can afford there.

Getting something that could be extended is a really great solution.

SkaterGrrrrl Fri 17-Mar-17 21:01:47

Have spent much of the day on my MN Local schools thread.

I realise in 7 years the schools results could improve or decline, but I have been thinking hard about school sizes, location and gender.

The good mixed state high school which I've always wanted for our kids has 240 children year!! The girls' school much smaller. Your responses have given me much food for thought.

I really appreciate it.

SkaterGrrrrl Fri 17-Mar-17 21:03:03

' has 240 per children year', rather.

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