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Location, location, location - moving back to UK and don't know where to live

(47 Posts)
tellmetellmepleasetellme Thu 17-Aug-17 03:52:31

Hi all. I am hoping you can help me with a situation that is hypothetical at the moment but I would really like to know if such an area exists within this budget.

Background: family of 4 - DH, me and 2 kids: ages 3 and 1. Currently living abroad and may return to the UK in the next year or 2. Looking for ideally a 4 bedroom home to rent (budget of 1,500 a month). Dh and I work from home and will look to buy 2 cars.

The long term plan is if after a year we like the area we will look to buy a house which needs modernisation. We will have a total budget of about 270,000.

What we are looking for: Village feel, ability to get to Central London on train/coach within 1.5 hours, close to good schools, family friendly, not too far from an international airport, a major hospital, a city.

I have looked on Rightmove but it feels like too much of a stab in the dark when we don't have specific locations on which the search should be focused and was hoping the collective wisdom of Mumsnet can shine a light on this matter. Thanks!

flumpybear Thu 17-Aug-17 04:53:02

What about Newark or Grantham?
On the fast rail line to London and houses are at the cheaper end of the scale but some nice surrounding villages

bluefeathers Thu 17-Aug-17 04:57:26

That budget doesn't allow for much in the south, even if you're renovating.

Pradaqueen Thu 17-Aug-17 04:57:48

Try outer edges of large towns/cities in Essex. Southend/Colchester/Chelmsford. The latter would be your better bet. Great schools, fast trains into London. Rental and £270k budget do-able.

flumpybear Thu 17-Aug-17 04:58:28

Schools around there include grammar schools (kings is one of them - think the girls and boys are split but could be wrong) or Southwell minster school

CharityJackson2 Thu 17-Aug-17 05:05:25

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

tellmetellmepleasetellme Thu 17-Aug-17 05:37:56

Thank you flumpy and prada. I will check the areas and schools out.

Yes, the budget is a concern as we would not be able to apply for a mortgage until we are able to establish proof of earning, build up a credit rating which will will take at least a few years.

The neighbourhood and schools are top of the list so maybe we will just have to compromise on property size or rent for longer until we can get a mortgage.

These have given me a great start for my research. Would love to hear more suggestions.

Charity - what??? confused

wheresmyphone Thu 17-Aug-17 08:26:35

If you do not need to be near London then I would stay as far away as you can. You pay a massive premium for places like Chelmsford as it's commutable. You will need to be back for at least 2 years to get a mortgage but you seem to be aware of that. Loads of stuff will be more expensive: insurers make you pay a premium once you have been overseas. On the plus side, everything doctors, dentists, the mail arrives the day after it is posted, raids get cleaned, my kids can walked safely in the streets, people turn up when they say they will 😀. We went to Bath. Bristol also good and a lot more lively..... Good luck.

KitKat1985 Thu 17-Aug-17 08:28:01

I live in the south East and could suggest a few places but I think the hard bit with your search will be looking for somewhere with a 'village feel'. Firstly because areas with a village feel are likely to be much more expensive so I think you will struggle to afford anywhere with a village type vibe for 270k, and also by their nature villages are often more remote and so not so well connected to London / airports / hospitals / city. I would advise personally dropping the 'village feel' idea and looking at towns / suburban areas instead.

HensAndRabbits Thu 17-Aug-17 08:30:57

How about Kent? There's some lovely villages within 15 minute drive to Ashford, then 40 mins to Kings X on the high speed train.

Have a look at Charing, Pluckley, Chilean and Wye.

Mrsfloss Thu 17-Aug-17 08:32:42

Manchester? 2 hours by train you were told get something amazing in budget

Callmecordelia Thu 17-Aug-17 08:33:00

They won't get much for that budget in Kent in those places.

BigGreenOlives Thu 17-Aug-17 08:33:34

Cosham near Portsmouth.

Not very villagey but in budget & schools come up as good.

MiniAlphaBravo Thu 17-Aug-17 08:35:34

I think you would really struggle to get somewhere on that budget in Chelmsford. I'd probably live further out to get more for your money. How about Warwick, Leamington Spa and that area?

SleepFreeZone Thu 17-Aug-17 08:37:47

Is being 1.5 hours away from London important or just desirable? If the latter then I would focus on finding the house outside of the south east as £270,000 won't buy you a big enough house unless it's unlovable basically.

SleepFreeZone Thu 17-Aug-17 08:38:09


senua Thu 17-Aug-17 09:42:19

It seems to me (from reading threads on MN!) that getting 'good' schools down in London direction is incredibly stressy. Everything and everyone is so competitive. Especially when you get to secondary school in the Grammar areas.
Move further away, into a comprehensive area. I think areas like Cambridge, Leicester and Coventry/Leamington might suit your requirements although they might be tight on your budget. Basically, I think I'm saying follow the motorways - M11, M1 or M40.

Are you aware of the new HS2 railway and the impact that will have?

NomDePlumeReloaded Thu 17-Aug-17 10:01:40

There is a Virgin train service from Birmingham International (monorail to airport in a couple of mins) to Euston that takes 1hr 15min. Could Brum be a possible? Obviously it would depend on your commute to/from each train at either end.

Magstermay Thu 17-Aug-17 10:02:14

I would also suggest Warwick/ Alcester/ Leamington or over towards Worcester as you can get to Birmingham International for fast trains down to Euston.

We are moving that way soon and I would say buying 4 beds for £270000 will be tight even needing modernising. However your rental budget is very generous so I would definitely look to pay a lot less than that and save the money, otherwise you're going to be renting a far nicer house than you could afford to buy.

SleepFreeZone Thu 17-Aug-17 10:12:54

Mag we were in that position and it was bloody depressing. Being able to rent an absolutely beautiful four bed with acres of land but when we went to buy we were looking at shit holes basically. In the end we had to totally change our location to be able to afford a decent sized house.

NotMeNoNo Thu 17-Aug-17 10:14:21

On Zoopla they have a "property price heat map" which shows you average house prices - 3 bedroom will be close to that. I would get a map of England and mark it up, you will probably find some areas fall out. I don't know the West very well but in the Midlands you will need to be in reach of Birmingham or East Midlands airports as you get into the London commuter price belt otherwise. Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Coventry all have excellent hospitals. The railways through Birmingham/Crewe and Newark are faster than the one through Nottingham /Leicester (not electrified).

Once you have a general area in mind you can look at schools and areas. One thing to bear in mind is that many villages don't have fast broadband which is a sod if you are working at home. There are loads of towns with good/outstanding schools and all the usual facilities, and it's so quick to get around you will be within striking distance of a city with good shops/hospital etc. Southwell/Newark is a good call. Or maybe somewhere around Northampton?

We are moving shortly to the outskirts of Nottingham which ticks all your boxes except it's not a village, well the train is 1h40 min to London. We have bought an immaculate 3 bed house for just under £300k. I think you can find what you're looking for but it's a case of working out where you want to settle and make your home.

NotMeNoNo Thu 17-Aug-17 10:15:46

Schools - you may find it's better to get into catchment before children reach school starting age of 4. If you are in catchment at the start of the process they have to take you. If you move in later it's pot luck if they have a place.

TapStepBallChange Thu 17-Aug-17 10:37:55

Ely and villages? Just over an hour from kings cross, nr Cambridge, 50 mins from stanstead on the train. Local hospital is addenbrookes, its a bit of a drive, but likely to be a direct train link in the next few years with a station opening at the hospital. It's officially a very small city, but do any feel like it. Ace farmers market, book shop etc and go into Cambridge for John Lewis etc

SleepFreeZone Thu 17-Aug-17 11:06:57

The Fens are a bit of an acquired taste TapStep. I will say though that Ely is the prettier town in that area so it might be worth looking at. I would avoid March, Chatteris and even St Ives as the traffic is fucking awful and it's a bit interesting the further Fenny you get 😬

MrsMoastyToasty Thu 17-Aug-17 11:10:03

Bristol and Bath are about 1.5 hours from London by train.

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