Where would you live?

(16 Posts)
Ungratefulwiife Tue 11-Aug-20 15:48:40

We currently live in Blackheath, south east London but are looking to move as we have outgrown our house.
We are looking for at least a 4 bed house, with a reasonable garden, off street parking and near to decent schools (DC1 is primary age).
We were looking to stay in the area but with the new world of WFH seemingly opening up we are considering a move out to Kent.
So far we have gone for day trips to Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells.
Neither give me a thrill tbh. They are both "nice" but just seem to lack something - DH says this is due to the lockdown/restrictions making places soulless.

Our budget is £1.3m (possibly a little more for the right house) but there isn't a huge amount coming up in that price range locally and DH is now dead keen on moving out of London because he is likely to be WFH full time. I am likely to still need to commute 2/3 days a week into London Bridge and so I am restricting my Rightmove searches to within 1 mile of a direct line station (DH searches further out into villages but I am not keen on that, I like being able to walk to places) in either Blackheath, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells.

If you know the areas I mention, which do you prefer and which do you think will be best for a family with two young children (5&2)? I am really erring to staying in Blackheath as I do like it here but DH is adamant that moving out of London is best for the children.

Anywhere else that you would suggest based on the above? Kent is preferred due to location of family but we are open to other locations too.

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JoJoSM2 Tue 11-Aug-20 15:57:19

Blackheath is super pretty so if that’s one of the top criteria, it probably isn’t easy to match.

Personally, I wouldn’t rate it with kids as I prefer more space and greenery (ie less busy parks and coutryside).

My favourite commuter town that might work for you in Reigate in East Surrey, so still convenient for Kent. The trains are better from Redhill (still walkable from parts of Reigate) - direct trains to LB, Victoria and the Thameslink + less than 30min drive to the tube in case of emergencies.

Reigate is very pretty with personality to it, naice High Street and stunning coutryside literally walkable from the high street (on the edge of Surrey Hills AONB).

Ungratefulwiife Tue 11-Aug-20 16:24:45

Yes, Blackheath is pretty and so convenient for central London too. I am quite attached!

Thank you for the tip re Reigate @JoJoSM2 I shall add it to the list. Do you know if plane noise is a problem being so close to Gatwick? I guess it is quiet at the moment!

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JoJoSM2 Tue 11-Aug-20 16:47:08

Reigate itself is pretty quiet (much better than most of London). The planes fly south of it over Leigh (lovely village btw). You also don’t get any M25 noise because there’s a hill between the town and the hill. It is in issue in other towns and villages near the M25 (dependent on weather conditions too).

aldibuyer Tue 11-Aug-20 16:55:40

WIth that amount for a house I'd emigrate!
I want to move back to Austria, you would get a lake-side house for that. So you might have to stop commuting to London (!) and you would all have to learn German but the lifestyle and the opportunities for your children would make that worthwhile!
Apart from that keep well clear of any part of Kent directly south of London, really any part of Kent.
Do remember that commuting is horrid!

7OaksDad Tue 11-Aug-20 17:40:15

Commuting from Sevenoaks to London Bridge is as easy as it gets though, fast regular trains. When we moved from Zone 2 the actual commute time was unchanged.
On your specific issue though both TW and Sevenoaks are very nice places to raise kids but I’d have thought Blackheath is with that budget as well? Doesn’t sound like your heart is really in moving - the real issue is perhaps either you or your husband is going to have to compromise on something?

Ungratefulwiife Tue 11-Aug-20 18:03:49

@aldibuyer ha! Emigrating is a bit extreme, plus I tried to learn German in my youth and was pretty rubbish at it grin

@7OaksDad moving somewhere just because it is easy to get away from there isn't really my ideal scenario, I agree me or DH are going to have to compromise. The budget doesn't actually stretch that far in Blackheath - especially as my eldest is already at school and so I don't want to move too far from it if we stay (and to stay within easy walking distance of school we would need more than £1.5 million). Every house we look at in Blackheath is swamped - 20 viewings in one day the last one we looked at- and every house has a compromise. Our house is under offer and I think we are going to end up moving into rented accommodation if we want to keep our buyers - this is what has prompted DH to start the search elsewhere.

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RicStar Tue 11-Aug-20 18:08:37

Is your dh/ you making big decisions in these strange circumstances- he may wfh in this role, but what if he wants to change jobs etc in the future - same for you. We are similar in some ways - currently in Herne Hill, considering moving out but have decided we actually love it here, the parks, the easy commute, the schools. So we are going to wait at least another year and see how we feel when the whole covid thing is (hopefully) more settled.

Ungratefulwiife Tue 11-Aug-20 18:41:07

@RicStar we decided to move pre lockdown - we never even managed to get the house on Rightmove, it went under offer after the agent got 3 people to view before it went "live" so we have mentally decided to move and are finding it so hard living in our house now - if that makes sense? It is 3 bed but open plan living area, we are both working from home with the DC here too. We have a tiny garden. So this madness has cemented our decision to move but the problem is where.
DH could commute from any of the suggestions above too - he has never been one to WFH before (he refused to even try) but is a total convert. His job is very doable from home, mine isn't so much and that is why it is important to me to have a relatively easy commute.
I think the lockdown has made us realise that you have to be happy in the house that you are in.

Maybe we should just withdraw from our sale and hold off? DH really doesn't want to go into a rental and have the hassle of two moves.

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RicStar Tue 11-Aug-20 19:26:46

I didn't realise you were under offer already, I kind of think these places are soulless too - I think we would want to go further or sussex way. I grew up on London/ Kent borders so I am probably unfairly prejudiced against anywhere that feels totally commuter.

JoJoSM2 Tue 11-Aug-20 19:53:30

In terms of the Blackheath houses, is it actually possible for you to afford the house you want? If the ones whose location you like are all compromised and over budget, then it doesn’t sound likely?

disorganisedsecretsquirrel Tue 11-Aug-20 19:59:53

Try the country less than 3 miles from tun wells.. I used to live in Eridge before moving further into Sussex .. 5 minutes to the town and views to die for across the downs with much cheaper train into town when needed .. Eridge, Frant (primary rated excellent) Wadhurst (primary ditto) .. penshurst , chiddingstone .. go for one of the villages . Super wealthy middle class and easy access to grammars.. safe a fortune on school fees !

Ungratefulwiife Tue 11-Aug-20 20:06:42

@JoJoSM2 yes, we could afford houses we like - a couple have come up that we have put offers in for but because we are in a chain they have been rejected, one eventually went for way over our budget. We went under offer in February! There just seems to be very little coming on and every time we go to view there seem to be more and more people looking for the same as us.
We would get more for our money in a commuter town and this is what has turned DH's head (even though he refuses to accept our living costs will be higher than where we are, train fares, possibly a second car) - we have some more viewings lined up this week in Blackheath but the pressure is on for us to find somewhere. I think DH is talking himself out of the houses already because he doesn't want to feel pressured into buying somewhere that isn't "perfect" and he now wants to explore the other options.
I just think we will end up still in this house next year at this rate....

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MobLife Tue 11-Aug-20 20:23:08

Don't leave Blackheath! With your budget your budget I wouldn't dream of leaving the area!

Have you considered looking a bit further down the road-into Lee or beyond?
For your budget you'd get a place with a decent garden in some of the roads to the west of Hither Green and around Manor Park
Or further into Bromley-around Beckenham?

JoJoSM2 Tue 11-Aug-20 20:31:11

Tbh, if you’re looking in other areas only because of the property market going crazy rather than because you actually want to be out of London, then I’d just stay put.

Even if your sale falls through because your buyers run out of patience, be it. You can always advertise again and probably won’t struggle to sell by the sound of it.

JoJoSM2 Tue 11-Aug-20 20:48:30

I mean stay put in Blackheath and move up the ladder there.

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