First time buyers - location advice needed!

(20 Posts)
kbeejs Thu 20-Aug-20 21:46:16


Apologies for the long post, in need of a fresh pair of eyes desperately!

My partner and I are first time buyers, currently based in east Berkshire but looking to move nearer to London/be on a fast commuter line to Waterloo (45 mins or less).

We’re hoping to get a 2 bed house. We initially were okay with an apartment, but lockdown has reiterated how much we value some outdoor space.

Partner works in West London, I’m currently working down in Fleet, but hoping to find a new job in London (better prospects/salary in my industry), and we want to be closer to friends.

We’re going out of our minds trying to pin down an area to buy in, that’s within our budget of up to £375K. So far we’ve considered: Woking, Byfleet, Walton, Hersham.

Other areas we’ve highlighted on the map, Leatherhead, Banstead, Epsom.

Does anyone have any advice on the above places? Any positives about any of the areas, advice on where’s pleasant, places to avoid etc.

Or any other area recommendations?!?!

Ps. We’re in our late twenties.

Any input at all would be massively appreciated. Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
Booboobaabaa Fri 21-Aug-20 09:20:59

I'm in Woking right on the border with West Byfleet so know that area and Byfleet well. I also have the same budget as you (although would prefer a 3 bed). I think you'll only be able to afford an ex-council or maybe a second hand new build with that budget. The ones that have gone up for sale recently in your budget have sold quickly. . Would you consider a downstairs bathroom? There's still a decent amount of housing stock around here with downstairs bathrooms and they hang around unsold for a while.

Woking has the best trains, fast into London and a very regular service. The worst areas are Sheerwater, Maybury and Old Woking (I live in Sheerwater - it's not awful but I'd only buy on the West Byfleet side. It's also going through a huge regeneration at the moment which will last for the next 5 years). Goldsworth Park is basically a huge council estate (there's been a few properties in your budget available there recently) but not particularly dire one - it has a Waitrose (!). Woking has all the chain restaurants etc, bars and a theatre and art gallery. It's close to Guildford if you want a better shopping experience.

Byfleet is right up against the M25. You'd probably want to catch the train from West Byfleet or cycle/drive to Woking. Good for families and a lot of exercise classes etc available but you'd want to go to Woking, Weybridge or Cobham for dinners/drinks. It's not the most exciting place but pleasant enough (I want to buy there). Planning was approved for a small permanent traveller site but I don't know what happened with that, the local FB hysteria has certainly died down! (it doesn't bother me so haven't looked into it).

I think Walton and Hersham will be out of budget unless you want a flat. Have you considered Addlestone?

I doubt you'll get a house in Leatherhead, Epsom or Banstead for your budget. West Ewell or Chessington might be an option though but I'm not that familiar with those areas. A friend managed to buy a 3 bed in Leatherhead for £350k but it's an absolute state.

JoJoSM2 Fri 21-Aug-20 09:36:51

I’d say Banstead is a nice large village but I wouldn’t recommend it in your position as it’s only got slow, infrequent trains so pretty pants for commuting.

Epsom could be an option (3 different train lines, useful town centre and green spaces).

Ewell (East and West stations) has a nice villagey feel to it but not much of a high street (absolute essentials available, though). It’s zone 6 so commuting is cheaper.

My suggestion would be to look in outer London too as it’d be cheaper for commuting and easy to get to trendy London spots for nights out whilst also having the coutryside on the doorstep.

375k houses are just about doable in Sutton. It’s zone 5 with direct links to Victoria, London Bridge and St Pancras. The south side boarders Banstead Commons for accessible coutryside. The town centre has lots of shops and restaurants, gyms, yoga studios, cinema with sofas etc.

For a more villagey option, there’s Carshalton. It very pretty with lots of greenery and coutryside to the south (pastures with sheep and horses, lavender fields etc). There’s a selection of pubs and cafes, an excellent leisure centre. Between Carshalton and Carshalton Beeches stations, you’ll have plenty of trains (same as Sutton).

JoJoSM2 Fri 21-Aug-20 10:36:41

One other option. For being firmly out of London, the Redhill/Reigate area might be appealing. Redhill has excellent trains and affordable housing. The town centre is awful but Reigate High St is close by and naice. It’s on the edge of the Surrey Hills AONB so the coutryside is gorgeous.

kbeejs Fri 21-Aug-20 13:19:32

Thank you for this. We’ve visited Woking a couple of times, nothing spectacular about the place but the train line is the thing that really is desirable. We’ve seen a couple of lovely refurbished Victorian semis within budget, but the locations were in the Maybury, Walton Road/boundary road areas which I’ve been told to avoid!

West byfleet looks nice. Bathroom downstairs isn’t an issue for us. We don’t want a place that’s got too much to do, happy to “put our own stamp” on a property but won’t be able to afford extensive refurbishments at this point.

Walton is a lovely area however the train station is away from the main town, a station within walking distance would be key as I know all of the areas I mentioned have very bad traffic problems at peak times.

Leatherhead/Epsom I think could work? Have had a brief look on right move and appears to be 2 beds within budget, and plenty of residential areas within walking distance to stations.

We haven’t visited these areas yet so will plan to do so this weekend.

Thanks for your input.

OP’s posts: |
kbeejs Fri 21-Aug-20 13:23:57

Hi Jojo

Neither of us are particularly drawn to that complete London lifestyle. Having both grown up in leafy areas, we would like to retain some of this.

Thanks for suggestion on Sutton & Carshalton. Will add these to our list of places to visit.

I’ve noted a place called Ashtead on the map, just outside Leatherhead. Any knowledge of this place?

If there are a few pubs, restaurants and shops then we’ll be happy. Never been people for crazy nights out, or to be seen living the “London life” if that makes sense!!

Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
kbeejs Fri 21-Aug-20 13:31:26

Have considered both Reigate and Redhill but we think they’re a bit too far from my partners job (he drives there most days, Osterley area).

Thank you. 😊

OP’s posts: |


sunshinesupermum Fri 21-Aug-20 13:34:26

OP If he's in Osterley then the M25 at Redhill should work for him

Booboobaabaa Fri 21-Aug-20 14:20:14

Yes definitely avoid Walton Road. We viewed a few rentals there but chose Sheerwater over them. I don't think Boundary Road is that bad (but certainly not desirable) but if you're planning on staying long term and thinking of children then I think you're in a bit of a black spot for schools there. Blackspots for schools are a bit of of an issue in Woking.

West Byfleet is very nice, I really like living nearby. The village centre looks a bit rubbish at the moment as the shopping precinct is about to be knocked down and rebuilt. It's more affluent than Woking and Byfleet but less affluent than Weybridge. Your budget would be almost impossible for a house though but there's a few maisonettes near the station (Birchwood Road) which have gardens that would be in budget along with the Brantwood Estate .

Good luck!

JoJoSM2 Fri 21-Aug-20 14:33:41

I’ve only ever driven through Ashtead and it looks pretty with nice looking shops but it’s a bit of a thoroughfare.

LilyE1234 Fri 21-Aug-20 14:38:17

We’re looking at doing the same except currently based in London.

We’ve looked at Walton, Hersham etc but have found that the train line is still quite slow.

We are considering further afield near Basingstoke - the train from there is on the Woking line, so 45 mins and only 4 stops. We’ve been round the town centre and it’s alright, has good shops and is pretty standard but we’ve driven 5 mins outside of the town to beautiful countryside and pubs.

Our budget is similar to yours but we’re finding we can get a 3/4 bed house there as oppose to a flat the same size as the one we have in London in more ‘appealing’ areas in Surrey!

kbeejs Fri 21-Aug-20 14:45:47

Hi all

Thanks for the comments, really useful.

We definitely want children, not too soon though, a few years down the line 😊

Would you recommend registering with local agents in the areas we’d target?

OP’s posts: |
kbeejs Fri 21-Aug-20 14:47:52

Honestly the cost of living in the south east is absurd! But having conversations like this is encouraging and I’m confident we’ll be able to achieve our goal.

OP’s posts: |
snowspider Fri 21-Aug-20 15:56:28

This conservation area of old Feltham is nice with good community feel

snowspider Fri 21-Aug-20 16:02:00

Feltham has excellent schools eg cardinal road infant and primary and reach academy, but quite a choice with good/outstanding and close to twickenham and Richmond for shops. cardinal road is pretty and safe walk to the station and the park at the end of the road is managed by a community orchard group.

sunshinesupermum Fri 21-Aug-20 17:38:16

Feltham may be near too near the airport and plane noise for comfort. Incidentally the property snowspider posted is a maisonette not a house.

kbeejs Fri 21-Aug-20 22:16:49

We know feltham a bit due to some relatives living there. Where we’re currently based (Windsor area) is enough under Heathrow’s flight path so would give Feltham a miss on that basis. Thank you though. Xx

OP’s posts: |
househunting19 Sun 23-Aug-20 21:29:09

How about some of these options?

All are within 45min to Waterloo Station, 2-bed, and around your budget. The little numerical score you see next to each property shows (out of 10) how well the location matches your criteria: I set "green space" and "pubs, restaurants, shops" as high priority, and public transport and schools as "medium priority".

Some that stood out were:
- This beautiful home with garden near Fairlop Waters in Barkingside, Essex:
- Recently refurbed property in Hornchurch, near Romford:

You also mentioned children in one of your comments - you can adjust the 'schools' filter to make those a higher priority too to help discover suitable properties.

netstaller Mon 24-Aug-20 07:27:28

Look in south east London. Plumstead, abbey wood and Charlton. You should be able to get a 2 bed house there

netstaller Mon 24-Aug-20 07:27:54

Great transport links across London and will get the cross rail in abbey wood

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