Buying our first home in Kent - struggling with areas

(16 Posts)
enicoles Thu 25-Nov-21 23:48:42

Hi! My boyfriend and I (both 26) are buying our first home next year. We had been going back and forth between Kent and Essex but we’ve finally decided on Kent. We currently live in London quite near to City Airport and want to be able to drive/get transport to London quite easily. We don’t have a huge budget, we don’t want to spend any more than 375k. We’ve checked out Rochester recently and potentially will look at Maidstone too. Maybe even Tonbridge. Based on what I’ve read here I get the impression that these areas are not so nice. It’s so overwhelming to know what areas are good or not when I don’t know anyone that lives there to tell me! We don’t have kids yet but plan to in the not so distant future so I guess schools are somewhat important but definitely not my priority. This is won’t be our forever home but obviously we don’t want to choose the wrong area and regret it. I would really appreciate opinions of these areas and even suggestions of nice surrounding areas/villages. Thank you smile

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Twasacceptableinthe80s Fri 26-Nov-21 07:14:16

Hi - all three are okay towns - not places I would actively seek out to live, but not depressing shitholes either 😂 . Kent is huge though so perhaps if you give some examples of your lifestyle and what you are hoping to get for your money we might be able to come up so better options 😁. Mumsnet loves a challenge! For instance, how often will you want to get to London and which part (St Pancras is quickest route, but more expensive, Charing Cross tends to be cheaper but slower). What are you after socially? And how far do you expect your money to go? Would a garden flat be okay, or do you want a detached house? Kent is far more beautiful than Essex IMHO so it’s a great choice 😊😊

enicoles Fri 26-Nov-21 07:35:00

Thanks for your reply!

Well that’s a good ish start then 😂 so in terms of commuting to London, my job is mainly remote so I may only need to commute 1-3 times per week, some weeks not at all. In fact some of my work is based in Kent! My boyfriend works in construction, currently near where we live so he would need to commute in daily unless he gets a job somewhere closer when we move. Traffic is definitely more of a concern for him. Socially it would be great to be near some nice bars and restaurants, nice coffee shops etc. Property wise we are after a 3 bed house and definitely with a garden. This will more than likely have to be a semi detached unless we somehow get lucky! Yes I’m glad we’ve decided on Kent, just now to decide exactly where 😅

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Ifailed Fri 26-Nov-21 07:47:48

You'd struggle to get a 3 bed house with garden in Tonbridge for £375k ( i can see 3 on Rightmove and all have their problems), probably easier in Maidstone/ Medway towns.

Twasacceptableinthe80s Fri 26-Nov-21 08:17:58

How about Ashford? Again, not really a destination town as such, BUT similat to the three you've mentioned which will actually be quite hard to get to London for your other half’s job from . Ashford has better links to London and actually has a huge amount of construction going on so if he wanted to work closer to home it would be relatively easy for him to change roles I would imagine. Plus you are close to lots of beauty spots for days out (Canterbury, Whitstable, Folkestone, etc) and has a couple of lovely bars in and gorgeous villages with gastro pubs. Just a thought 😁

ILookAtTheFloor Fri 26-Nov-21 08:20:55

Essex is much nicer than Kent, in my view.

Interested to know why you chose Kent over Essex.

Twasacceptableinthe80s Fri 26-Nov-21 08:22:46

Here’s a very randomly selected property in your budget for Ashford (sure there are hundreds of are nicer ones out there - this was first I clicked on out of about 500!) . I know this part of town and it’s lovely and pretty close to station when you need it 😁. www.rightmove.co.uk/properties/112544801#/?channel=RES_BUY

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canyoutoleratethis Fri 26-Nov-21 08:31:27

I was born and raised in the Medway towns in the 80/90s and couldn’t wait to get out as it was a shit hole. I visited friends back in Rochester recently and was really impressed at how much the high street had changed - full of nice bars and coffee shops. I never thought gentrification would come to the Medway towns, but it has. Still wouldn’t move back myself as life would be very car focused and I love London too much, but I would recommend it. The villages north of Strood (Hoo, Higham, Cliffe, Cliffe Woods) are pretty and have local primary schools, with just a short journey into Rochester

analbumcover Fri 26-Nov-21 09:30:47

I'd suggest Folkestone or Ashford . Easy enough to get in to London but close to lovely villages, the beach and fabulous restaurants, pubs and bars
Close to the tunnel too and you can get a ferry to France for a spot of lunch
lots of building work going on too
win win!

enicoles Fri 26-Nov-21 11:02:41

Ah ok, well it’s good that it’s come up in the world since you’ve lived there! We actually drove out to Cliffe woods last weekend and we liked the area so we’re definitely keeping it in mind!

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enicoles Fri 26-Nov-21 11:04:32

Oops, I meant to reply to your comment but replied to the wrong one 😅

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enicoles Fri 26-Nov-21 11:07:37

Thank you everyone for your help! I’m constantly on zoopla and Rightmove to see what’s about! 😊

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RunAwayNow Fri 26-Nov-21 19:12:01

Definitely lots of gentrification happening in Rochester. There are some lovely areas and the high street is fab. Maidstone also has nice bits. I'd avoid Chatham, Strood, Gillingham.

IncessantNameChanger Fri 26-Nov-21 19:31:09

Maidstone and Rochester are fine. Rochester is more area dependent. But generally avoid Medway unless you really know the area first hand. There are ok places in Medway. But you would really need someone who knows it to guide you. Eg Strood is just bordering Rochester and it's not desirable at all.

StormyTeacups Fri 26-Nov-21 21:55:52

I grew up in Whitstable and went to school in Canterbury, both of which are lovely. And the surrounds obviously.

aguhiyori Sat 27-Nov-21 19:46:16

Have you looked at Canterbury? The high speed trains take under an hour into St Pancras. They're expensive but if you're only going to London a couple of times a week the budget might work out. The city itself should tick most of your boxes in terms of lifestyle etc. and property prices there are surprisingly affordable considering that it's a pretty, medieval university town... Driving into London could be a bit longer than some of the other locations mentioned though - I've never driven it myself so don't really know.

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