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    • Bossypants
    • By Bossypants 7th Dec 17, 1:11 PM
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    Bossypants
    City-dwellers looking to move to the country - advice/experiences?
    • #1
    • 7th Dec 17, 1:11 PM
    City-dwellers looking to move to the country - advice/experiences? 7th Dec 17 at 1:11 PM
    Just been chatting to a colleague about their plans and mentioned this forum is often very insightful and helpful, so he asked me if I would post for him (yes, we're having a slow day).

    Basically, mid-30's couple who have always lived in cities or suburbs very close to cities would like to move to the countryside (or as close to 'countryside' as one can get around here, they'd like to be within 45 minutes of both Brighton and Horsham). Both work from home in a way that is likely to be quite sustainable given their careers, no kids, no plans for kids, and no known health issues. Both are homebodies, never 'go out' so won't miss that aspect, but have always been used to having a corner shop or Sainsbury's local within a few minutes' walk. Reason for move is primarily peace and quiet, relative distance from neighbours (they don't need to be miles away from human life, but a bit more 'space to breathe' than they currently have), and easy access to good walks from the front door. They don't want a huge property or anything, just a 3-4 bed detached house surrounded by a good garden.

    They're trying to do their research but are finding it a bit overwhelming, I think partly because of the lack of restrictions (no commute and no school concerns leave a pretty big area) and not knowing where to start. I suggested renting first, which is a possibility but apparently not a great one, due to practical and financial reasons.

    So basically, any thoughts or experiences (esp from people who have tried this) would be most welcome!
Page 1
    • G_M
    • By G_M 7th Dec 17, 1:19 PM
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    G_M
    • #2
    • 7th Dec 17, 1:19 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Dec 17, 1:19 PM
    Don't p*ss off the locals by complaining about the noise of the church bells. Or the wildlife. Or the horns of the local hunt.

    Never use the horn when the road is blocked by cattle being moved beween fields.

    Have a deep freezer.

    Keep salted sand in tha garage for winter. And a shovel.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 7th Dec 17, 1:22 PM
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    agrinnall
    • #3
    • 7th Dec 17, 1:22 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Dec 17, 1:22 PM
    Do they already live in the area (i.e. in Brighton or Horsham, or another conurbation in that general area), or will they be moving from further away? If they already have an idea what the area is like then renting may be an unnecessary extra expense (two moves at least) but if they have little knowledge then it may well be a better idea than buying a home that they later come to hate.

    Certainly the lack of nearby shops can become a bit of a drag, I lived on the edge of the Highlands where the nearest shop of any sort was 6 miles away, the nearest supermarket 17 miles, and the nearest big town 50 miles. You soon rack up a lot of mileage in your car, especially when there is no public transport.

    Their age and state of health is another thing to consider, one big reason for my move to a city was easy access to healthcare - if they became ill and were unable to drive then living in the country could prove to be a huge burden.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 7th Dec 17, 1:30 PM
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    Cakeguts
    • #4
    • 7th Dec 17, 1:30 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Dec 17, 1:30 PM
    Do not complain about the cockerels crowing at dawn in the summer. If in doubt rent a holiday cottage in the summer near a farm and if you get woken up in the morning don't move to the country.

    Do not complain about muck on the roads or the smell from the local farm. Do not complain about the smell from muck spreading. Farmers are running a business they have every right for their animals to make as much noise at they like and as much smell as they like.

    If background noise for you includes traffic noise and noises from trains but not farm animals and wildlife do not move to the country.
    • vicki2221
    • By vicki2221 7th Dec 17, 1:34 PM
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    vicki2221
    • #5
    • 7th Dec 17, 1:34 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Dec 17, 1:34 PM
    Perhaps they could look around the Kent/Sussex border, there are lots of lovely towns or villages that have shops but also forests and beautiful walks right on the doorstep. It's the best of both worlds. And all close enough to Horsham and Brighton.
    How about Lewes? Such a pretty town. I live in Tunbridge Wells and love it there. I grew up in Crowborough which is a bit closer to Brighton and a bit sleepier than Tunbridge Wells. We are now hoping to move to Leigh, which is an almost perfectly preserved Tudor village and more remote, lots of cows :-).
    Closer to Horsham, my friend has just moved to Outwood, it's lovely, like stepping back in time, but Redhill is just down the road.
    • JoJo1978
    • By JoJo1978 7th Dec 17, 1:41 PM
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    JoJo1978
    • #6
    • 7th Dec 17, 1:41 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Dec 17, 1:41 PM
    Living in London? There's a website and FB group called Life After London which is geared up to helping people doing a similar move - not necessarily to the country but many are.

    We're late 30s/early 40s and are relocating out of a city. We've ruled out the countryside itself to live in and have opted for a market town that is commutable of several large cities and also has walks into the countryside (which we already adore) on the doorstep, to keep our lifestyle options open if our dreams and circumstances change. We went on reconnaissance weekends trying out various towns, not necessarily house hunting to start with. We narrowed down the areas then began to look at properties.
    Hamster in the wheel (London) 1999-2017
    Mortgage free since 2015; Pension pot sorted 2017
    Second career (what TBD!) 2018
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 7th Dec 17, 2:02 PM
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    eddddy
    • #7
    • 7th Dec 17, 2:02 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Dec 17, 2:02 PM
    Are they used to using public transport and/or cycling (and/or car club etc)?

    They might find that they can only get around by car in the 'countryside' - so they might need to own one or two cars. Even the nearest station might be a car journey away - and the trains might be once an hour.

    And it might be a car journey to the nearest shop as well.

    AND... for working from home... check there is a good mobile signal, and good broadband speeds available.

    I know a few people relatively close to London who have to 'walk down the lane' or 'stand at the end of the garden' to get a mobile signal.
    • Bossypants
    • By Bossypants 7th Dec 17, 2:05 PM
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    Bossypants
    • #8
    • 7th Dec 17, 2:05 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Dec 17, 2:05 PM
    (BP writing on colleague (Dan)'s behalf here)

    These are great, many thanks all!

    The 'rural noises' point several people made is a really good one. I think we'd be more comfortable with that than the type of noise we're getting right now (constant traffic and people), but probably good to stay away from right next to farms (tractors are not exactly quiet!). We were thinking to avoid being right up against fields, also partly because there's always a chance they'll wind up being built on in the future.

    I think those who suggested larger villages/market towns might be onto something, also because, thinking about it, there are some amenities it would be useful to have (both our jobs get very hectic at certain times of the year, and when they coincide it can be very useful to get a house cleaning service and such in. Not essential, but if we could find what we're looking for and have that kind of option available, it would be a definite plus).

    Thanks again and feel free to keep 'em coming!
    • Lokolo
    • By Lokolo 7th Dec 17, 2:12 PM
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    Lokolo
    • #9
    • 7th Dec 17, 2:12 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Dec 17, 2:12 PM
    Some already noted but

    - Animal noises, foxes, jesus christ. But the opposite of that is I have woken up to find a muntjac wandering down my road, beautiful

    - Convenience. Just "pop to the shops" or "get a takeaway", could be a 30 minute trip

    - SNOW. My goodness. Don't expect to get anywhere. Obviously snow is depending on where in the country we are talking about, but it is a bit of an annoyance

    Honestly, I don't even live in the countrside and have these issues. I live in a market town in home counties, at the end of a cul-de-sac with woods behind me. I am far away enough from the town centre and main roads that I have peace and quiet. But I have neighbours around. I have shops a 15 minute walk (M&S foodhall, Tesco Express, KFC...).

    What sort of property do they currently have?

    Moving from a large city of maybe having a flat, do a 3-4 bed detached with a garden seems a bit OTT. No kids as well. I would try to reiterate renting somewhere first, even if it does cost them a bit more. It would be cheaper than purchasing, regretting and having to sell and move again.
    • Bossypants
    • By Bossypants 7th Dec 17, 2:18 PM
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    Bossypants
    Just answering a few of the specific questions:

    - They do currently drive, although a decent bus route would be a plus.

    - Currently have a 3-bed house with a small garden in Hove. Bearing in mind that they both work from home and spend a large amount of leisure time there 'pottering around', I think the type of property they're looking for would be a good fit size-wise (I'm a single person working partly from home in a 2-bed house with courtyard garden, and while it's not too small, it's definitely not too big either).

    IT connections is a good one, very important, will point that one out especially!

    Thanks again, really appreciate the replies!
    • borkid
    • By borkid 7th Dec 17, 2:25 PM
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    borkid
    (BP writing on colleague (Dan)'s behalf here)

    These are great, many thanks all!

    The 'rural noises' point several people made is a really good one. I think we'd be more comfortable with that than the type of noise we're getting right now (constant traffic and people), but probably good to stay away from right next to farms (tractors are not exactly quiet!). We were thinking to avoid being right up against fields, also partly because there's always a chance they'll wind up being built on in the future.

    I think those who suggested larger villages/market towns might be onto something, also because, thinking about it, there are some amenities it would be useful to have (both our jobs get very hectic at certain times of the year, and when they coincide it can be very useful to get a house cleaning service and such in. Not essential, but if we could find what we're looking for and have that kind of option available, it would be a definite plus).

    Thanks again and feel free to keep 'em coming!
    Originally posted by Bossypants
    Lots of people in the country have hens and cockerals in their gardens.Tractors and large sugar beet lorries drive through villages so you'd still get that noise. If you want to avoid living next to a field then you will need to be in the centre of a large village.

    I live in a small village about 800 pop. We have a village shop + post office so can get cash out most of the time between 6 am and 8 pm when the shop is open. Two pubs one which does takeaway, coffee shop, doctors surgery, school ( primary). We also have ekectricians, carpenters, odd job man, tree surgeon, hairdresser, 2 beauticians, at least 2 cleaners, a photographer and a carpet fitter all working from home so you wouldn't know they were there unless you'd moved in already.

    I would suggest if you see a village you like then pop into the pub if it still has one and see if the locals are friendly. They'll also be able to tell you of any problems etc.
    • borkid
    • By borkid 7th Dec 17, 2:28 PM
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    borkid
    Just answering a few of the specific questions:

    - They do currently drive, although a decent bus route would be a plus.

    - Currently have a 3-bed house with a small garden in Hove. Bearing in mind that they both work from home and spend a large amount of leisure time there 'pottering around', I think the type of property they're looking for would be a good fit size-wise (I'm a single person working partly from home in a 2-bed house with courtyard garden, and while it's not too small, it's definitely not too big either).

    IT connections is a good one, very important, will point that one out especially!

    Thanks again, really appreciate the replies!
    Originally posted by Bossypants
    A miracle I would say.
    • Bossypants
    • By Bossypants 7th Dec 17, 2:34 PM
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    Bossypants
    A miracle I would say.
    Originally posted by borkid
    Well, yes and no. Around here the network is pretty decent, there's a bus that runs between Brighton and Horsham every half hour Monday to Friday, ducking through a number of villages on the way.

    Bear in mind that our 'countryside' down here is pretty gentrified at this point.
    • JoJo1978
    • By JoJo1978 7th Dec 17, 2:40 PM
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    JoJo1978
    Totally agree on the size, we only looked at 4 bed min - we both WFH and want hobby and guest rooms.

    Consider style of property too, does it matter? We found a lot of smart detached 4+ beds on newer build estates. But they lacked character and houses were on top of each other. We're currently overlooked from all angles so after seeing loads of newer builds we decided against them.

    So we've ended up much closer into the town but on a Victorian Street in a conservation area. Best part is house is only 10 years old, was built on the site of the coach house of the big house on the corner. Gets mistaken for period, but has all mod cons, including superfast BB and a cat5 network system (previous owners WFH too.)

    Prepare for odd layouts and configurations in true countryside cottages that have been knocked through or extended to be marketed as larger houses.
    Hamster in the wheel (London) 1999-2017
    Mortgage free since 2015; Pension pot sorted 2017
    Second career (what TBD!) 2018
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 7th Dec 17, 2:59 PM
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    getmore4less
    Budget.

    Depending where, if moving expensive to cheap there can be a tendency to go on the highside because stuff looks cheap.

    Seems like they should focus on a few specific things like at least 2 study/work spaces, even consider a garden office to make a very clear there is a work life balance.
    etc.


    presumably they have already done a drivetime map to narrow their search.

    They'd like to be within 45 minutes of both Brighton and Horsham)
    google maps has them 42 mins apart so the intersect area will not be that big.

    there are tools out there to do it but just dragging on google maps will get a good idea.

    I used a tool
    https://app.traveltimeplatform.com/#

    with a few bit that got further you are in this area.

    Brighton-Uckfield to the east then up to Crawly

    Brighton along the coast to Littlehampton

    joining up on the west Pulburough and Billingshurst are outside the range


    10mile from Blackstone will capture over 1/2 the area on rightmove,
    beds and price should narrow the availability as a start.
    Last edited by getmore4less; 07-12-2017 at 3:06 PM.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 7th Dec 17, 3:26 PM
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    getmore4less
    some of the bigger more established towns will have houses on the outskirts that are on big plots not "country" but maybe isolated enough.

    At a price.
    how much do they have £1/2m won't find much when your basic 4bed estate houses are at that level.
    • ProDave
    • By ProDave 7th Dec 17, 3:57 PM
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    ProDave
    If "peace and quiet" is one of the main objectives, then once they fond a house, go and visit it (just sit outside in your car) at 8AM and 5PM. You might find that quiet country road you saw at a weekend is a busy rat run in the rush hour.

    I know one couple who lived in a cul de sac in town and never even thought about passing traffic when moving to the country, then got one hell of a shock at 8AM the first Monday they were there.
    • Soundgirlrocks
    • By Soundgirlrocks 7th Dec 17, 4:31 PM
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    Soundgirlrocks
    My parents made the move from London to very rural Lincolnshire 15 years ago.

    Check out local businesses, and wind direction - where my parents live there is a meat rendering factory about 20miles away, houses in the next village over (about 6 miles closer to the factory) have a bit of an issue with the smell!

    In a village get involved with the community and try and get on with everyone. Carry cash (you will be surprised how many places still don't take cards!) Have a plan for emergencies, power cuts, being snowed in etc. Have a well stocked larder if you can't get out for a bit.

    Accept you will always be an outsider & the countryside can be noisy too.
    • DaftyDuck
    • By DaftyDuck 7th Dec 17, 5:44 PM
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    DaftyDuck
    I could have sworn I posted shortly after the OP.... Must have got lost in the sticks.

    Rent before committing to buying. It's not exactly rural round there, and nothing is far from anything, but it may be more of a change than they are expecting. Things are slower in the countryside.

    Remember, countryside changes more than city throughout a year. Green and pleasant lanes and verges in summer turn into the Somme by now, with angry tractor drivers mincing hedges and throwing sharp debris at tyres; the bucolic birdsong-harmonied wooded glade becomes battle ground for cheap two-stroke chainsaw wars and, as for snow and ice.... in some areas half an inch causes mass panic as schools, bin collection, buses, post just take a three-week holiday safety break....

    Broadband. Check carefully. Some of the countryside still relies on tin cans and string. The Openreach predictor for broadband improvements was written by J K Rowling, it's that fictitious! Some areas have really excellent broadband.... because almost nobody is connected to that pole/cabinet. Then, four new houses pop up, then a new estate, contention ratios become... Contentious!

    Power outages. Probably not too bad down there, but isolated places can see power drop for a day on a regular basis.

    Bus services come and go. GP surgery and dentist can go from good to failing in a flash. They are always closed anyway, so no matter. The village shop, the pub... now, they MATTER! Check them out. Particularly the pub. Oh, bossyp, point out how valuable a second opinion would be. Several visits.

    Some people (one around here in particular ) seem destined to upset the locals, cos they are Doing It Wrong... No, they do it their way... Fit in, enjoy. I don't agree you'll always be an outsider, especially if you relax and join in.

    Oh, remember that, down there, development can happen like lightning. That field behind may be earmarked for development for thirty houses. Next month, there'll be seven hundred, two supermarkets and a bypass!

    When narrowed down, find the village magazine, the village notice board, local pcso and crime maps, regular postie and Millie (as if) and grill for info.what goes on, what shouldn't go on, hat might ghoon three years hence.

    Oh, and as others have said, don't complain about the cockerels... or donkeys, goats, sheep, whatever.....Better than that, keep some of the above. No faster way into the local community than keeping livestock. There's not an old boy about who can't help but tell you how to do it better and, equally, can't wait to help.
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 7th Dec 17, 7:21 PM
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    AnotherJoe
    Friends of mine did this and love it.

    1) they have really thrown themselves into village life - local pub teams, BBQ's with neighbors, any social activity going from barn dances to beating for shoots to volunteering in the village shop.
    2) Their village is only just about the size that allows it to maintain a pub and a shop (and the latter is volunteer run). Any smaller and both would be gone, so dont go for too small.
    3) Their broadband is dire, possibly its being upgraded soon.
    4) They do have some livestock though personally i think that ties them down too much, but whatever.

    So I'd say the main lessons from their successful transition are, not too small, get stuck in to local life even if you wouldn't normally in a larger town.
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