Recent research discovered that about 95,500 people exchanged city living for the countryside during 2019, and a newly published guide, ‘The Escape to the Country Handbook’, offers practical advice to maximise enjoyment from the move.
It is not just about price, although properties are usually bigger and cheaper, it is about reducing day to day pressures; during the current lockdown, we are all rediscovering the delights of birdsong, rather than heavy traffic, in the early morning. We are also discovering the importance of communities and how they support each other.
According to the recently published annual ‘Best Places to Live’ compiled by the Sunday Times with help from its readers, community spirit means people pulling together, giving them a sense of belonging, building friendships and living life to the full. Nature and local produce, with good schools and public transport, are added benefits, as well as access to open spaces, cultural and sporting facilities, festivals and fun. Inevitably, fast broadband is essential.
Relocating to an unfamiliar area, whether that be for work or retirement, whatever your age, it can be challenging to separate from friends and family, but it can also be exciting and refreshing. In smaller towns and villages, you are likely to be greeted with a smile when venturing out and passing neighbours, instead of being ignored by people fixed on their phones and avoiding eye contact!
It may be easier for families to integrate, making new contacts through children’s activities, whilst couples and singles tend to develop their interests by joining clubs, finding new hobbies and volunteering. Being proactive in building relationships keeps everyone safe, sharing information on local crime, reliable tradesmen, babysitters and dog walkers.
Consequently, it’s essential to have a clear idea of what you want from your chosen location by researching the area, as well as finding out about suitable properties; at present, rather than visiting to explore, check out local authority and tourism websites. Estate agents and developers are also a good source of local information, currently sharing virtual tours of potential homes; before making decisions, remember that flexibility, on price as well as style of home and garden size, is the key to success – not all your boxes will be ticked.
The current lockdown should not prevent you from negotiating a purchase albeit do pay heed to the current government guidelines. To secure the best price, having a mortgage agreed in principle can be of great use to verify your ability to finance the purchase. If you are negotiating a sale, exchange contracts where safe and legally advised to do so, with completion to suit all parties as soon as the lockdown moderates in the coming weeks.
Our Mortgage Centres are available to advise on the most appropriate mortgage to suit your personal finances, ensuring you are ready for an exciting future in your new home. Just give us a call.