Hello to Hertford

It's so interesting when people move to different places and Carla shares an insightful personal article on the journey from Bow to Hertfordshire with some great advice for anyone looking to do the same. Moving from Bow in east London to Hertford, Hertfordshire. Having lived happily with our first child in our 2 bedroom flat in east London until he was 3, the usual considerations started to surface: Wouldn’t it be lovely to have our own garden that wasn’t communal, full of dog mess and regularly used by all sorts of people to sit and drink (and worse)? Just one extra bedroom would be great and a bit more space for baby number two… but house prices in our neighbourhood and indeed the rest of London meant we couldn’t afford to buy anywhere bigger there The busy, hectic and overcrowded area that we lived in had started to get me down and we weren’t making full use of all that London has to offer. I rarely visited the centre any more The pollution levels were evident to me every day as well as being constantly reported in the press - since becoming pregnant I had felt uneasy about this although luckily we had no evidence that we were suffering from it ourselves The nearest primary school to us which was just around the corner was six form entry - something I hadn’t experienced until secondary school and that simply felt too large and impersonal to be sending our four year old to Why Hertford? Both my partner and I grew up in the Home Counties (Herts and Bucks) but...

The Calling of the Country

  If you haven’t come across Cupsmith yet you should meet them!  Not only do they serve great coffee, tea and the most delicious hot chocolate, but they are lovely people who made the move out of London. Luckily for us they have shared their experiences (and even better pop by Instagram and you can be in with a chance to win a gift from them.) Real Story We’d been living in London for as long as we could remember, and we had our first baby, a boy. We both carried on working, we had a nanny, we spent most Saturdays at London farmers markets where there wasn’t a farmer in sight.  One day  I looked at my little boy scooting up Putney high street, dodging pedestrians, me on red alert for potential dangers which seemed to surround us, and I had suddenly had enough. We came to the conclusion we didn’t actually want our little boy to grow up in London, we wanted him to run in fields and be able to scoot freely and to his heart’s content. We were also done with farmers’ markets that sold sushi. Instead we wanted farmers’ markets with grubby potatoes. Choosing an area Initially we looked at the Farnham area because one of our oldest friends lived there and she said her neighbours were selling their house. It seemed a good solution particularly once we’d done the all-important ‘Commute Calculation’ that confirmed Farnham was within 45 minutes of London and the station was a 4 minute scooter journey ( by avoiding taking a car we’d be saving £1500 a year on...

Real Story of Leaving London—Where is the Right Place?

It's all too easy to get hung up on the area you think you want to move to but as Chrissie reminds us not to close our eyes to opportunities in different counties...whilst also keeping in mind some of the critical factors. Just over four years ago, we decided to put our flat in Clapham North on the market in preparation for a move out of London. Originally we had looked at Salisbury as an area, but it didn’t quite ‘fit us’. We then looked at Dorset but couldn’t find the type of house we wanted, so we border hopped into Somerset. It’s a county I know very well, and we both liked it so house hunting began in earnest. Where to go As my husband and I are both freelancers it didn’t matter where we lived, but there were still things that were very important to us. We needed to be fairly close to either the A303 or the M5 so that we could get back to London for work. We also needed to be reasonably close to a mainline train station and amenities like shops, a post office, a good doctors and veterinary practice. Internet Connections The other thing that was top of the list for us was connectivity. Because we work from home, we needed to find somewhere that had good broadband, preferably super fast. Sadly the West Country is still lacking in superfast broadband and we had to discount a few areas of Somerset because the broadband was so poor or super fast wasn’t expected to be rolled out for a while (in some cases years). We...
How To Sell Your House in 2018

How To Sell Your House in 2018

  How to sell in a quiet market Choose your agent carefully - you want one who is proactive and really knows the market.  Don’t negotiate your fee so hard that it’s hardly worth them bothering selling.  Find an agent who is imaginative in their sales patter - make sure your property portal entry stands out from the crowd with a good headline and some more emotional patter instead of standard patter - “Arranged over three floors, the ground floor comprises reception room with bay window and a feature fireplace, cloakroom, utility room and a newly refurbished open plan kitchen living room which leads to a rear garden via bi-folding doors.” - This describes almost every house on our road.  Imagine you’re describing the house for a holiday let - somehow we use our emotions better and talk about warmth and coziness.  Also see your Rightmove Property Performance Report, to check when it’s been on the market.  Seeing how it is faring in terms of clicks on your property will help you to see if you need to present the property differently. (national average is around 5%).  Make sure the agent has a website that is mobile friendly as so many would be buyers are browsing on mobile telephones.    Present your house beautifully.  You don’t need to empty it and it shouldn’t look like a show home,  Sam Edington of Edingtons Property Search says “if selling a vacant property, stage it as it makes all the difference”. Homely is definitely better,  but it should be very clean and tidy and it should allow people to imagine putting their own...

Fluttering Hearts–When You Just Know It’s Right

Wow! It was two years ago that we made the decision that the time had come to escape the madness of London and move to a life less hectic, with more space and a better lifestyle.  It only took roughly 3 months from start to finish but in that time the key question needed answering – where to? It was a chicken and an egg situation (only there were several eggs in the equation). Three components were competing for top priority – the house, the school and the husband’s commute.  All equally important and needing serious consideration.     Highlighter Pens and Post It Notes This seemingly impossible conundrum however, all fell into place over time through using large scale maps, colourful post-it notes and highlighters (so much fun in WHsmiths)  to colour code the various key parts of our move, i.e.trains stations with regularity and length of travel, motorways, schools to be looked at etc.  We narrowed the area down by looking at feasible commute distances and potential schools for our 2 boys, then ages 3 and 5.  The boys and I spent most of June and July on the M3 – cruise controlling on the 50 mph speed limit.   We must have viewed 50 plus houses, each of which had their facilities tested by one or both of my boys – got a bit embarrassing – but a great way to find out about dodgy pipes.     Finding the dream home It is true that you don’t know what you are looking for until you find it. Prior to stumbling across the house we are in now,...