Moving Out of London - Questions to Ask About Whether you Should Move and About When you Should Move
Should we move out of London?
- Is the thought of moving engulfing every waking hour?
Some times when it's all you can think about, and dream about, you forget to consider the reality of the move. Whilst we absolutely love supporting people as they move, we also want you to consider real life and the fact that the move doesn't solve all ills. You need to get practical from the start - try to remove the rose-tinting just for the planning stage and think logistics and practicality for now. Consider life now, and what it looks like out of London - whilst I don't want to put you off I do want you to get honest with yourselves. Asking yourselves what you're trying to achieve might help focus the mind from the roses growing up the garden fence (or whatever it is you're dreaming about)
- Have all your friends left?
At times it can feel like you're the last family standing and as such, it can drive you to question your whole London life. Whilst the move may be right for your family, you need to try not to be overly influenced by friends. We all love our friendship groups and it can be unnerving when the NCT group start to disperse, but moving at the right time for you is important, rather than just following the crowd. The same goes for choosing the area - yes you listen to what the fresh-faced new life after Londoners tell you, but do your own due diligence before following them blindly down the A3.
- Have you run out of space in your house?
We all know that feeling, when space is at a premium, but before you run out of town give yourself a firm talking to. Are you really out of space or have you got too much stuff in the house? Do you remember that book the Squash and the Squeeze? Remembering that helps me to focus on whether I really need more space or I just need to ship out some children - sorry I mean some clutter. Moving out of London is a fantastic option but if you're wavering about it, you might find reassessing your space, or to coin an American term, remodelling your home might give you what you need without the upheaval. This is particularly relevant when the timing isn't right for you just now and you need to 'buy yourself' some space for the next year or two before you're quite ready to go. Don't forget storage is an option - but that said remember they have special deals for 3 months and then the price creeps up so keep an eye on what you are storing and avoid just putting everything in without decluttering a little.
- Do you need some mental space?
We don't underestimate that feeling when you just want to get out of London. That saying "when you're tired of London you're tired of life' doesn't quite ring true for me because there are times when you just want a sense of mental space, and you want to escape for the hills - we totally get that. But before you put your house on the market and run off into oblivion, there are a few things you need to ask yourself. Firstly is that feeling of needing to escape going to follow you? Could you solve it with some self-care and away time (easier said than done we appreciate but a whole heap cheaper than moving out of London). Do you think this is a temporary feeling? If it could be, you'll want to be careful the move doesn't leave you feeling happy for a short time and then lonely once you're feeling back to your own self.
When to move out of London?
- Have you got a secure job?
If you were choosing the perfect time you'd either be in a secure job (for the mortgage), in a secure place of work (so you know where you're commuting to) with a degree of seniority (thereby offering some flexibility in hours if the train is late), with a potential of working from home a few days a week (to take off the pressure of the new commute). It doesn't work out quite like that, but if you're on track for partnership the hours get long and the stress levels go up a notch, so you might prefer to wait until you get the partnership before adding a new challenge into your daily life.
- Is now the moment to embrace a New Career?
If you're planning on changing careers, it might be the moment to find yourself a new job away from the Capital. However, caution is required if you're considering a mortgage. Mortgages these days aren't handed out to everyone and proving your financial history and future is a critical part. You may find it easier to keep the London job whilst securing the mortgage and look for the change of career once you're in place (even if that does mean a painful commute in the process). If you run your own business or are looking to start one, moving out can give you the kick you need. Be warned, however, that whilst you're growing your network out of London, you might find yourself a little lonely if you're working from home, and if your business relies on investment and networking you might want to be careful that you don't leave too soon, thereby.
- Do you have children?
For most people it's impossible to tie it all in together, but if you wanted to pre-plan the perfect move you'd be on the way prior to January of the year before your child starts primary school - that way by January (when the applications go in), you're well settled in a place ready to put in your application. We know that for most people it doesn't work out so smoothly, so look at other key obvious times to move such as between KS1 and KS2. There is a natural break between year 2 and 3 and in some areas this is a school change between Infant and Junior Schools. In the private sector some Prep Schools start in Year 3 or Year 4 (again offering a more obvious break). The next obvious school change is the start of Secondary School which occurs at the end of Year 6 or in the private system at the year of Year 8 (that's when they take common entrance). In year 6 the children do tests in some areas for the secondary schools so moving in Year 6 is more difficult.
For many people you can get it right for one child but if you have siblings you begin to get into difficulties. Children are resilient but in planning your move you can make it as a pain-free as possible.
- Do house prices make it a sensible time to go?
We can't predict what will happen and there never seems to feel like the perfect time to go as far as house prices are concerned. If your London property value is going up and up it can feel hard to step out, and if it's hit the bottom you won't be encouraged to leave. That said it's worth keeping your eye on the end game and remembering any loses you 'feel' you attract may be negotiated off the purchase on the next property so you could end up spending less on the out of London property. It always takes vendors a little longer to catch up with values and people will continue to 'hold out' for a magic figure but if you're sure it's the right time to go, try and keep your eyes of the prize of moving rather than focusing on the sale price you achieve.
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