Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Finding a strategy

As I mentioned yesterday we have finally put the house on the market (well in the next few days at least). The plan is to move to Shropshire.

The reasons for this are:- my brother lives there; it's still relatively rural; you can get A LOT for your money compared with the South East and it's quite centrally placed, so closer to many of the friends and family we see less frequently. Of course, we will be further from the friends we have here, but visiting will always be welcomed!

You might think that for a move so long in the planning we might be more prepared, but actually neither of us really know the county of Shropshire, so we are struggling to work out the best way to narrow our search. We need to take into account secondary schools (I know nothing about any of them at present) and of course I have a clear idea of what type of house I'd like, which could be a help or a hindrance. Mr D has made some additional requests in terms of proximity to civilisation. We think we have narrowed our search area to around Oswestry, but we're not totally set on that. So many unknowns.... So many decisions......!

Did any of you have a strategic approach to moving to a new area, particularly when children are still involved? I'm thinking I perhaps need to start with the school and it's catchment area? Any advice and tips would be much welcomed!
I feel we need to narrow down schools and houses to look at when we go up there for the first visit or we will flounder with too much choice! The Internet is great for info, but you can't really get a feel for the place.


  1. Our strategy was right a list of what we were looking for property wise and what we were prepared to compromise on, set a price bracket, we had always planned to move to Dorset but rising property prices ruled it out when the time came, we then started looking at Wales, we wanted to be close to the sea but rural we had several visits to Wales, was ruled out because its too wet you can research weather conditions for areas, we set off to and rued out Pembrokshire too expensive and it was too far for Martin to travel home each week we loved Carmarthenshire it ticked all the boxes, then it was just find a property to suit our needs we looked at loads they re never as described we knew this was the one the first time we drove down the drive in pouring rain and wind.

  2. My parents moved to Devon when I'd just started in the old 4th year at my existing school. It was the worst time possible as I had to re- choose my options and the syllabuses were different. Nevertheless I got on with it but didn't like it. My parents couldn't settle in the rural village they'd chosen so only stayed for a year and we moved back home again. The only research they did prior to moving was to have a 2 week holiday in Devon for the purpose of house hunting. A case of bad choice of village I think. However unlike your family we knew nobody in Devon at all. Hopefully your friends/brother might have useful info regarding the areas you prefer.I hope you find somewhere that you all like.

  3. We were staying in Derbyshire, so really the only thing that we looked for initially was price ceiling and land. Going for the "best" schools will always impact on the price of course (well it does around here)which can limit your options too.
    When we finally found the right place we timed the move for the summer holidays when our youngest was about to move to secondary school anyway and the elder was still choosing options.
    When we moved we felt that the house wasn't quite as remote as we wanted, but are now SO glad it isn't. Teenage girls( who would never choose "remote" as desirable, serious illnesses and the desirability of custom for our produce have made us grateful for the setting close to the main road,on a bus route and a mile from the train station.
    The very best of luck with your search

  4. As you may know we only moved to our now forever home just six months ago. We took the approach the other way round. We really didn't care where we moved to as long as the house was what we wanted, ticked at least the necessary boxes and maybe a few more. (I wrote a post on my blog explaining our process so won't bore you with it all just now.) As far as we were concerned we knew when we saw what was right for us we would know instantly, as Dawn said, and indeed we did plus luckily for us it was in lovely rural mid-Wales. We got the boys involved once we found the house but we knew the things which would be important to them, too, when choosing. Good luck with your venture.xx

  5. We always timed our moves for the summer months. We lived in a mobile home so finding a mobile home park with room was a major chore and we were stuck with what ever place was open. When we moved to the house we picked a place within the school district the boys were attending just so they would not have to move schools. So really I am not much help to you.

    Hope you find a new place that is just perfect for your family.

    God bless.

  6. Our list was short, (bearing in mind we have no children)
    Semi rural
    On the top of a hill (we had been flooded twice before, never again)
    off road parking and a garage
    The main living room I really wanted to face south
    Bathroom upstairs
    no more than 3 miles from a town or shops.

    The last 2 we failed on, until we build upstairs, we dont have a bathroom up there and we are over 6 miles from town. But have a bus once a day if I really needed it.

    Above all with all of our moves, the location is paramount. You can change anything about a house that you do not like, (over time). But you can not change its location.

    On schools, I was talking to my Niece about this and she is a teacher. Ofsted reports go up and down very quickly. If the local school is at present a church school, check to see if it is becoming an academy. My Nieces friend who trained with her was at a lovely school, they were taken over by an academy, its a primary school, 6 of the teachers left and 3 teaching assistants. All because the school was no longer about teaching and more about being run as a business. Personally I would go with one that had been an academy for some time.

    Her advise to my best friend, who is relocating from London, to the south west, was to visit as many open days as you can for the schools. they are generally held at this time of year for the september intake. You will get a feel for the school from that.

    When looking at houses, knock on lots of the neighbours doors, they will be dying to know who is wanting to buy the house. They will tell you what schools they think are the best and also if there were any problems with the house you like. IE we saw one house, the person 3 doors down told us that the front of the house had, had, subsidance in the 1980s. they only have to tell you with in the last I think its 20 years on the solicitors paperwork. we thanked them and gave the house a wide berth.

    As you know I could go on about moving for hours. I am a house bore. Sorry

  7. I'm not much help unfortunately, we chose by price bracket, type of land and it had to be within a six hour drive of LH's day job which we knew he would be stuck at for a couple of years.

    The main thing was we knew we needed at least 5 acres, one grassed field and access to woodland, the house didn't matter a bit. Our main compromise was running water on the land, but here in North Wales we can harvest rain water instead so we've solved that one.

    We found our home through 'Greenshifters', a brilliant low cost website if you are after rural living.

    Happy house hunting.

  8. Oh good luck. Just buy a house that you fall immediately in love with!!!! x

  9. We have moved to different areas 2 times with school age children and then again as just a couple. Easier as a couple. : ) I started researching schools first and chose to look only at places that were within the school(we had 2 choices) boundaries. From there we made a list of needs and wants keeping in mind that if you own a house you can possibly change the house itself but not its location.
    The last move with kids we rented for a year to get a real feel for our new area before we looked for a house to buy. It made a huge difference in where we ended up buying and I feel that it was completely worth the expense and trouble of moving twice. We recently moved within the same general area as a couple but if we were going to a new area I would definitely rent again before making a choice. Having the schools, shops, parks, transportation that we like/use made life so much easier on a daily basis.
    Good luck. : )

  10. I grow up in Shropshire in a little town called Tenbury Wells well actually one side of the bridge is Shropshire and the other side is Worcestshire. Its a beautiful area and place to raise young children. The house are so gorgeous and mostly black and white tudor buildings or old farmers brick cottages. For me I would look at the areas and what it has to offer in terms of schools and clubs, pubs and shops etc and also what is there for social time to. Depending on what you want of course. Good luck in your search, dee x

  11. Have you thought of renting for a short time in the area you want to be in? That way, you could get a better feel for the place and its surrounding area's and not be spending every weekend trying to house hunt and pack up for a move. Just a thought.