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Things to consider before moving to the countryside


During the pandemic, working from home has become the norm.

Ever since the first lockdown in March 2020, searches for properties in the countryside have rocketed. According to a recent survey by Rightmove, 30 percent of buyers and 19 percent of first-time buyers now say they’d like to move to a rural area. In the same survey, 40 percent said the appeal of living in a village had increased since the pandemic began.

Of course, the definition of ‘countryside’ is broad: going from uninhabited cottages in Snowdonia to prosperous suburbs on the edge of Manchester. It’s about your priorities.

If you’re going to commute into the office again – even for a couple of days a week – transport will be a priority. That’s why places like Aughton on the outskirts of Liverpool, Lichfield near Birmingham or Altrincham, south of Manchester, are popular: they combine the best of city and rural life. If you still want or need to be close to the capital, property hotspots in Surrey are appealing because they’re within easy driving distance of London and have lots of train lines, while the Kent coast is drawing people further out thanks to its high speed railway to St Pancras. Then there’s your children’s education: you’ll pay a premium to live in a place with high-ranking schools.

It’s for these reasons that well-connected villages command higher prices than properties in west Wales or the North Yorkshire moors.

Homes are generally cheaper in the country, so you should be able to get more bang for your buck when it comes to space. If you’re planning to work from home, you can set up an office (or the stressed-parent’s dream of a garden office) and still have room to relax in. Do remember, however, a bigger house will cost more to heat and maintain – and someone (probably you) will have to mow that big garden. One other thing to bear in mind: broadband connectivity in the countryside can be patchy, so research this before making any commitment.

If it’s character you’re after, a quick scan of the ‘homes’ section of a Sunday broadsheet shows there are plenty of old vicarages, farmer’s cottages, manor houses and renovated barns available. While there’s something romantic about living in a house that’s hundreds of years old, if it’s a listed property that means extra responsibilities. Planners may insist that any change you make use specific materials and you will need to get permission from the local authority for any structural changes. Talking to a surveyor who specialises in listed buildings will give you an accurate picture of the pros and cons of your desired property.

Another advantage of moving to the country is the possibility of owning extra land. Not only does this give you and your family both privacy and more space, but it can also work for you. That might mean growing vegetables or keeping chickens, which will decrease your food bills. Or using it to build an extension or the outdoor swimming pool you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re ambitious, you could try to get planning permission to construct another property on it. Even if you don’t build on it, the consent should increase its value anyway. The possibilities are endless.

Thinking of moving to the country?
At Charles Cameron & Associates, we can help you make that move by helping you get the right mortgage for your dream rural property. Contact us today to find out how we can help you escape to the country.

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