12 January 2017
While the number of buying agents has multiplied in recent years, there are still relatively few women working in the business. As a mother of two children (aged five and three), who is also conducting her own house search in Hampshire at the moment, I am uniquely placed to understand the demands of families looking to relocate from London.
I am moving from Wandsworth to the country and the houses I am looking at for my family are all off market because there is so little stock out there when it comes to good family homes. It is said that 60 per cent of houses over £2m are bought off or pre-market so if you don’t know about these, you are missing out on a huge chunk of the market. Being able to access such properties is part of a buying agent’s skill and can put you ahead of the competition.
For those with families looking to relocate to the country from London, the first thing I would advise is getting all your ducks in a row. The most important thing is to find the schools. Ideally you should get your children’s names down for three schools and you can then focus your search around those.
After the school, the commute needs to be taken into account. If one or both of you is working, then it’s important that the commute isn’t too onerous.
Those after a family home in the country usually state that they require plenty of good-sized bedrooms because they want all their friends from London to come and stay. But while the friends may come once and not again, it’s the extra space which families really want and why they are prepared to give up the ease of London. Who doesn’t want to be able to open the back door and push the children out into a garden to exercise with the Labrador or springer spaniel rather than taking them to the common?
While London may not have big gardens and tree houses, you are two minutes from a pint of milk and, if you live in south London, 30 minutes from the West End. There are plenty of places to buy a coffee with other mums or soft play for the kids. A successful move to the country will depend upon finding a community that can provide the things that you and your family need.
Chances are that if you are moving out of London, you won’t really know the area you are considering moving to. What you don’t want is to move your family down only to find that you are in a village without the young and fun. Finding the right village is crucial and someone representing you who can give you that knowledge is much more helpful than an estate agent who will, naturally, only tell you what you want to hear - after all they are working for and being paid by the seller.