We’ve entered a new phase in our quest to buy a new family home. Having accepted an offer from a buyer, moving house has become a step closer to reality. We now have to find somewhere to buy and this is where we’re facing a harsh reality.
The dilemma we’re facing? It’s become apparent that we maybe haven’t given nearly enough thought to our daughters’ needs as they get older.
Whatever house we move to now, they will be happy in. It’s what happens when they’re teenagers that concerns us.
Oh sure, the biggest factor in moving house was to buy a place with an additional bedroom so the girls could have a room each. We have also spent some time looking at secondary school catchment areas.
With the move one step closer to taking place, a whole host of issues have bubbled to the surface. Have we, for instance, given thought to how much time Helen and Izzy will spend travelling to secondary school?
I know secondary school kids are expected to do two hours of homework a night. I wouldn’t want them to be burdened with an arduous school run on top of this. Helen only has another two years left at primary school so we have to think about these things now.
Wherever we move, will there be a genuine community for us to be a part of? This would certainly help the children settle in and it’s something that’s missing from where we presently live.
Will there be good bus and train links so they can get to town and visit friends? Will there be cinemas and other similar attractions in the locality to keep them entertained?
Many of the locations we have been looking at are a very easy train journey into London. Even so, many of them are rural or semi-rural.
Mrs Adams isn’t hugely concerned by this. A keen equestrian, she’s keen to live somewhere out in the country.
Unlike Mrs Adams, however, I grew up in the countryside. We’re not talking the middle of Exmoor or the Welsh Valleys, but for South East England, you didn’t really get much more rural than where I lived.
As a young kid I loved the freedom of the countryside. In my twenties, having spent many years away from home, I again developed a deep love for rural life and I’ve been homesick ever since.
I vowed that one day I would leave the city and embrace the countryside again. I could be on the cusp of fulfilling that promise to myself.
This is where there’s a clash between what Mrs Adams and I want and what our children need. As a teenager, you see, I struggled with rural life. With no one of a similar age living nearby, I found it hard to make and develop friendships.
There was nothing to stimulate me. There were no cinemas, no youth groups or community groups. The closest town was a four-mile bicycle ride away along a cycle path. Travelling along that path was horrible. The headwinds were often so strong I had to get off my bike and walk because it was impossible to cycle into the wind.
There was no public transport. Sorry, I tell a lie. There was a bus on market days that would take you to the local town if you phoned in advance and asked the driver to swing by and collect you. Bizarrely, it didn’t do the return journey so once you were in town, you were reliant on taxi drivers to get you home.
All these memories have come flooding back to me because we have seen the most amazing house. It’s huge, within budget and it has a stunning summer house in the garden that doubles-up as a sauna (I kid you not).
Although further away, it is an easy drive to the kids’ primary school and looks out across farmland. The kids are hassling Mrs Adams and I to buy it.
As young kids, I think they’d love this place. There is, however, nothing nearby to keep them entertained and public transport links are poor.
A different house we’ve looked at is, oddly, in a more rural location but has superior transport links. There are regular trains to nearby towns where there are cinemas, cafes and so on that take just a few minutes and the trek to London is less than an hour.
There are also a few small shops nearby. The house, however, has no summer house / sauna, has a smaller garden and you wouldn’t even look at it twice if you walked past it as it’s a run of the mill new build.
It’s the classic home-buying dilemma. Do you go with the heart or with the head? Heart says go for the place with the sauna, head says go for the non-descript house which has a better chance of meeting our family’s future needs.
Whatever we do, I’m glad we’re giving this some thought now. I think we got so wrapped up thinking about room sizes, stamp duty and other mundane matters we forgot to think of the future. It’s not an easy decision so please do wish us luck.
Have you faced the same dilemmas? What advice would you have if moving house with kids who aren’t far off their teenaged years? Have you moved somewhere rural with young children? If so, are you concerned for the future?