Things to think about when purchasing a village home
There are several reasons why the villages of West Sussex attract so many property buyers, and if you are moving from an urban environment like London, or an ancient market town, there are a few factors you may not be used to thinking about when searching for your dream village house.
Village life can be idyllic… often it offers enviable views, reduced pollution, extensive grounds, greater value for money, a closer community, lower crime levels, a shop that sells fresh produce, quaint local pubs and some simply stunning period homes. However, there are some other considerations to take into account so that you’re not in for a surprise having have moved into your new abode. For example:
Check if there are any structural issues in the house you’re interested in buying, as often period homes when listed can have restrictions which limit the improvements you can make. Fear not though as if you need to renovate it is still possible to do, and many people achieve their vision.
You will most likely have a really pretty garden that is a good size too when living in a village, but large plots and land do require maintenance. You will need to either factor in time to keep on top of the garden yourself, or hire a gardener. If the latter, many villages have their own Facebook community pages or parish magazines, where locals can be found and may give recommendations.
Although more of us are working from home these days, some are still travelling to London. Whether part or full time, research the cost of parking and train tickets, as they will be higher than commuting within London. It’s worth looking into a seasonal ticket if you’re planning on travelling regularly.
If you need regular medical help, hospitals can be a fair distance away by car, particularly from village locations. If you were to require emergency care, you want to make sure you are in a village that is close enough to a hospital. Make sure your property has easy access for ambulances too.
When you move into a village, you present a topic of conversation for the locals in their curiosity and excitement about who you are. Once you have settled in, you may be asked to get involved with village life. For example; church flowers, meetings, volunteering in the shop, getting involved with the parish magazine and village tidy up’s. These are the beating heart of villages and are great ways for getting to know the locals and becoming a core part of the community.
Country lanes require good driving skills if you are to avoid scratching your car. If you’re used to wide urban roads, it’s worth spending some time familiarising yourself with the area you wish to move to – especially in reverse gear!
Travelling for children
Many villages have lovely primary schools in them, but the secondary ones tend to be in local towns. Kids clubs, sports facilities and even friends are too. It’s worth checking distances because you may well be spending more time in your car than you would have done in town.
Broadband and mobile phone networks
The Government is trying to help give people in rural areas better access to the internet, at home and for businesses. Most locations in West Sussex do have access to fibre broadband now, but for anywhere experiencing slow speeds, the Government is providing up to £210m worth of voucher funding to help cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband to people’s doorsteps. Not everywhere has 4g yet either, so there are the occasional blackspots. If this is important for you, it’s worth finding out who offers the best mobile phone coverage in the area and switch providers. Joining the local social media community groups should help you find out who they are.
Restaurants and pubs
Occasionally, you may want to treat yourself to a meal or a drink outside of your village pub. Generally, buses stop operating late at night whilst taxis can be hard to get hold of. It’s worth booking a taxi in advance so that you can enjoy your favourite tipple and not have to drink and drive.
The countryside is colder (and muddier) than urbanised towns and cities in winter. Snow and ice may also make it harder to drive in and out of a village too. Make sure you visit areas you want to visit during the colder months as well as warm. Invest in some snow tyres and test the commute on a dark rainy morning and evening. Don’t forget to buy some sturdy walking boots and wellies too, but don’t worry, you will have great fun exploring the local countryside in them! There’s nothing quite like a winter morning hike in the snow.
None of these factors need to be considered negative, and many people find the pros of village life far outweigh having to taxi children around or reversing around a bend for the occasional tractor or lorry. My advice to anybody looking to move from town to country would be to think about what you expect to get out of moving to the countryside. It’s worth writing ten reasons for the move, and ten against (if you can find that many!) Once you have done this, take a short break and then review them. Some might prove to be a potent influencing factor in deciding the sorts of location you should be searching in.
Most important, it is worth having a buying agent on side who has the extensive experience of assessing the suitability of rural properties for their clients. If we can help you with your property search in and around West Sussex, you can contact Property Acquisitions (Jennie Hancock) on +44 (0)7776452128.