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Grown tired of the big city? Advice from a relocater

March 1, 2016Tags: renting | relocating | buying | London | Case Study

After 20 years in London, Emma had grown tired of the big smoke and was ready to move back to the north-east where she was born and bred. Here she shares her experience and gives us her top tips for relocating. 

London had been my home for nearly 20 years but I’d failed to get on the London property ladder in all that time.

"I hadn’t been in London long when I saw a one bed garden flat in Muswell Hill for sale for £45k. I try to live without regrets, but I do regret not pursuing that property as 12 months later prices had rocketed.

"A few years before I left London, my friends started moving out to the suburbs to settle down and raise families. This life-style didn't appeal: as a proud north-easterner, I'd never been drawn to ‘the South’, I had been attracted by London. London is the greatest city I have ever been to and I loved my (nearly) 20 years living there. But I’d started to feel unsettled and the dream of owning a property seemed a long way off. High rents and a fabulous London lifestyle meant that I wasn’t even living within my means, let alone saving for a deposit.

"Despite my love for our great capital city, it was time to leave.

Research has shown that one of the five key reasons for moving house is job relocation.

"But for me, I already knew where I wanted to be. Location wise, the plan was to move to Newcastle where my parents, sister and brother live. Newcastle is a great city, recently named the happiest city in the UK.

"I began my job search for something back up north. After about 4 months I was offered a job based just on the outskirts of York. York is roughly 80 miles from Newcastle, so didn't exactly fit with my plan to be near my family. I decided to compromise and find somewhere to live that would be equidistant between York and Newcastle. 

"I found a property to rent in a village called Elwick, just outside of Hartlepool. I'm a born and bred Hartlepudlian so I’m lucky to still have a great group of friends in and around the town. It was the perfect option, just 50 miles from my new job. I've never known work without a commute, so this distance didn’t phase me.

What did phase me was packing after nearly 20 years in London, and 8 years in my lovely rented flat in East Dulwich.

"Practical as ever, I made a list:

  • Work out what’s being kept and what needs to go
     
  • Get quotes and create a budget
    • Moving costs
    • Storage
    • Packing materials
    • Cleaning costs
  • Start packing

"If I had any other tips on packing up 20 years of your life they would be as follows…

Tip #1 Start with the cupboards you really don’t want to go through. We’ve all got one of those cupboards where everything gets dumped. Start there.

Tip #2 Don’t allow yourself to get too distracted with what you rediscover. I spent hours looking through old photos (remember when you used to go to Boots and get them printed?!) and rediscovering bands from the late 80s early 90s that I'd forgotten.

Tip #3 Be as ruthless as you dare to be with what you throw out. I’m two years down the line now and cannot think of a single thing that I regret getting rid of.

Tip #4 Start early. Don’t spend the last weekend before you relocate packing. See your friends and enjoy a relaxed beer on your last night.

Tip #5 Have a friend around the corner who can come to your rescue when your vacuum cleaner breaks 20 minutes before the letting agent is due to do your check out!

No matter how you look at it relocating can be stressful but ultimately it’s the exciting start to a new chapter.

"For me, that has involved a completely different life to the one I had in London. My morning now starts with my spaniel jumping on my bed to wake me up for our morning walk. It makes a change from battling with other commuters on the no. 37 bus. And I might even be about to get my foot on that property ladder."