Today we put our house on the market, and we're planning to move upto Yorkshire later this year, pending a number of things happening in the correct order.
Well, why not? We've always said this was not our "forever home". We both moved to Reading (separately) about 25 years ago for work...me with 2 rucksacs and no real plan besides a noddy office job, Gill with a sensible grad-placement. We've both gone through the phases of crappy flats, house shares, starter homes and then finally to Woodley and Addington Gardens, the quintessential suburb house. We've been here (almost) 10 years, and it's been great, especially with the last 3 years...lockdown and home-working. We had enough space to adapt comfortably, as well as getting 2 office-dogs. That transition has massively reduced the need for us to actually be in Reading.
Gill's family are all up in Yorkshire...parents, sister, nieces etc. She went up there for Christmas (a well deserved break after nursing me back to health, for the second time that year), and when she got back we had a discussion, and decided that moving ourselves up North would be a net positive. Last year we had talking about maybe Cornwall, Devon or Norfolk...but then I broke various bones, we bought a new dog, and then were generally distracted for a while.
Put simply, it's really bloody nice. We had a look around the Leeds area generally (we don't want to live in the City itself), and generally settled on Harrogate as a good combination of facilities, and countryside. I'll need to get to my office approximately twice a year, so just need to be nearish a mainline station. Gill has to be in an office approximately once a month, however her company have offices in York. Harrogate is a big town with a lot of unique shops, areas and facilities, without sacrificing the general life comforts.
Harrogate is posh, and not super-cheap...but still significantly cheaper than Woodley (as a ballpark I'd say 20% cheaper comparing like-for-like houses, though obviously with some exceptionally expensive areas, similar to Reading with Sonning, The Warren etc). Moving has some costs involved (stamp duty, estate agent fees, legal fees, removal costs etc), however we reckon we can at least halve our mortgage (and as as stretch goal pretty much get rid of it). For me, the cycling up there is great...loads of clubs, loads of events, the dales on the doorstep, and (a big once since the incident in October) less traffic (though I totally understand that it's still the UK, and tourism up there is a thing). If we do this right, it should be a real upgrade in quality of life...and in the last couple of years that has become super-important.
Where in the process are we?
We've both confirmed the move is OK with our respective companies (it is). We've done some fixing up of the house, which has been generally stressful (the biggest one being replacing the kitchen floor, which had some settling cracks). Generally cleaning everything, re-painting damaged walls (in the last 2 years we have gained a lot of labrador-high scratches, marks and dents in the walls), and starting the probably never-ending task of rationalising furniture and belongings. Cleaning everything, and dressing the house for photos. For myself, I've decided the motorbike is not going up with me (I've not ridden it since 2018...so I now really need to get it fixed, MOT'ed and sold).
We appointed an estate agent last week, after speaking to 5 of them. Today the house went onto Rightmove (this house is never this clean or tidy!)
...which really does feel like the start of things. In comedic timing, I'm pretty much away for the next 2 weeks (Spain, then France), leaving Gill to handle keeping the house spotless for viewings. Once I'm back, she is heading upto Leeds for a long weekend with her family, where she'll arrange lots of property viewings. We have a longlist on Rightmove, and hopefully we can get a better feel for areas.
The mortgage is already sorted...unless things go remarkably off-plan we are downsizing the mortgage. We've got solicitors lined up (the same ones we used to buy here...they are 10 minutes away, so if there are any problems we can literally walk in and sort stuff out). The logistics of moving 220 miles north will be "fun"...definitely more involved than this was...
(240p baby, welcome to the mid 2000's)
A little. I've lived in various areas of Reading for more than half my life, though definitely been through various life phases here.Since lockdown the majority of my friend circles have been online/virtual, with the exception of the cycling brigade. I've always been fine with rocking upto clubs/societies solo for stuff i have an interest in, and generally inflicting myself on them...this will be no different. There are loads of cycling clubs up there (I mean, they got the World Champs a few years back, which was a huge community effort). I can ride bikes and talk shit while eating cakes with the best of them. Harrogate is big enough to have some niche shops and clubs, and small enough that it will be easy to get to them. I'm also pretty excited...we've talked about moving before, but it felt very hypothetical. This very quickly felt like the right thing to do, and the right time to do it.