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Residential Research country houses countryside

Going rural: what to look for when moving to the countryside

Q3 2015

A move to a countryside idyll is the dream for many. Make sure you get the best possible property when you make the change with our guide to going rural.


Sam Trounson

Director, Estate Agency

+44 1285 627680

A move to a countryside idyll is the dream for many. Make sure you get the best possible property when you make the change with our guide to going rural.

If you’re thinking of moving from the big city to the quiet countryside, you’re not alone. The rural population is set to grow by 6% over the next decade, according to Government figures.

Making sure you know what you’re looking for is key to getting your dream country home.

The perfect house

Let’s start with the house. There’s so much to consider:

If the property needs major work you’ve got to consider things like:

• Are there any local tradesmen and do they have time to do the work?
• Do you have somewhere else to stay if you need to vacate the home while renovations are completed?

Alternatively, assuming that the property doesn’t need any work, you’ve also got to think about the layout. You’ll almost certainly need a large kitchen and or a dining room, plus plenty of outside space. You may also need a few extra bedrooms for visiting friends and family.

You’ve also got to consider its position. You’ll be spending plenty of time outdoors so it’ll need to have a south or south west facing garden to catch the sun. And finally, what are the views like? It’s no use moving to the countryside if you’ve only got views of an industrial site.

The local community

One of the great joys about going rural is becoming part of the local community. Ideally, your new home would be near such a community and within walking distance of a nice pub. Pubs are the social hub of many small villages, so you might want to become a regular!

There are also other amenities to consider:

• How far are the nearest shops?
• What is the broadband speed like?
• What are the cafés and restaurants like?

Age also becomes a consideration. Less than 50% of those living in rural areas are aged below 45 years, compared with almost 60% in urban areas.

A growing family

Many people move to the countryside as their family starts to grow, so you’ll need a home that can cope with this growth.

• Can any of the rooms be converted, for example dining room to play room?
• Could you convert the loft into an extra bedroom?
• Does it have outbuildings that could become an office, teenager’s bedroom or granny flat?

One of the top priorities for people making the move is good schools. Check which ones are nearby and what the admission policy is. You might think you’re in the catchment area but you need to be sure.

Getting around

You won’t be able to jump on the Tube if you want to go for a night out. You may even struggle to catch a bus more than once an hour. Check the local transport connections.

• Where does the local railway station connect to and what is the service like?
• Does Uber cover your area?

You’ll also need a big garage as you’ll be driving a lot more than you did in the city.

Things to be wary of

It’s not all sunny days in the garden and Sunday lunches at the pub. The countryside is a working community and you’ll need to get used to farm traffic on the roads, especially at harvest time!

What about connections to gas and sewerage? Few country villages have mains gas or mains drainage so expect oil-fired central heating and a septic tank.

Look also where train lines and flight paths are – you don’t want your rural idyll spoiled by roaring engines every hour.

Is it a good investment?

Finally, it’s worth checking the house prices in the area. Check that they have either remained stable or risen in recent years. If they have dropped, find out why?

It’s also worth asking around for news of any major developments. Is there going to be a new supermarket or is the local hospital closing? These can affect both your quality of life and the value of your home.