Your comments help us improve our websiteSend your feedback
Your dream place – is it really as wonderful as you imagine?
Everyone has a dream place that they’ve always wanted to live. Maybe it was the little village you visited for a weekend away in that gorgeous B&B, or the historic town where your favourite aunt lives? Maybe it’s not even in this country at all.
Wherever it is, what is it that makes you think it would be the perfect place to live? Is it just how it looks? Is it the amenities on offer or is it something else entirely, like a feeling of belonging there? And, if you were to seriously think of moving there to live, what would you need to consider?
Use the following questions to get you thinking about your dream place in a more practical way. Hopefully, if you do this you can prevent your dream place from becoming a nightmare!
Do you mind a change in your standard of living? If your dream place is a quaint village in the UK, you may have to consider downsizing to make living there a reality. Properties in popular locations often have a premium attached to them, so you may have to give up your five bedroomed detached house, with a garden and garage in the suburbs, for a cottage with no garage and a tiny garden in your dream location. Is this something you’re willing, and more importantly, able to do
There’s no use setting your heart on living in that idyllic village in deepest rural England if the cost of renting or buying property is way above your price range. You can use websites such as Zoopla to find out how much houses are to rent and to buy all over the UK.
How often do properties become available? You can be almost certain that if you find somewhere idyllic, lots of other people will too, which may affect the availability of property in the area. Choosing somewhere that’s highly desirable can mean that when properties do become available, there’s stiff competition for them. How much are you prepared to fight for a property in your dream place?
What kind of living do you like? Do you prefer to live in a city, with the bright lights and bustle it has to offer? Or are you more of a peaceful, rural kind of person? If you’ve never lived in a city centre, but you’re attracted to the idea, why not try to spend a few days there to see if it’s really what you want. Or you can ask people who already live there if they’d recommend it, and what they consider to be the biggest advantages and disadvantages of city living. They may throw up things to consider that you’ve never thought of. The same goes for any other location, as staying for a short while is not the same as trying to build your life there. The things that you found minor irritations while you were on your holidays can quickly become a major headache if you’re looking to live there permanently.
Do you need to have access to a hospital on a regular basis? If you require access to a hospital on a regular basis, for example if your child needs to have monthly check-ups, you need to make sure there’s one near your dream place. How you’ll get there may also be a consideration, so find out if there are buses that go there, or if you’d need a car. You may also want to check out how good the hospital is, especially if there’s a specific medical condition that needs taking care of. You can check the quality of hospitals in the UK using this NHS website.
What kind of work do you intend to do? If your dream place is miles away from where you live now and you already have a job, are you prepared to make the commute to work? Or would you have to find a job in your new dream place? If commuting is not an option, and you want to live rurally, you’d seriously have to consider the job prospects available in that area. Many charming villages look beautiful, but can lack employment opportunities.
How important is access to reliable public transport to you? If you don’t drive and you rely heavily on public transport to get around, checking out the local transport options available in your dream place is a must. In city centres this is not likely to be an issue, but if you’re thinking of somewhere more remote, you do not want to become a prisoner in your own home simply because the local bus only runs once every day (yes, that really happens in some places!).
Are you going to need access to schools? If you have kids of school age, the availability of local school places, the quality of the school and how easy it is to get to, should all be part of your assessment of your dream place.
Is there internet and mobile access? This may seem like a strange question in this time of uber-connectivity, but there are still some places where access is slow or patchy at best. If you rely heavily on the web to work (as a freelance graphic designer for example) a high speed, reliable connection is going to be a major factor in deciding on your dream place.
What is your preferred climate? Do you like it warm or cold or just in the middle? Some people love it to be warm all the time, while others prefer to have the whole range of seasons, including cold winters. If your dream place has a colder climate, the highlands of Scotland for example, how do you think you’d cope with not being able to top up your tan in the warm summer sunshine? Or if you’re a keen snow sports enthusiast or even just love taking the kids sledging, would you really be happy living somewhere where there was no snow, even in the depths of winter?
If you fancy living overseas, can you speak the language? If your dream place is overseas, in a place where English is not the first language, are you prepared to learn the local lingo? Of course in some places, such as areas of Spain, learning Spanish is not so important because of the large ex-pat communities out there. But if you choose a place where there are not many English speakers, you will probably need some local language skills to get along. If this seems too high a mountain to climb, maybe it’s time for a rethink.
So, is the place you were thinking of still your dream place? If not, don’t worry, there are lots of other places to discover.