6 Crucial Considerations Before You Move from City to Countryside
The pandemic has made people question their living priorities and many city dwellers are now seriously contemplating a move to the country. If you’re among them, check out these 6 crucial considerations before you quit the big smoke for a quiet life.
The experience of living in lockdown has done more than re-acquaint us with our own four walls – for some, it’s made us want to change them.
Time indoors has given us time to really look at our living spaces. And suddenly homes with limited room but pricey monthly repayments based on the privilege of being located in or near the city, simply don’t cut it any more.
And it’s not just the fact that the kitchen table has also become the work office or that you can only get real alone time by locking yourself in the loo.
For some people located in a bustling city, it’s also that there’s nowhere to go within their allowed walking distance to enjoy some peace and quiet or genuine fresh air.
Cities are generally expensive and cramped. And the benefits attached to them – a top choice of social and cultural activities, great shopping, and better career opportunities – are currently off the table as Covid-19 is resurging in all places where people gather.
Is it any wonder, then, that with more flexibility to work from home and less reason to spend time in town, many of us are being lured by a lifestyle beyond the city limits? Cheaper, bigger housing, fewer people and more green spaces – what’s not to love?
Since the summer there has been a sizable interest in properties for sale in smaller towns and rural areas around Ireland. This September in Carlow, for instance, people queued overnight outside a local estate agency for 18 new properties that were due to go on sale the following morning.
That kind of behaviour is normally associated with the Dublin property-buying frenzy of the boom times.
But according to many auctioneers, the current interest in homes outside the capital is reflective of a change in priorities. If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything it’s that our home really is our castle – and we want that castle to be spacious, with multiple rooms, possibly two bathrooms, and a large back and front garden or at least easy access to a nearby green space.
Of course, making the move from city to countryside is not something we should do without thinking through the pros and cons.
Many of those currently exiting urban centres like Dublin such as young families wanting a healthier lifestyle or people returning to their hometown to be closer to friends and family, were likely mulling over the idea for a while; The pandemic just accelerated their decision.
Panic-moving, on the other hand, without fully considering the impact on your job, career, family members, and social needs may leave you regretting the decision in the long-run.
The dream of a rural retreat may turn into a nightmare when the reality of life far from the maddening crowd but with fewer friends, job opportunities, public services, and conveniences hits home.
So, if the pandemic has forced you to take a long look at your living situation and you’re seriously thinking about relocating to a smaller town or village, take on board these 6 crucial considerations first.
This may seem like a no-brainer but location has a lot more to do with what’s outside your front door.
Sure, you may have a stunning sea view or live on top of your own hill, but is your new locality close to everything you need to ensure you can live your dream?
Identifying your priorities will help you find the perfect location. For example, do you want or need to be within commuting distance to your job? Would you like the option to travel into the city whenever you like? Is being close to other family members or good friends important to you?
Figure out what you need first before you put your money down and head for the hills.
Job and Career:
This next consideration relates somewhat to the first one. Getting out in nature and enjoying the quiet life may be what you’re craving but remember you also need to make a living.
Your current employers may be happy for you to work from home right now but are you certain this will be the case in the future? Make sure your inability to be in the office every day doesn’t affect promotion possibilities or crucially your current position.
On the other hand, if you need to change jobs when you change dwellings look for areas that have options in your particular industry.
There are several small towns and villages in all these areas too which means you don’t have to live smack-bang in city or town centres.
Availability of Utilities & Services:
The joy of going rural might begin to wane if you can’t get online or find that running out of milk means taking an hour from your day to get to the nearest grocery shop.
Again, look at what your priorities are in terms of the utilities and services you can’t do without and ensure that wherever you’re planning on relocating can provide them.
According to findings in the Q3 Irish Independent/REA Average House Price Index, broadband, and larger homes with a possible office space and a garden have become more important to current homebuyers than transport links and commuting time.
As well as researching where your local shops are, think about checking out the nearest doctors and hospitals.
Even if you don’t have any medical issues right now it’s always good to know what medical services are available to you if you’re planning on making this move permanent.
Ditto for qualified plumbers, electricians, and other skilled tradespeople in the area. You may be quite the handyperson but it’s always good to have some back up for major issues such as a busted septic tank or damage from flash flooding.
People who currently live in Dublin and other cities take a lot of the conveniences there for granted.
Because of this, you may find that it’s the ability to call for a takeaway at any time of the evening or be on the bus to work within 20 minutes of rolling out of bed in the morning that you miss the most.
Make sure that your dream to move isn’t just a knee-jerk reaction to all that’s going on at the moment. If deep down you actually love living within the hustle and bustle of the city or its surroundings, it may be that moving is not the answer.
Perhaps you need to give your home a revamp so it’s more conducive to spending long hours in.
Or, you might consider looking at properties near to where you live now or within decent commuting distance.
Of course, if you do move to a completely new town or county it can be very exciting, particularly as it opens up the potential to meet new people and possible future friends.
Irish towns and villages are known for their tight-knit and often very active community life and once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted you may find yourself thriving as part of these networks.
If that’s an important part of why you want to move, do your research and see what community groups there are in the area.
And if you’re moving back to your home town, remember things will have changed since you were last there. Your old pals may have flown the coop and the social networks you hoped to fit back into might not exist anymore.
Of course, if your move means that you’re leaving your hometown be honest with yourself regarding the social consequences that entail.
If you’re used to popping over to the homes of your besties or close family members on a routine basis, think about how you’ll cope if those kinds of regular connections aren’t possible any more.
Even if you’re only an hour from where you used to live, there’ll still have to be planning involved to meet up regularly and that’ll certainly be difficult if further lockdown constraints are put in place.
Remember a move isn’t just about you. Being part of a couple or family means taking their wishes and needs on board too. That will involve considering how upping sticks will affect your partner’s current job or career aspirations.
If you have children, you’ll also need to consider their educational needs. Do your research and choose an area with a good school to move to.
Often small towns or villages only have one or at most two schools in the area. So make sure you’re happy with what’s available and check whether your children can secure a place.
Everybody’s social needs should be considered also. Living on the outskirts of a town or village might sound idyllic but boredom can easily set in with no-one but immediate family around for constant company.
And finally, your move might mean moving away from elderly parents or other family members who depend on you for various reasons. If that’s the case, and particularly in the current climate, ensure that you can still reach those that you need to no matter where you’ve moved to in the country.
If you’re currently on the house hunt why not check out our wide range of properties for sale in Ireland.