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Everything posted by editha

  1. An update: We decided to sell our house in Canada a year earlier than we'd planned, and buy a house in Devon before we returned to the UK next year. This was for a number of reasons. In Canada the market is slow (though not as bad as the UK), but in our city, this spring, there was a temporary shortage of houses in the price range that includes our house, and our realtor advised us it was a good time to sell. This proved correct since we found a buyer within 3 months, which compares well with the length of time some of our neighbours have taken to sell their houses in the last few years. T
  2. Thanks. I visited Clovelly 4 years ago, and made it down to the harbour and back! Thanks for all your replies.
  3. Thanks for the replies on Great Torrington. I still think it is a good match for our needs and tastes, so I'm keeping a close eye on prices there. There also seem to be a lot of bargains in the mid-Devon villages, the area north of Dartmoor and Okehampton. I was down that way this spring, and had a great time. I think the remoteness of some of the villages and poor transport links is off-putting, but on the other hand I'm wowed by the possibility of owning a classic cob and thatch cottage, and the countryside is fantastic.
  4. Does anyone know Torrington in Devon? There are a number of properties in the town in our price range, and look good value. All the information I've collected about the town looks good too. We used to live near the market town of Leek in Staffordshire. We liked the market town lifestyle: shopping in small shops, the pubs and small cafes and restaurants, and the sense of community. Leek is being spoiled by a new supermarket development, which is one of the reasons we are now looking elsewhere to retire. We considered Ludlow, which has made a real effort to maintain its small shops, but pr
  5. It's patchouli. I used to be a hippy myself. Crewkerne and Axminster have already come up in property searches. The Mendips seem pricey, because that is commuter country. Overall the Glastonbury area, and the Somerset Levels seem to have the most properties that tick all our boxes.
  6. Well, I'm looking all over. My husband will not want to be right beside the seaside. He grew up on a fishing boat -- quite literally, his father was a salmon fisherman in Victoria BC. He had enough of the sea when he was a kid. On the question of pricing out the locals, that's a complicated issue. I once owned a 5 bed house in Inner London, but since I moved out of London 17 years ago, if I wanted to move back, I would not be able to afford anything bigger than a 2 bed flat. So you could say that I'm a local who has been priced out. My understanding of the West Country, and places like i
  7. On crime, I think you have to look beyond the statistics. When in London I experienced two muggings, two burglaries and our car was broken into several times. Before he met me, my husband had been mugged and injured. My husband got a job in Stoke on Trent, and we moved to a village just outside the city. In Stoke all the nightclubs are in Hanley, and it gets rowdy there on a Saturday night. We only experienced it once, and we felt disgusted by all the sick and pee everywhere, but that was all. We did not feel threatened, but we are middle-aged. I knew young people who'd been threatened
  8. The long weekends idea is more or less what we've been planning to do. We'll arrive in the UK several weeks ahead of our furniture, so we'll be staying with my mum out of necessity. That would be a good time to take a trip to the West Country. However, our return is still two years in the future, so it is a bit early to be making those kind of plans.
  9. That would be the ideal, but not as easy as it sounds. Villages where we can afford to buy are not necessarily those where we can afford to rent, or where long term rental properties are available. I already part own my mother's home in East Sussex, and from a financial point of view it would make more sense to stay there until we buy somewhere. At the start of our retirement we'll be capital rich but income poor, and I'd not be keen on reducing our capital to pay rent. That's one of the difficulties with moving to the West Country. In the West Midlands we could rent a 2 bed house for 400 a
  10. Thanks for the warning about Chard. Good to know, because it is on the edge of the area I've been looking at -- roughly the triangle of Glastonbury, Yeovil and Taunton.
  11. I'm living in Canada at the moment. My husband and I are planning to retire back to the UK in a couple of years time. We're torn between moving back to the West Midlands, where we still have friends, and the West Country, but we will probably choose the West Country. I've been keeping an eye on property prices for some time. Originally, I was only looking at the Bridport/Beaminster area, because I have family connections there, but the prices are really too high for us, so I've started looking further afield, in Devon and Somerset as well as Dorset. The area that seem to have the most suit
  12. Hi I'm a bit late replying to this topic. I haven't checked out this forum for a while, but I guess you might still be monitoring replies occasionally. I think you've got a good idea moving to Stoke. I moved there from London in 97 and stayed until 06. Stoke gets a bad press, but it actually has a lot going for it. It is surrounded by some really lovely countryside, and is small enough to make the countryside accessible whichever part you are living in. People are friendlier than in London (the BNP supporters excepted), and it is not just property prices that are cheaper; the cost of liv
  13. I've been keeping tabs on the Bridport and Beaminster area through Rightmove, because it is on our list of places to possibly retire to in a couple of years time. What I notice is that properties are not selling at all. According to Rightmove no house sales have been registered at the Land Registry since spring 2008. Some houses seem to have come down 25% in price without shifting. Others still look as if they're being offered at peak of the market valuations. I'm guessing that what is on the market is mostly second homes, with owners who think they can wait until the market recovers. So
  14. Hi. We are also in Canada, and we are also intending to retire to the West Country. There the similarities end. We are in Edmonton where we moved from the UK in 06. My husband is a Canadian, who spent 25 years in the UK, but I'm English. We are not intending to move for a couple of years yet, but in the meantime I'm keeping an eye on the market. What I've observed about the areas in the West Country that I'm looking at is that the prices are fairly static, but property is not selling. A lot of asking prices are much too high. I recommend using the website Rightmove, not just for listing
  15. Thanks. Glad to hear I'm right about small houses and large gardens. It's amazing what you can work out from the internet isn't it? Before we moved to Alberta I spent a lot of time studying realtor's sites here and got a really good idea about where it would be good to buy. It saved a lot of time when we were looking for a house.
  16. Hi. What can I say about myself? I'm late fifties, female, living in Canada. I'm lucky -- a fourth generation home owner who bought my first home when I was 22. However, I have less house equity than that would imply, due to a disastrous few years in my early forties when I had a bad split up, prolonged ill health and a business that went bust. On the other hand, the equity I'd built up to that point brought me through that without insolvency, and I'm still a home owner. We (me and husband) moved to Canada in '06 with the intention of returning to UK for retirement, which will be bet
  17. Hi Spud. I'm a RightMove addict too, (as well as having a gorgeous cat called Spud, which is irrelevant). In my opinion a lot of places are being overpriced because the vendors have over-extended themselves financially, and simply can't afford to sell at a lower figure. A lot of the overpriced places on the market seem to have been "improved". I suspect that the owners have taken out finance to make their improvements under the delusion that they were adding more value than they were borrowing. We sold our place in the West Midlands for £125,000 in 2006. It was a low price because we were
  18. One reason I want to live in or near a market town is so I can avoid supermarkets. We lived near Leek in Staffordshire until '06. We found it was cheaper buying from small shops and in the market in Leek, than from the supermarkets. We saved around £15 a week on our bills by not shopping in Tesco's. But, in E.Sussex where my mother lives, the overheads faced by small shops puts up the prices and makes the supermarket cheaper. I like buying local produce from small shops. It's partly a green choice, and partly a lifestyle choice. When I visit Devizes one of the things I want to check out i
  19. Thanks for your replies. The kind of properties we are interested in are mostly coming up in the surrounding villages rather than Devizes itself. I'm planning a stay in the area to check it out.
  20. We are currently living in Canada, but planning to return to the UK to retire. We used to live in the Midlands. close to the Peak District, but are thinking of buying in a new area for the interest of exploring new places. Devizes and the surrounding area appeals, partly because of a family connection, partly because of property prices which don't seem as high as in the rest of the West of England, and partly because there seem to be a lot of small houses with large gardens, which is what we are looking for. I'd like to hear the negatives. Why shouldn't we retire to this area? And, what d
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