Garrington Property Finders: New priorities for families

A red-brick house behind a lawn with daffodils in front of it

The expectations of a home have changed considerably for many people over the past 18 months - Credit: 2019 DrimaFilm/Shutterstock

Garrington property finder Jonathan Hopper discusses the challenges of finding a home that works for all the family in a location that offers the right schooling

For many, the expectations of what functions a home must fulfil have changed considerably over the past 18 months. While schooling options are likely to be a priority, a new home must suit the varying needs of the whole family. This usually means having more inside space and a larger garden or more land.

Across the UK, there are many highly-regarded state and independent schools and competition for places remains fierce, as does the demand for homes in the surrounding areas. This makes the search for the perfect property in the ideal location that much more challenging.

Family priorities

Following the periods of lockdown and now, as an increased number of parents work from home, there is a new requirement for a dedicated at-home workspace.

While fewer parents may have to commute daily, working hours remain the same and rarely align perfectly with school hours. Parents who have more than one child, perhaps finishing at different times with after school clubs and activities, can find this particularly difficult to manage and may find that living close to a school can be an attractive solution. With less property for sale and with such limited stock of ‘best of breed’ homes fitting these criteria across many prime UK locations, it is easy to understand why premium prices continue to be paid for properties close and convenient to highly favoured schools.

The right location

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With the high cost of independent education, the option of obtaining a place for your child in a top performing state school may be an attractive one. 

The most sought-after state schools will see parents focusing their efforts to find a new home within the catchment area. Finding that ideal home can be notoriously difficult, expensive and stress inducing. Also, as the school becomes more popular the catchment area can sometimes shrink and there is often a trend of increasing house prices within those catchment boundaries.

Choosing independent schooling can present further challenges. With the large cost difference between day pupils and boarders at some of the top establishments, living nearer to the school of choice could be a financially savvy move. If this financial saving was instead used to service mortgage borrowing costs, it might make a substantial difference to the level of available borrowing for buying a home and the potential equity gain from a higher value home if property values continue to rise. 

Help is at hand

With the continuing shortage of housing stock, it has become increasingly common for families to move into rental properties ready for the start of the new term, thereby settling their children into their new school with minimal disruption, and being in the stronger position of being fully proceedable when the perfect property is found. Even with this advantage, finding and securing one of the elusive prime properties is often far from easy as many homes are being sold off-market and there is considerable competition to contend with.  

A property finder will offer buyers an objective assessment of properties and locations, enabling them to make well-informed decisions, and being professionally represented will further elevate a buyer’s position. 

Garrington’s consultants help buyers find and purchase properties that meet their lifestyle requirements. Their local expertise and in-depth knowledge of the property market assists homebuyers to consider a wider choice of properties and purchase more effectively.