Ce n’est pas un fait accompli

I understand that following some of the links that I’ve posted recently on this site, people are wondering what is going on in our lives. So I’d like to clear up a few things.

  • yes, we’re thinking about moving.
  • no, we will not be moving for some time, at least two years.
  • yes, we are looking at the Netherlands. Why? Because houses are considerably cheaper there and we want to reduce the amount of our income that we spend on our mortgage each month. In addition, a lot of my work is in the Netherlands (at least as much as is in the UK), we like it there and it was recently ranked the best industrialized nation in which to bring up a child by the UN (compared to the UK which was ranked the worst nation).
  • BUT, it is not a certainty that we will move there. At the moment, we are deeply involved in research which includes:
  1. working out where to live
  2. deciding what we can afford
  3. looking at what mortgage we could get
  4. investigating employment options for Hels
  5. sussing out education and childcare facilities
  6. language, running a business, mortgage system, property law, tax system – everything! There are lots of hidden factors to consider.
  • IF we go there, then we would rent for at least one year to test the water – and if it didn’t work out, we could move back to England or to another place.
  • we are also investigating other alternatives – in every town we visit, in the UK and abroad, we always look through estate agent windows, partly out of unbridled noseyness and curiosity and partly out of serious research to see what property we could afford if we moved to that area. So far our research has shown that moving within the south east of England would not improve our lot – either we’d still have a vast mortgage or we’d be in Ramsgate.
  • in any case, whatever we decide, we have a whole bunch of factors to consider. These include but are not limited to (and in no particular order):
  1. Tom – particularly the environment and education/childcare
  2. us – we want a nice house in a relatively green neighbourhood (i.e. not a concrete neighbourhood) with a little garden and enough room for us to not be under each other’s feet
  3. work – both for me and for Hels as, without work that we enjoy and which pays reasonably, our life would be poorer in terms of quality or money or both
  4. family – we are close to both sides of the family and we want to be somewhere that is relatively easy for them to access, including by public transport
  5. cats – they’re important too! So no main road homes for us and always at least a little garden, even if/when we rent.

So you see that nothing is certain. Well, almost nothing. The only thing that is certain is that the current fixed rate period on our mortgage expires on 31 December 2008, which is why there is a window of opportunity for moving around that time and into early 2009 (if we move before then, we have to pay a heavy penalty to our lender when we redeem the mortgage) – and we don’t want to leave it much later than that as we want to get Tom settled in a new home before he starts school. The reason for moving is also fairly certain – we want to move in order to achieve either a reduction in our mortgage liability and/or an increase in our living space.

Even the “when” is not guaranteed. As we all know, events have a habit of overtaking one’s plans, so we have no idea what might happen over the next two years. I think the only thing that is likely to remain constant is the “why”. The “what”, “where” and even the “how” are all still to be decided.

At the moment, the mission is research. And with a life-change of this magnitude, I think anyone would agree that we need to be thorough and use all the time available to our advantage.

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