How to move to Cornwall: Top tips from a pro relocation expert
Determined to escape London and relocate to Cornwall? Don’t hit the estate agents until you’ve read this.
Covid 19, three lockdowns and then the G7 Summit – the events of the past year or so has sent the housing market sky high in Cornwall. We spoke to Beverley Jayne Baker, director of award-winning relocation expert service, Live Beside the Sea, to get her top tips on making the move.
When Boris announced that estate agents could open their doors after the first lockdown, agents wondered if house prices in the Duchy might plummet. But when they opened their doors post lockdown, the reality was the opposite: phones ringing off the hook, demand high and people prepared to make offers on houses they hadn’t even seen.
Open spaces, fresh air and the ability to work from home were all massive draws – understandably, the Covid pandemic has meant priorities have changed and the lure of nightlife is balanced by thought of no tube travel and no commute.
Retirement plans have been moved forward, home offices are top of buyers wish lists, and grandparents are moving to be nearer the grandchildren they have missed so much for over a year.
Never before has a “Kirsty in your pocket” been more necessary. It is not easy to book viewings with estate agents directly, Government guidelines dictate that only proceedable buyers can view and by the time houses hit Rightmove, offers have already been made.
SO – TOP TIPS FOR BUYING A HOME IN CORNWALL
1) Be ready
You need to be in a proceedable position before you even start looking. Cash is king but if that is not possible, as it is not for many, you need to be sale agreed with a written MIP (mortgage in principal) if you require it.
2) Be prepared to act quickly
On average, one in four houses over a million pounds in Cornwall exchange hands without ever going to the market – so you’re going to need to decide fast if you want to put an offer in.
3) Buy from your heart
There will always be reasons not to do things but if you constantly let the practicalities stand in your way, it’s not going to happen.
4) Be prepared to compromise
Perfection does not exist. Be clear on what is a non-negotiable and be prepared to compromise on everything else.
5) Prepare your story
Endear yourself to sellers and agents by being clear why you want to move to Cornwall (or to move house to a new location if you’re already here). Sellers love to think that they will be getting a new custodian for a home they’ve enjoyed and cared about for years.
6) Seek out up-and-coming areas (the ripple effect)
Some of the most popular Cornish holiday destinations have become prohibitively expensive but the outskirts and nearby villages are still accessible and offer much of the same appeal. For example, if you like St Ives, consider Lelant or Hayle; if you love Rock and Padstow, look at Mawgan Porth or further east to Port Isaac Bay.
If you really want to get a lot of property for your money in an area that’s on the up: for 2021, Beverly’s top suggestions are St Austell, Camborne / Redruth and Portreath (above).
Portreath has improved massively in recent years and as well as a harbour has a lovely beach which is good for surfing and bodyboarding in the right conditions and tide (there is also a well-known mean break off the harbour wall called The Vortex which is not for the inexperienced). Fans of walking and cycling are also in-luck, with a cycle trail starting at Portreath and heading south to Devoran.
St Austell used to be known as St Awful but times are changing and there is plenty to recommend nearby as well as in the town itself which is slowly becoming to home to some fab indies, including Bea’s and Chy Blew, both Muddy Cornwall Awards 2021 finalists.
Camborne and Redruth, once the relics of the old mining days, are on the up, with young families snapping up the beautiful Georgian properties, some of which are listed, at a fraction of the price elsewhere. Central and just off the A30, Camborne and Redruth both offer easy access to much of Cornwall at still affordable prices. Local arts centre, Krowji (above) and lots of indies are helping.
7) Consider guests
If you have lots of friends and family, they will no doubt be looking forward to weekends in Cornwall once you move, particularly with overseas travel off-menu or limited again this year.
Of course, you could send them up the road to the nearest B&B but (a) they’re likely to be full, and (b) its always nice to host. It does mean you need to consider the space you will need for a few extra bodies. A spare room or two and a sociable dining space for example.
8) Think year round living
Your dream holiday destination may not be the perfect place to live full-time. Is there community and amenities out of season? Who lives there permanently? Are they people you’re likely to make friends and find things in common with? Remember that this last year has been unusual in many ways, but lots of hospitality / restaurants and even some shops in Cornwall close in Jan/Feb regardless of Covid and lockdowns.
9) Have you enough space to work?
One or both of you will likely need to be working from home, and the kitchen table will only last so long. Is there enough space for a desk, or a big enough garden to build a studio. Or, are you near a shared or co-working space, such as the gems popping up in Newquay and Falmouth.
10) Get some expert help
You need someone on the ground: Beverley’s local and market knowledge means she does the hard lifting for you – sometimes approached by sellers before even the estate agent, she has the inside line and early doors. She view houses on your behalf, creating video tours and a comprehensive viewing report, pointing out all the negatives as well as the good.
For help with your move or to make an enquiry, call Beverley Jayne Baker (formerly Jayne Phillips-Choak) at Live Beside The Sea on 07882037836.