I’ve always dreamed of having my own pool. Like many of you, I grew up in the country, so pooling was a way of life – something that I took for granted. It wasn’t something that I could really prioritize, as I was busy raising my family and working hard to keep them happy. But now that I’m in my 30s, the thought of having my own pool sounds more appealing.
In 2016, I finally made my dream come true. After selling my Brooklyn home and shacking up with my wife for a couple of months, we bought a townhouse in the city of Brighton and spent the rest of the year fixing it up. In the process, we rediscovered our love for spending time in the country and made the necessary modifications to make it suitable for living in the city. Now when we’re not in the office all day, we like to come back and enjoy a few days under the sun and stars while surrounded by nature.
Setting The Scene
Let’s start by talking about the house itself. When we first arrived, there was nothing but a slab of concrete with a garden hose sticking out of it. Now there’s a fully equipped kitchen, dining room, living room, and bathroom. Though the space is quite small, we have plenty of room to entertain guests. There’s also a wood burning stove for those cold winter nights. When the weather is nice, you can even eat outside.
For us, buying the house was a no-brainer. We fell in love with it the moment we laid eyes on it. But for some people, the decision might not be so easy. If you’re looking for a place to live and aren’t sure whether or not to buy a house in Brighton, here’s a quick rundown of what to consider.
The size of the place is the first thing that will come to mind. Are you looking for a small, intimate space or something more akin to a mansion? One thing you need to keep in mind is how much space you have to spare. There are plenty of big houses for sale in Brighton, so you don’t have to settle for less. Just make sure that you’re not purchasing something too big that you can’t manage. That’s the main reason why we decided to invest in a smaller property. We wanted something more manageable that we could grow into. We envisioned the possibility of adding a second story and connecting the two houses, which would create one large space with a terrace.
Location is another crucial factor to consider when shopping for a house. Do you want a place that’s close to the beach or a train station? One of the benefits of living in Brighton is that there are lots of places to go within easy reach. If you want to visit the beach or go for a drink, you can easily get a bus or train to London, which is only a short ride from the city. If you’ve decided that you want to live in the countryside, you have many options, with both city and country sides easily accessible. There’s also Sustrans, the UK’s national cycling infrastructure company, which publishes a useful guide to help you find a rural route to work or study.
The style of the house is something else to think about. Are you looking for a modern or traditional property? There are plenty of houses available that fit into either category, so you don’t have to settle for something that’s not to your taste. Another thing to keep in mind is the condition of the property. Are the floors solid enough? Is the plumbing functional? These are all important questions that you need to ask yourself before making a purchase. We went for a walk through after seeing an antique furniture store nearby and fell in love with a couple of items that we’d eventually like to incorporate into the house. But for the moment, they’re on a trailer because we don’t have the room. Having said that, our neighborhood is full of old buildings that have been beautifully renovated, so even the style of the house will require some updating.
The furniture in the house is another important consideration. Do you want a dining table that can seat eight or twelve? A nice set of stools for the kitchen or the fireplace to sit next to? Plenty of sofas and armchairs to cosy up in front of the TV? Think about what you need and want for yourself and your family and try to work out a list of requirements. If you have a clear idea of what you need, it will be much easier to find a suitable property. Sturdily built sofas and armchairs would be a good example of what we wanted in our old neighborhood, but we knew that we couldn’t afford them. Once you’ve worked this out, you can begin your search in a more focused way and hopefully come across something that suits your needs. Of course, this assumes that you can find something that suits your needs within your budget. We looked for a good half-hour before settling on a price that we felt comfortable with. It wasn’t until then that we walked out of the furniture store with our purchases. The salesman was delighted that we’d found a place in our price range and even more delighted when we told him that we were adding a second story.
The amenities of the house are yet another important consideration. Is there a pool or a tennis court nearby? A park or a village green? A gym or a spa? Think about all of the things that you like doing in the country and try to create a list of amenities that are available in the area. If you can find a property that has everything that you need in the listing, it’s well worth paying a bit more for. Our local library has an excellent selection of books on almost every subject imaginable, which is something that we like to get involved in when we have time. It’s also a great place for kids to get inspired and develop their imagination.
If you’re looking for a place to escape the heat during the summer, consider the shade. There’s nothing worse than spending a sweltering afternoon in the garden, which is why we invested in a large awning that we can pull down to cover the backyard. Though we can’t cover the whole thing, we can certainly protect a significant portion of it from the sun with our awning. This will undoubtedly save us from overheating and allow us to fully embrace the warm weather. Even better, we can pull the awning up at night to create a cool outdoor space for relaxing and enjoying a drink by the fireplace. Of course, this will depend on the time of day and the weather, but it’s still a great option to have.
Choosing a property that’s suitable for your needs isn’t easy, but with the right information and guidance, it’s certainly achievable. With the benefit of hindsight, we’d have purchased a different property, but at the time, we thought the one that we had chosen was perfect. The process of renovating it was a lot of fun and we’re already looking forward to the next project. If you’re thinking about buying a house in Brighton or another nearby city, give the above advice a go. It will help you make the right choice for yourself and your family.