Home truths

PUBLISHED: 11:36 15 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:36 15 December 2014

Chris White

Chris White


Chris White of Zoe Napier Country & Equestrian helps you find your country idylll

Chris White is head of country houses at Zoe Napier Country & Equestrian. With almost 30 years of local experience, Chris has dealt with some of the finest houses in the county. Zoe Napier Country & Equestrian is well-respected in its field, with a multi award-winning team having a combined experience of more than 100 years and who are dedicated to offering a ‘Best of Breed’ service throughout Essex and south Suffolk.

Moving to the country.

The dream of country living is one which many aspire to, often seeing that dream home as a ‘lifestyle purchase’. The lure of a better quality of life, more opportunity for outdoor pursuits and the chance to get back to nature sounds very appealing. If you are unfamiliar with the areas you are considering, its vitally important to do your homework first; driving around the green lanes of Essex like the proverbial headless chicken can become frustrating when trying to find the best location for your new home. A good local estate agent with in depth knowledge of the patch can offer guidance to where the best hot spots for that perfect country retreat are. Carrying out your own research on important factors such as commuting times, schooling, local amenities and house prices can save a lot of time wasted going off in the wrong direction.

As many country properties have large gardens or land and may not be connected to utilities such as gas or mains drainage, it is important to understand the ongoing cost implications of owning a house in the country. Old solid fuel boilers and leaking cesspits can come as an unwelcome shock to the uninitiated city dweller dreaming of country living, so having a thorough survey and budgeting for any necessary future costs, especially if your chosen house happens to be a listed period cottage,

is a must.


Research the areas and villages which offer the amenities to match your lifestyle, focusing on access to road and rail links, schools and shops.

Have a thorough survey of your potential new home, especially if buying an older property.

Factor in the ongoing cost of looking after a larger garden or land as well as alternative utilities such as oil heating and cesspit drainage.

Seek advice based around your needs from estate agents who are familiar with your chosen locations.


Randomly choose an area without researching nearby facilities first.

Expect local transport links to be as convenient as in larger towns and cities.

Presume you will have a good mobile phone signal or broadband speed, especially f working from home is part of the plan in your new rural lifestyle.

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