Help?

Questions and answers for those considering a move to the Hastings area.
Jenniffer
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:33 pm

Help?

Postby Jenniffer » Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:15 pm

I wonder if anyone can help steer me in the right direction.

I will be moving to St Leonards/Hastings soon, but I have some special needs that I have to consider, so I'm hoping if I describe my situation someone might be able to make some advice.

I have a disability, which means that I can't walk a great deal, so I was hoping to be as South as possible, perhaps near Norman Road, or the other end of Hastings where there are shops. I don't drive either.

I have a small dog. I don't need considerable outside space at all, in fact I'd rather not have much, just enough, even a patio, where he can go when in between walks.

Just a flat, not bothered about how big or grand, just something that will be 'nice' and central. Somewhere where it is mostly privately owned, preferably a period conversion.

I had a quick walk through Hastings. Some bits, further North from the seafront, wouldn't have worked for me. They were either completely in amidst social housing (I live alone), which just worries me for safety reasons and home insurance, and of course the fact that they often felt so far away from the seafront and shops, etc, and I don't want to end up a recluse! I live in the centre of Hove at the moment, which is quite perfect in many ways, but I just can't afford it anymore. The prices are impossible for me and I will have to make a move in the next several months.

I guess I would prefer to be south of the two main stations, somewhere where I wasn't too far away from an independent life and had places to walk my dog, pop into shops, meet people, have a life.

Can anyone suggest areas to look at? Even streets? I don't know where to begin, as even though I've been there I found it a bit difficult to explore thoroughly because I don't get around that easily. Just a flat, in a nice road and building, where I would be able to have some sort of life given my needs and restrictions.

If anyone can steer me in the right direction I will at least know what to look at on Rightmove and try and focus my searches on suitable places. Thanks in advance for any help.

Jenniffer
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:33 pm

Re: Help?

Postby Jenniffer » Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:15 pm

I should mention that I would buy with the equity that I have in the flat here in Hove, I would not be renting. Thanks.

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moonjiver
Posts: 423
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:44 pm
Location: St Leonards-on-Sea

Re: Help?

Postby moonjiver » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:42 am

It's a little difficult to advise you because your requirements seem rather broad at present. And I am no property expert (I'm sure others will fill you in on that) but I can offer some generalisations about the southward areas i.e. towards the seafront.

If you are not very mobile, being far north of the two town centres or the shore would be some handicap, but then there are frequent buses if you don't stray too far from the main routes. Closer to the shore, most of the area westwards from London Road towards West St Leonards is pretty nice and with varying degrees of affordability (both renting and buying). The eastern side of London Road, Warrior Square and on towards Hastings is much more variable and some areas positively dubious after dark!

You might find areas around Hastings town centre rather noisy and less desirable, though probably cheaper. Eastwards to the Old Town, there are many lovely cottages and flats but that whole area is quite expensive.

Really it would be useful to stay briefly in Hastings/St Leonards and look around if you can manage that. It's the best way to get to know an area. Hastings is also very friendly, so if you can summon up the courage to start conversations with people (in the nicer cafes or pubs?), you would be sure to get some helpful responses!

Not very expert advice, but if you keep in touch with the forum and can be more specific with your queries, I'm sure people will be glad to advise.

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Richard
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Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Help?

Postby Richard » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:15 am

I agree with MJ it would be good to chat locally with people near areas you fancy.
Also worth contacting disability organisations in the area, such as http://www.esda.org.uk/index.php?pageID=2014 for advice generally.

Bear in mind that there is a frequent and fairly reliable flow of public transport from Hastings centre to & from St. Leonards, but much less to and from the Old Town.
Always ask the bus driver to lower the floor ramp at the entrance to the bus as they may not always realise you have a disability.

Can't give any advice on Flats except that it would be a good idea to pop into local estate agents (I know some are hopeless but you soon spot the good ones) ask for advice and they should have plenty of ideas and also they can email any suitable stuff that arisises if you sound serious about moving).

I always wonder why older (not necessarily disabled) people often live in bungalows, miles from town, (I guess they live on the bus routes or have a car).

:)

Jenniffer
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:33 pm

Re: Help?

Postby Jenniffer » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:24 pm

Thanks so much for your responses! The Hastings Old Town is out of the question, the prices are so enormous! Not much different from Hove! I think, from what I've seen with my exlorations, that I quite like the area of West St Leonards, nearer Norman Road the better, not east of Warrior Square. I'm not disabled to the point that I need a wheelchair or anything, it's just that on occasion I have balance issues and occasionally need a crutch. I just don't want to have to go far to get to shops, etc. I can walk OK, but not long distances. I notice that some of the flats on the seafront (Eversfield?) seem so reasonable. I never understand this, because the prices on the seafront in Brighton and Hove are the most expensive! Is there a reason that they are so reasonably priced, generally?

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moonjiver
Posts: 423
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:44 pm
Location: St Leonards-on-Sea

Re: Help?

Postby moonjiver » Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:41 pm

Ah, beware of the Eversfield stretch! Along the seafront many of the large old buildings, now converted into flats, seem to be crammed largely with temporary young tenants. Maybe there are issues with noise or property not well-maintained but people seem to be forever moving out (or in some cases obviously evicted) at short notice and furniture, sofas etc. in perfectly good condition are frequently dumped on the pavenent for people to take. Not a good sign.

You need to be careful also about basement flats if you would prefer a yard/small garden. Unfortunately there isn't the same money in Hastings that there is in Hove and landlords/freeholders are bad at maintaining property and dealing with damp problems etc. (almost inevitable in very old Victorian structures). They are not all like that of course - but ask lots of questions before committing!

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Richard
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Re: Help?

Postby Richard » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:31 pm

I agree with that and also find out what share of maintenance costs you are liable for.
Even in property with wealthy residents there may be external agents who manage the property badly and yet charge hefty fees.
In the case of resident freeholders forming their own management company (to cut out the managing agents) flat-owners will disagree bitterly over what needs doing and when and who benefits the most.
For instance, you have damp in the basement and want the problem resolved but it depends on others agreeing to share the costs.
This can lead to acrimonious arguments and interpretations over flat-owner (or lease-holders) responsibilities.
Perhaps better to look for a small well-maintained property with a landord/lady who wants to earn an income from a decent tenant (with no strings attached for you) until you have time to research the market.

Jenniffer
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:33 pm

Re: Help?

Postby Jenniffer » Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:03 pm

Yes I'm beginning to think that renting might be the best option. If you buy, you have either a maintenance company that charges extortionate fees, or you have a group of people who own a share of the freehold and find it impossible to agree on anything, which can lead to stressful and depressing conflict. It seems to me that the best option might be to move further north and attempt to buy a small cottage of some sort, so there is no need to deal with either scenario. I figured there was a reason that Eversfield Place seemed so reasonably priced! I assumed it was probably because it was predominantly rentals and properties owned by people who took little if any interest in maintenance. Plus if it is rather transient I expect it could be quite noisy and you end up depending on sheer luck with regards to who lives alongside you. I have in the past been in that situation, i.e. lived alongside the 'nightmare neighbours' who played loud music til 4AM and would become quite aggressive if you ever requested that they consider their neighbours! I even had a neighbour once that used to try and throw lit cigarettes onto my cat when he was outside on the patio. There was nothing I could do about it and it was awful. He ended up covered in burns on his skin and there was nothing that the police could do about it - "their word against mine" sort of thing, even though I saw it happen on many occasions - it was sort of a 'sport' of theirs! I get the feeling that Eversfield Place is this sort of road that could possibly have these sort of tenancies. Just want a peaceful life! :cry:

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moonjiver
Posts: 423
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:44 pm
Location: St Leonards-on-Sea

Re: Help?

Postby moonjiver » Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:55 am

Unfortunately, there are few cast-iron rules, whether renting or buying. Luck re: neighbours comes into it to a large extent, you can be in a really nice building in a decent area but a badly-behaved neighbour can spoil it.

Re: buying a property, I have a friend who owns a spacious and beautiful flat at White Rock (above the BHF furniture shop). The building seems reasonably maintained but the management fees are hefty for such a nice situation.

Another friend owns a basement flat in a large Victorian building in Dane Road (near Pevensey Road) . The freehold is divided between the residents but there has at times been friction about repair costs. My friend is the only "leasehold" owner, not part of the arrangement, consequently he finds himself marginalised in any negotiations!

If you can afford it, it might well be a good idea to rent a flat temporarily, so as to be able to look around the area properly.

Tarmar
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:37 pm

Re: Help?

Postby Tarmar » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:06 pm

I was in a similar situation, although I was moving down from London. (Yes yes I know). Although I've also lived in Brighton. I'd compare St Leonards to the London Road area of Brighton. You do see a bit of dodginess, but it's also quite interesting, and it's no worse than anywhere else.

I looked at a lot of flats. A *lot*. In my (lower end) price bracket there was a whole spectrum of issues to wade through, so pretty much nothing surprises me now.

Firstly, the seafront flats: A lot of these seemed to have high maintence fees because they a) had lifts; b) had been shaken up during the war and now had structural and/or subsidence issues; or c) the sea air is so corrosive that the seafront flats that bear the brunt need repainting much more often than those that are set a few streets back, hence more redecoration required. Sometimes all three together, and add some! ;-)

At present, the area close to Burtons St Leonards (the west st leonards side of London Road) seems to be more popular than the Warrior Square side. Even the so-called Seven Streets area, with a, let's say, 'less-than-favourable' reputation in the past, is smartening up. Maybe it's the proximity to Norman Road.

Further back from the seafront towards Silverhill is also quite good, and obviously there's the beautiful Maze Hill area, but these are further away from the station if that's an issue for you, and frankly the buses are a right pain. Very infrequent compared to Brighton services, and I've found with my disability they are not the easiest for me to navigate. Not that the trains are any better (I'm looking at you Southern)!

There are a few local maintenance / management companies, that if they manage the block, it is worth steering well clear of. Pm me if you want details.

If course the bigger your budget, the less of these kind of problems you have to deal with. My budget was modest, so I had to learn fast!

Having said all that, please don't be put off. I moved to st leonards 18 months ago and love it. I have a lot more space than I ever had in the cities, and there are also lots of free things to do if you're on a budget.

Pm me if you want more detailed info on streets or anything else. Good luck! :-)


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