Buckinghamshire Escape to the Country


Buckinghamshire

Alistair Appleton gallops through the Buckinghamshire property market in search of the perfect equestrian home for a young couple with a budget of 800,000 pounds.


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Transcript


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Today I'm in a county with beautiful chalky hills,

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a murky connection to Henry VIII's love life,

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and home to these waterfowl, who've been gracing our dinner plates for the last 200 years.

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It's a sort of potent mix of poultry and property on today's Escape To The Country.

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In today's show, I'll be helping a horse-loving couple

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saddle up and make the dream move from town to country.

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-It's your future coming to get you!

-LAUGHTER

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We'll embark on a grand tour of desirable residences...

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If I sat down and had to draw what I wanted, this would be it.

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..and there's our mystery house, which might challenge all their preconceptions.

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Today, we're in Buckinghamshire, and the county town is Aylesbury -

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home to...the Aylesbury duck! And here we have a perfect specimen.

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Lovely white, with this distinctive pink bill.

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-All white ducks are not Aylesbury ducks, though.

-Absolutely not.

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No, it's a misapprehension that if it's white it's Aylesbury.

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In fact, it's a completely different strain to a normal hybrid farm duck.

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Very handsome birds. But Buckinghamshire has a lot more to offer.

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Buckinghamshire is shouldered by Oxfordshire to the West,

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and Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire to the East.

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The south of the county is dominated by the Chiltern Hills.

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Stretching 75 miles across several counties,

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this ridge of chalk and woodland makes an attractive backdrop.

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In the 16th century, Henry VIII made Aylesbury

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the official county town over Buckingham -

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allegedly to curry favour with Thomas Boleyn,

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so he could have his wicked way with his daughter Anne.

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In the 15th century, the area became known for producing bricks.

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Initially, they provided in-fill for the timber-framed houses,

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and later, they were seen in grander properties throughout the country.

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The great thing about Buckinghamshire is its proximity to London.

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You've got beautiful countryside, but commuters can glide elegantly

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into all those West London stations. However, it comes at a price.

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Buckinghamshire is the second most expensive place in the country to buy a house.

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In fact, the average detached property price is a laughable

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87% above the national average, at £457,000.

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Still, as you're about to see, you can get some beautiful properties.

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If Robin and Kirsten had £1.9 million to spend,

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then they might snap up this six-bedroom former watermill

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in Twyford. The grade II listed building dates from the 18th century

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and provides excellent equestrian facilities.

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And there's no shortage of grazing land, as there is 88 acres.

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Alternatively, £695,000 would buy this four-bed timber-framed property

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in Nether Winchendon. Built at the turn of the 20th century

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as an estate worker's cottage,

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the property has undergone much renovation work,

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and now offers contemporary luxury accommodation.

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Or, if you're searching for something unique,

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how about this two-bed former electricity sub-station

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near Burnham. £395,000 buys a slice of a former estate,

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commissioned in 1905 by a Russian prince.

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Designed to resemble a folly or temple,

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the building is truly distinctive.

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As you can see, Buckinghamshire has some beautiful properties on offer,

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but our house-hunting hopefuls today have a very specific home in mind.

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Today's buyers are Robin and Kirsten,

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who live in Woking. They both commute - Robin to London,

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for his work as an IT project manager,

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and Kirsten to Farnborough, for auditing work in defence engineering.

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But they never thought of Woking as a permanent home.

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We moved in in August 2004.

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It's a fairly modern house built in the 1960s -

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detached, four bedrooms, three reception rooms -

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it's in walking distance to Woking mainline station.

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Robin was brought up in the country and is a keen amateur horseman.

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His pride and joy is Killie, who's in stables four miles away,

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but their dream is to have an equestrian property

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-all three can share.

-At the minute, I'm away from home a lot,

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I go to the yard where the horse is, spend at least two or three hours

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per weekend day there. Because Kirsten doesn't have a horse,

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it's difficult for her to get involved.

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Riding's not the only activity they plan to do when they move to the country.

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I'd also like to get a little weekend car, a two-seater sports car,

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and have the space to store it in.

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-What about you?

-Well, I see myself obviously getting a horse

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and being able to actually enjoy Robin's hobby with him.

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I'm also interested in falconry, so I see myself joining a local falconry club

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and becoming more involved that way.

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But the search hasn't just begun - they've been hunting for their ideal horsey home

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for the last 12 months.

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It's just the three elements, I guess - the location, the character

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and the property itself, and then the land that comes with it.

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Those three core elements are difficult for us to find.

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So how different will the new house have to be?

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We're really looking forward to being in a village,

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somewhere with a bit more of a community so we can get to know some people.

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Here's our garage - I want a bigger double garage,

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and I want to store my cars in it. I'm very car proud.

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This is the porch on the way to our front door. All you can see is muddy boots.

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What would be great in our new property is a big utility room -

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somewhere where Robin can put all his dirty boots and horse stuff.

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What's the full list?

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It needs to be a detached property, minimum three bedrooms,

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we need to have the land - so a garden plus sort of three acres

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of grazing land. That land needs to be fairly flat to develop

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some equestrian facilities if they aren't already there.

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And then certainly the house needs to have the kitchen-dining area.

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Four years ago, Robin and Kirsten bought their house for £373,000.

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And despite the difficult market, they've just sold for £445,000.

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So, what's in the coffers for this new house?

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If you find the property that ticks all the boxes for us,

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we've got a maximum of £850,000 to spend.

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It's a sizeable budget, but will they see eye to eye when our search starts?

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The only difficult will be if I really like the house

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-and can't see a problem with the land...

-But I've got an issue with the land.

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-Then we'll have to discuss things!

-Yeah.

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I asked a friend of mine whose daughter had a pony

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what he fed the horse, and he said ten pound notes!

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And it's very true that anything in the equestrian world

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comes with a big price tag attached.

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So Robin wants an equestrian property for £850,000,

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and that's a lot of money in this current market,

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but, in Buckinghamshire, in the commuter belt, with three acres -

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it's still going to be a tight squeeze.

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Robin and Kirsten have already carried out an extensive search

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of Berkshire, but not found anything to their liking.

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So they're now keen to explore Buckinghamshire,

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and our new search will centre on Aylesbury.

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In today's show, I'll be taking them on a tour of three equestrian properties,

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but, as ever, I won't be revealing the price tags straight away.

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The last of the three will be the mystery house, which always has the potential to shake things up.

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-Welcome to Buckinghamshire.

-Thank you.

-The county's put on a lovely morning for us.

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-It's fantastic.

-And this is not even the county that you were looking at,

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-you were more south.

-That's right, more Berkshire way - M3, M4,

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-that sort of area.

-Well, the M40's good! It's a fine motorway!

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It's a good motorway!

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But it's good, you've looked at a lot of properties.

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We've sold ours, so we're keen to buy.

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-We have money burning a hole.

-Well, there's two things there.

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One - absolutely fantastic that you sold it.

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You're like gold dust in the current market.

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And secondly, it meant you'd seen quite a lot of the houses we wanted to show you.

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-Sorry about that!

-Which is partly why we've gone a bit further north.

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Equestrian properties are at a bit of a premium - even in this current market,

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people who want equestrian properties really want them,

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so they do tend to go. So we've sorted out some really nice ones,

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and we are taking you a little out of your comfort zone,

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-so kind of ride with us, as they say!

-OK!

-See what I did there?

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Right! Good. Well, let's get in the car, let's get going.

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Armed with a budget of £850,000,

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Robin and Kirsten want a house with a minimum of three bedrooms,

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a kitchen-diner large enough for entertaining,

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equestrian facilities for at least two horses

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and three acres of land. It's a tall order,

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but, as ever, we'll do our best.

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How are you guys feeling?

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-Looking forward to it.

-I'm excited. Bit apprehensive.

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We've been looking for nine months so I'm not sure that you guys can just find somewhere...

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How dare you! You've thrown down the gauntlet now.

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-We'll all be working extra hard.

-How very dare we!

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What is it that you didn't like about those properties?

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I think we're after something really quite niche, with the land and equestrian aspect,

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so the places we've looked at,

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there's always been something not right - location, not enough land, the house isn't big enough...

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-Yeah.

-Maybe we're too picky!

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We're kicking off our search in Aston Abbotts,

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five miles north of Aylesbury.

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It's a quiet village with an attractive mix of housing stock from thatched cottages

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to more recent dwellings.

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At 468 feet above sea level, there are lovely views to the west

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across the Vale of Aylesbury

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and the many bridleways on offer make this area very popular for horse owners.

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Just a tad north of Aylesbury - I know that was your pain limit.

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What are your thoughts about the look of it?

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-I like it. It looks good.

-She's scratching her chin. Is that good or bad?

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Erm, I think the big sloping roof... Not sure how that will impact the upstairs rooms.

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-That's my initial concern.

-Sure. Shall we look inside?

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Yes. Let's go for it.

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Nice double garage here.

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In you come.

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-This is the entrance hall, which gives a good idea of the tone of the house.

-Yep.

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It's so different to what we're used to. We're not used to so much dark wood.

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-I quite like that it has more character inside than you might have thought from the outside.

-True.

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-It doesn't feel dark, it feels light and airy enough.

-Yeah, it does.

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That's very true in this room. Let's have a look.

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-Open fire place.

-Very nice.

-It's a biggy, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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How do you feel about inglenooks? This is a proper one.

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-An inglenook is where you can sit on either side of the fire.

-Yeah.

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This is a truly, not ancient, but certainly officially an inglenook.

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Yeah, it's what we hoped for and were looking for, as a feature for the sitting room.

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-It gives a nice snug, cosy feeling.

-It does.

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What do you think about the size? Cos this is the main sitting room.

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-It's a good size.

-This is plenty big enough.

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-So far, I'd be happy living here.

-Yeah.

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Well, it flows through into the dining room.

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-Nice big glass door into the garden...

-Yep.

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-Then, this is the dining room.

-Ah.

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It's a big space, a nice space, definitely.

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Yeah, I like it. It's a big room, a good-sized dining room.

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Ultimately, everyone's looking for the kitchen-diner these days,

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-so let's look at the kitchen.

-OK.

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-Kitchen, always the acid test of any house.

-Yep.

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-How does it fare?

-Good size.

-It's like a big, square, open room

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that you would ideally have as a kitchen.

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Yeah, it feels open enough and light. Certainly big enough.

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The view over the garden is nice.

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Lots of light, windows everywhere. These are nice oak-fronted, arts-and-crafts units.

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Would you get rid of those?

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-I actually like the style to be honest.

-What is your style of interior?

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I don't know, would you go contemporary? Old?

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We're quite contemporary but...

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-We're trying a bit more character.

-Yeah!

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-Trying so hard!

-We think we ought to be.

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-"Cos we like horses, better have some wood."

-Exactly!

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What's nice is that you have a nice little breakfast bar and if you want to poke your head through,

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there's a utility room so you've got oodles more space.

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-Perfect.

-Yes, this is fantastic.

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This is what we want - somewhere we can come from outside, kick off our muddy boots,

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-clean out before we go in the main house.

-Yeah, this is great.

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-Happy downstairs?

-I can see myself living here very easily.

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-It's a very characterful house, even though it's quite young.

-It is.

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You were worried about the space upstairs so let's take a look.

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It seems like we got off to a good start.

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Just off the hall is the study which will be useful if they ever want to work from home,

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and there's a cloakroom too.

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Now for the upstairs. Just in front of us is the family bathroom,

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which they may want to update, and there's plenty of space for guests,

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as this house has five bedrooms.

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Two of them are singles, one of which is currently used as a library

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and then there are two small doubles, which would be fine for their weekend visitors.

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I want to show you the master bedroom which I think is very handsome.

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This is great, yeah. A really good size.

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How do you feel about the sloping roof and the size of the room?

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Erm...obviously got the built-in cupboards here.

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Got a walk-in...

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They've disguised the sloping roof really well.

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-There's a lot of attic space as well, which is good.

-There is...

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And ta-da!

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-En suite, yeah.

-Very nice en suite.

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It's a good size.

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Well, this is great.

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-And this one's been done up recently, so you probably wouldn't have to do this again.

-No.

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No, it works. It's nice and white.

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-Clean. I love the separate shower. It's good.

-Yeah, it's good.

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What do you think? I'm liking it.

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Yeah, I'm liking it. I think any change we would make would be very cosmetic.

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-We could just move in.

-We could. It all just works.

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Too well, maybe!

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Ah, you want a challenge, don't you? Don't worry, we'll give you challenges!

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-But you're not really buying the house. You're interested in the land with the horses.

-Yes.

-Yes.

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Let's go outside.

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Well, Kirsten seems happy to move right in. I hope the outdoor space will suit Robin.

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It's one of many exits into the garden, which is a good thing, as the garden is lovely.

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I think so. What do you think?

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Very nice.

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It's a very good size.

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Looks fairly easy to maintain, I'd say.

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Yeah, it's a good size for us, I think.

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And you can get a sit-on the lawn mower?

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-Isn't that what every boy wants?!

-Exactly. Everyone wants to sit on the lawn mower.

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Through very nice copper beach hedge.

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Come with me and enter your very own universe of horse.

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Ta-da!

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-Horses!

-Horses!

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So, we've got space to put an arena in.

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The fence here is the limit of your paddock and this fence at the back,

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and you can just see on the brow of the hill at the far corner.

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-That's the extent of it. It's two and a half acres.

-OK.

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So, it's a bit under what you were looking for but we need to know now whether that's sufficient.

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Sufficient for you, isn't it?!

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I always want more and more. But I can see how it would work with a stable block there.

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I'm not sure if you could fit the menage in, in the rest of that corner,

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but there's plenty of room elsewhere to put it, and I'd say it would work.

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So, how much do you think it's worth?

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-Ha!

-Million dollar question.

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It's not a million dollars.

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I'm going to go in at...hmmm...

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-835.

-Ah.

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Wow! That's a big difference, I'm going to go a hell of a lot lower

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and I'm thinking, because of the location and the amount of land,

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and the size of the house,

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I was thinking more 740.

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-Ooh.

-Right.

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-You're saying because of the location, because it's not near where you want it?

-Probably!

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I'm afraid it's right at the top of your budget - it's 850.

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-So I was close.

-You were.

-Of course, you've got to remember, this is the market price now,

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but you know that the market is very much geared towards you guys,

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so you're in the power seat.

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Why don't you have a look around the grounds, have a look at the soil, take some soil samples...

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Have another peak indoors and when you've had your fill,

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-we'll meet at the front and then we'll press on.

-OK.

-Thanks.

-Thanks.

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Phew! I thought that would be a close shave with the acreage,

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because they were very desperate to have lots of space and it's a little bit short,

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and it's our first property. Usually people hate our first property,

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but it's been a blinding success!

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At £850,000, this house is on the money.

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Having this access directly from the road would work really well.

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When we first arrived at this property,

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I wasn't quite sure...

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what I was gonna make of it. It certainly didn't have the kerb appeal.

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But coming inside, I really like it.

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-I think this is probably my favourite room.

-Do you?

-Yeah.

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The fireplace is certainly a magnificent feature.

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It doesn't have everything we want. There's no equestrian facilities in place.

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So we'd have to spend money doing that.

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I do like it. I think if we can work with the land, yeah, possibly a contender.

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-Hello!

-Hi there.

0:18:260:18:27

-All done?

-Yes, all finished.

-Good. Let's press on.

0:18:270:18:30

Let's not rest on our horsey laurels.

0:18:300:18:33

Robin and Kirsten can't wait to make their move to the country

0:18:390:18:44

so they're taking some time to explore what would be on their doorstep.

0:18:440:18:47

While Aylesbury is famous for ducks, it has a more serious past.

0:18:470:18:51

The town played a vital role in the English Civil War,

0:18:510:18:54

when John Hampden raised his regimental quota from his Buckinghamshire tenants,

0:18:540:19:00

more commonly known as the Greencoats, from the colour of their jackets.

0:19:000:19:03

-What do you think?

-Yeah, I like it. It's peaceful, it's got everything we need here really.

0:19:030:19:08

But it still feels rural.

0:19:080:19:09

Six miles west of Aylesbury is Waddesdon Manor.

0:19:090:19:12

Built in the neo-Renaissance style of a French chateau in the late 19th century,

0:19:120:19:16

for the famed banking Rothschild family.

0:19:160:19:20

It's an incredible statement of this county's past wealth and the beautiful gardens were the work

0:19:200:19:25

of the French garden designer, Elie Laine, and resemble those of the Loire valley.

0:19:250:19:30

-Look at the view.

-It's amazing. Our new house is down there somewhere.

0:19:300:19:34

For a taste of the local brew, Robin and Kirsten are heading south

0:19:340:19:38

to the oldest independent micro brewery in the Chilterns.

0:19:380:19:41

-Hi, I'm Robin.

-Tom Jenkinson.

-Hi, Tom.

0:19:410:19:43

His family have been running this business since 1980.

0:19:430:19:46

So this is into the heart of the brewery.

0:19:460:19:49

The brew house is where it all starts and the first job is testing the barley.

0:19:490:19:54

You'll find that for the rest of the day you'll be trying to get the little husks out of your teeth!

0:19:540:19:59

And of course the best part is saved for last, the tasting.

0:19:590:20:02

We've got the barley wine. So, I hope you've enjoyed the tour

0:20:020:20:05

-and I hope you manage to find a place in the area.

-Thank you very much.

-Thanks for showing us around.

0:20:050:20:10

Our next house is in the village of Hockcliffe, just across the border into Bedfordshire.

0:20:150:20:20

Woburn is just four miles away and is in an unspoilt village known for its many Georgian buildings,

0:20:200:20:25

independent shops and cobbled streets. It's also the place for picking up a few antiques

0:20:250:20:30

which might help Robin and Kirsten achieve the period charm they're looking for.

0:20:300:20:35

One mile outside Hockcliffe, our next house is approached via a long, winding drive.

0:20:350:20:40

So this is the property I want to show you.

0:20:410:20:43

Now, it's a fascinating property. If you noticed, as we came in there was a stately house on the hill.

0:20:430:20:50

This used to be the barn, the stable and the cottage.

0:20:500:20:52

It's an extraordinary plot of land, which we'll look at later.

0:20:520:20:56

But a very beautiful house. First impressions?

0:20:560:21:00

I think when we first came up, because the house is hidden down, we didn't quite know what to expect

0:21:000:21:06

but seeing, um, it's a good-looking house.

0:21:060:21:08

-You don't really get much of an idea. We need to go inside.

-OK.

0:21:080:21:12

Eyes right, don't look up there yet. Concentrate on the house.

0:21:150:21:20

That's the entrance hall but let's go straight into the former barn.

0:21:220:21:26

Ta dah!

0:21:270:21:29

What do you think of it?

0:21:290:21:32

-For me it lacks something, I think.

-Yeah, it's quite...

-It just does seem just like a big space.

0:21:320:21:37

There's no sort of one anything that I'm focusing on, it seem to be just a big room.

0:21:370:21:41

I'm just trying to imagine our furniture in here and how we would use it.

0:21:410:21:46

-We would have to make more...

-More of the fireplace.

-Make that more of a feature.

0:21:460:21:50

Let's look at the other side of the house, the dining room and the kitchen.

0:21:500:21:54

The dining room is large and flooded with light from the patio doors which lead to the garden.

0:21:540:21:58

Next door is the kitchen.

0:21:580:22:00

-Nice and sunny.

-Yeah.

-Got a nice range. There's also a regular hob as well.

-OK.

0:22:000:22:07

What do you think about this room?

0:22:070:22:10

I'm on tenterhooks.

0:22:100:22:11

For me, it's not big enough. It's open plan enough for, the kitchen.

0:22:110:22:15

I know there's a table there but if people were cooking in here, it would just get in the way.

0:22:150:22:20

-Um, so, yeah.

-You're an all or nothing sort of a guy.

-I am, absolutely, black and white.

0:22:200:22:26

Good to know. We could save ourselves a lot of time.

0:22:260:22:30

-That's why you've seen so many properties, isn't it?

-Yeah, probably.

0:22:300:22:33

No, I don't like the guttering. Not buying that one.

0:22:330:22:37

What about you, Kirsten? You seem more level-headed.

0:22:370:22:40

I... I agree, I think we are looking for a kitchen/diner and although yes, there's a small table in here,

0:22:400:22:47

-you wouldn't entertain in this room.

-Sure.

-So...

0:22:470:22:50

This room may not be hitting the mark but at least there's a decent-sized utility room,

0:22:500:22:55

which could easily tuck away all their tack and boots.

0:22:550:22:58

And also just off the kitchen is a staircase that leads up to two bedrooms

0:22:580:23:02

that are currently used as offices. But I'm hoping I can win them over

0:23:020:23:06

with the upstairs of the main part of the house.

0:23:060:23:09

-There's a landing, a proper landing to sit and read in.

-And a view.

0:23:090:23:12

A view. But it's in a dip. It's low down and you just can't see out.

0:23:120:23:16

-You like to be high up with elevations.

-I like to see my land.

-See you land.

0:23:160:23:23

Well, horses like to be on hills so maybe it's rubbing off on Robin.

0:23:230:23:27

Moving swiftly on, there are three large double bedrooms up here,

0:23:270:23:31

the second of which has its own en-suite shower room.

0:23:310:23:35

And then of course, there's the family bathroom.

0:23:350:23:38

But I'm interested in showing them what would be theirs.

0:23:380:23:41

Into the master suite. An enormous walk-in wardrobe.

0:23:410:23:46

-Fantastic.

-Like that.

0:23:460:23:48

En suite.

0:23:480:23:50

I mean, it's always been my dream to have such a large master bedroom with dressing room and the en suite.

0:23:510:23:57

I mean, yeah, it's great for me. It's everything I would want for a bedroom. It's lovely.

0:23:570:24:02

You're remaining tight-lipped, Robin!

0:24:020:24:04

For me, the master bedroom isn't the be-all and end-all, so it doesn't buy the house for me.

0:24:060:24:13

-Sure.

-There's too much missing.

-Sure, the missing hill!

-The missing hill.

0:24:130:24:17

If only you'd told us you were a hill dweller.

0:24:170:24:20

Well, it's interesting that you mention hill dwelling

0:24:200:24:24

because even though the house is at the bottom of the valley,

0:24:240:24:27

you own the top of the hill. Let's go that way.

0:24:270:24:30

The path up the hill starts here. All these steps and landscaping was done

0:24:370:24:41

when they moved into the property, 20 plus years ago,

0:24:410:24:44

-because they are fanatical gardeners.

-They sure are.

0:24:440:24:48

How do you feel? Is this all too much?

0:24:500:24:53

-It's a little...

-It's way too much, let's be honest. Yeah. We couldn't maintain this.

0:24:530:24:58

Oh dear and they haven't seen it all yet.

0:24:580:25:01

After this formal garden, there's another area with raised beds and greenhouses

0:25:010:25:06

but I think I'd better start talking horses very quickly.

0:25:060:25:10

Up here, you've got an old workshop and the greenhouse

0:25:100:25:15

-but what you've got is solid footings throughout.

-Yeah. Good foundations.

0:25:150:25:19

-This would be a perfect area for stables.

-Yeah.

-Because this is right next to the paddock.

-Hey!

0:25:190:25:27

Well, it sounds like that gets the thumbs up.

0:25:280:25:31

Here it is! Finally, your paddock.

0:25:310:25:33

The house sits on a five-acre plot, four of which belong to the paddock.

0:25:330:25:37

-You've got a smile on your face now.

-You can tell, I'm happier.

0:25:370:25:41

This is good, I'm liking this. This is a good sized plot of land.

0:25:410:25:44

I could be wining them over but I feel that Robin is still holding back.

0:25:440:25:48

You were smiling a second ago and now it's disappeared.

0:25:480:25:51

Well, I liked it initially because I can't deny this is a great spot

0:25:510:25:55

and then I remembered about the house.

0:25:550:25:57

-It's almost a shame that the house isn't up here and the horses can be down there.

-Yeah.

0:25:570:26:01

That would've been a lot better.

0:26:010:26:03

Well, it's s big, big plot of land. Obviously a pretty ambitious garden, if you're that way inclined.

0:26:030:26:09

How much do you think it's worth?

0:26:090:26:12

Oh... Shall I tell you what I'm prepared to pay for it?

0:26:120:26:16

How much do you think it's on the market for?

0:26:160:26:18

OK, so it's nicely done out inside

0:26:180:26:22

and I think it would be on for probably more than our budget.

0:26:220:26:28

Probably... 875.

0:26:280:26:31

I'm going to go a bit higher. I'd go for 895.

0:26:340:26:39

-Good because you're both wrong! It's on at 850.

-Oh!

-In budget.

-OK.

0:26:400:26:45

-Still, like naughty school children, I'm going to send you back to have another look.

-We're off.

0:26:450:26:50

-Take another look, you might change your mind.

-Thank you.

-Thanks.

0:26:500:26:54

At £850,000, this house is bang on budget but sadly for Robin, not on a hill.

0:26:540:26:59

It has:

0:26:590:27:01

Walking up to it, I thought it was a really pretty property.

0:27:100:27:14

It was just a shame for me that it was hidden down in this dip.

0:27:140:27:16

I do really like the space in this room and would be great for a party.

0:27:160:27:21

Really well kept order. You wouldn't have to do anything to the property.

0:27:210:27:25

-The master bedroom has got everything that you really want.

-I know. It is, definitely.

0:27:250:27:29

For our needs, for an equestrian property, I'm struggling to see how I could make the land work.

0:27:290:27:34

Formal gardens, I can obviously appreciate, very nice but would be absolutely wastes on us.

0:27:340:27:41

-I was just pondering the future of this garden.

-Were you?

0:27:430:27:46

-Are you going to be looking after it?

-We're not.

-I don't think so.

-It's safe!

0:27:460:27:50

With Buckinghamshire's rich regal history,

0:27:550:27:59

Kirsten's passion for falconry should be well served.

0:27:590:28:02

With a course already under her belt, she's keen to learn more.

0:28:020:28:05

'We've come to meet Max, a peregrine falcon, and his owner Alan.'

0:28:050:28:11

-Hello, Alan.

-Hello there.

-How are you?

-Fine, thank you.

0:28:110:28:14

'Alan's been handling birds for over 30 years.'

0:28:140:28:17

-What kind of falcon is he?

-He's a Lanner falcon cross Peregrine.

0:28:170:28:20

'Alan has also brought along some of his prize birds, including one of the smallest - American Kestrel.

0:28:200:28:26

'But it's Max who's going to stretch his wings today.'

0:28:260:28:30

-Can he fly?

-Yes.

-Can we see him do some business?

0:28:300:28:33

We'll stoop into the lure, just a leather pad.

0:28:330:28:36

-Stoop him to the lure. Great terminology.

-Yeah.

0:28:360:28:38

-Great. Let's do that then.

-OK.

0:28:380:28:41

Stooping to the lure provides training for the birds to prepare them for hunting.

0:28:410:28:47

WHISTLES

0:28:470:28:48

'The lure is a soft pad which has food attached to it,

0:28:480:28:51

'is swung to represent a live catch.'

0:28:510:28:53

He's so fast.

0:28:530:28:56

He's amazing.

0:29:000:29:01

-THEY LAUGH

-So beautiful.

0:29:010:29:04

WHISTLES

0:29:040:29:06

He's gonna get it this time.

0:29:060:29:07

Yeah!

0:29:080:29:09

-Amazing!

-It was unreal.

-Fantastic.

0:29:110:29:14

Now I know what it is to stoop.

0:29:140:29:16

Whooom!

0:29:160:29:18

Well done, Max. That was a sterling show.

0:29:180:29:21

Absolutely beautiful.

0:29:210:29:23

Bravo, Max.

0:29:230:29:24

Can we have a go with the hawks?

0:29:240:29:26

-Yes, certainly.

-Not doing the stooping?

0:29:260:29:28

No, we can just fly them backwards and forwards. See what happens.

0:29:280:29:32

'Flying from the perch trains the bird to return to the handler.

0:29:320:29:36

'Let's hope Jimmy the hawk returns to us.'

0:29:360:29:39

-Kirsten's go the glove on already.

-Yes!

-Let's do it.

0:29:390:29:42

Right, OK.

0:29:420:29:43

Hold your hand there.

0:29:490:29:51

WHISTLES

0:29:510:29:53

He's not as heavy as I thought he would be.

0:29:550:29:57

No, he weighs 1 lb 5 ounces.

0:29:570:30:00

That's about average for a male Harris hawk.

0:30:000:30:03

The female is always the biggest bird.

0:30:030:30:06

Next up, it's Robin's go.

0:30:060:30:07

WHISTLES

0:30:090:30:10

I think Jimmy's the star.

0:30:140:30:16

-Just use under the thumb?

-That's it, under the thumb.

0:30:160:30:19

-I didn't have him under my thumb after all.

-THEY LAUGH

0:30:190:30:24

Well, I'd love to spend all day here with Jimmy and the birds,

0:30:240:30:27

but we have property to stoop and conquer.

0:30:270:30:30

So before you and we get fed up,

0:30:300:30:32

-thank you very much.

-You're welcome.

-It's been a pleasure.

0:30:320:30:35

-Brilliant.

-Thanks, Alan.

-Thank you very much.

-Bye bye.

0:30:350:30:39

As the day draws to a close in Buckinghamshire,

0:30:420:30:45

Robin and Kirsten get a chance to relax and consider the properties they've seen so far.

0:30:450:30:50

-What did you think of that house?

-Yeah, I really liked it. Clearly!

0:30:500:30:54

When we first arrived, I was unsure about what it looked like from the outside

0:30:540:30:59

and what the space inside would be like but when we walked in, and we saw the beams...

0:30:590:31:04

-The inglenook fireplace...

-It made it. The only problem for me, A, the amount of land

0:31:040:31:10

and B, there's no equestrian facilities there currently so we'd have to put in the menage,

0:31:100:31:15

the stables, a barn. And I'm thinking it's already at the top of end of our budget.

0:31:150:31:18

-What about the place with the gardens?

-It was almost in a little dip and there were no views

0:31:180:31:24

-from the downstairs rooms whatsoever.

-But then there was the big paddock.

-Yeah.

0:31:240:31:30

But it doesn't compensate for the house

0:31:300:31:32

because it's going to be the horses spending their time there, not us.

0:31:320:31:36

I think there have been some very good positives, a few negatives. Really excited about tomorrow.

0:31:360:31:41

-Yeah, I can't wait.

-So, cheers.

-Here's to tomorrow.

0:31:410:31:44

Robin and Kirsten from Woking are looking to break free from the confines of town-living

0:31:540:31:59

and settle in an equestrian property in Buckinghamshire.

0:31:590:32:02

They have a budget of £850,000

0:32:020:32:05

and so far they've viewed two properties. And coming up...

0:32:050:32:09

I could feel my fingers going. I want it, I want it.

0:32:090:32:11

Then finally, the mystery house that bucks all the trends

0:32:110:32:15

and is a sensible option.

0:32:150:32:16

Very interesting day yesterday. They loved the house I thought they would be so-so about

0:32:180:32:23

and they hated the house I thought they'd love. So slightly different tack today.

0:32:230:32:28

I'm going to press on on the period front because it was interesting,

0:32:280:32:31

yesterday, they wanted to feel more grown up.

0:32:310:32:34

So we're going to show them a very grown up property and with the other, I think we're going to test

0:32:340:32:39

whether they want to get into so much debt.

0:32:390:32:41

Our first house this morning is in Leckhampstead,

0:32:450:32:48

four miles east of Buckingham.

0:32:480:32:49

Deanshanger, just a couple of miles away,

0:32:490:32:52

grew up around the ironworks, which date back to 1820.

0:32:520:32:56

Today, only the workers' cottages survive,

0:32:560:32:58

but the history lives on in the road names.

0:32:580:33:00

Many of the houses sit around the village green along with the pub,

0:33:000:33:04

where Robin and Kirsten could meet their new neighbours.

0:33:040:33:08

This is the house I want to show you.

0:33:100:33:13

-You wanted period.

-Yes.

-I've given you period.

-You sure have.

0:33:130:33:18

THEY LAUGH

0:33:180:33:20

It's two cottages originally that were joined together.

0:33:200:33:23

-Probably from the end of the 1600s.

-OK.

0:33:230:33:25

-What are your first impressions?

-Very pretty.

0:33:250:33:27

Yeah, I like it. It's very chocolate box.

0:33:270:33:30

So, slightly unusually,

0:33:300:33:32

-I thought I'd show you the outside first...

-OK.

0:33:320:33:35

-..then take a look inside. Does that sound all right?

-Sounds good.

0:33:350:33:38

To be honest, I think you'd probably want to do a bit of work inside

0:33:380:33:42

and I don't want to put you off cos I know that first sign of trouble,

0:33:420:33:46

-you're out of here!

-I'm out!

0:33:460:33:47

'I'm hoping this strategy will win them over. First stop is the garden.'

0:33:470:33:51

Tum-ta-ta-tum-ta!

0:33:510:33:55

-Wow!

-Beautiful, isn't it?

0:33:550:33:58

I could feel my fingers going. I want it, I want it.

0:33:580:34:01

That's what I want - grabby fingers!

0:34:010:34:03

-I don't want push-away fingers.

-No.

0:34:030:34:05

-This just looks immaculate.

-Yeah.

-Perfect.

0:34:050:34:08

These are the formal gardens. And this is just a big sit-on mower job.

0:34:080:34:13

THEY LAUGH

0:34:130:34:14

Even better.

0:34:140:34:16

-Not too much to look after.

-No.

0:34:160:34:18

-But there's a lot more.

-OK.

-OK.

0:34:180:34:20

KIRSTEN LAUGHS A pool!

0:34:220:34:25

Wow!

0:34:250:34:26

A pool. You get hidden extras in this house.

0:34:260:34:29

-I didn't want just a view.

-THEY LAUGH

0:34:290:34:33

-This is a proper leisure house. I'm liking it.

-Yeah.

0:34:330:34:36

Do you like a pool? Some people are scared off. This is a beautiful one.

0:34:360:34:39

Our nephews would love it.

0:34:390:34:41

Oh, you'd be so popular!

0:34:410:34:43

Good. Well, there's barbecue space.

0:34:430:34:46

-I know you like that.

-I do indeed.

-There's another water feature over there.

0:34:460:34:50

-This is what we're interested in.

-A tennis court. Wow!

-Do you play?

0:34:500:34:54

-I haven't, but I have friends who play.

-We will.

-Yeah, definitely.

0:34:540:34:58

-Yeah.

-Is that a stable block?

0:34:580:35:00

-That's your stable block.

-THEY LAUGH

0:35:000:35:03

-To use a good Northern phrase - this is bob-on.

-Bob-on.

0:35:030:35:06

'Well, that's a new one on me, but it's great to get this reaction.'

0:35:060:35:10

And here's the horsey bit.

0:35:100:35:12

-Oh, yes!

-Oh, yes!

0:35:120:35:14

-It looks big, actually.

-They don't use it for horses...

0:35:140:35:19

-but it's built for that in mind.

-Yeah.

0:35:190:35:21

We'll have a look at that later, but let's look at the paddock. It's about three acres.

0:35:210:35:25

It takes us up to the hedge there.

0:35:250:35:27

That's all yours and the fence along there. Is it adequate to your horse-rearing needs?

0:35:270:35:32

-This is just fantastic.

-If I had to sit down and draw what I wanted, this would be it.

0:35:320:35:38

Yeah. You can't really fault it. It's fine.

0:35:380:35:41

We're going to have a look at the house too.

0:35:410:35:43

-Before we do, poke your head in there and see if it's adequate.

-All right. Let's have a look.

0:35:430:35:48

Yes!

0:35:500:35:51

Very good. That's quite pleasing.

0:35:510:35:53

It's quite good. I'm working with Robin's psychology.

0:35:530:35:56

If he saw something he didn't like, he'd be, "I'm not interested."

0:35:560:36:00

So I showed him the things I knew he'd like

0:36:000:36:03

because the house needs a little work to make it what they're looking for.

0:36:030:36:06

Although it's very period.

0:36:060:36:09

You can see where you'd put the back of the stables by that beam.

0:36:100:36:13

-Yeah.

-Do I have to drag you away?

0:36:130:36:15

-THEY LAUGH

-I know you'd like to live in here.

0:36:150:36:18

Still planning it out.

0:36:180:36:20

I think it's safe to say that Robin and his horse will be happy here.

0:36:200:36:24

'Let's hope he doesn't bolt when he gets inside.'

0:36:240:36:27

Come on in. I'm really looking forward to hearing your first impressions.

0:36:270:36:32

-Oh!

-In here.

0:36:340:36:35

OK.

0:36:350:36:37

Initially, I'm thinking,

0:36:370:36:39

"It's really low and dark and small." But, em...

0:36:390:36:42

Now I'm in, I'm quite liking it. Yeah.

0:36:420:36:46

-That surprises me.

-Does it?

0:36:460:36:48

It surprises me as well.

0:36:480:36:50

-I'm so unpredictable.

-What about you, Kirsten?

0:36:500:36:54

I'm liking it. I'm liking that we've got the fireplace still.

0:36:540:36:57

Obviously lots of character.

0:36:570:37:00

-Mmm.

-I'm liking the idea of sitting here, sort of cosy evenings.

0:37:000:37:04

Mmm. Yeah.

0:37:040:37:05

-Tons of character.

-I'll be honest,

0:37:050:37:08

-I think you'll want to do quite a lot around the kitchen-dining area.

-All right.

0:37:080:37:12

-But let's just nip upstairs cos there's interesting stuff up there.

-OK.

0:37:120:37:16

'The lounge is open-plan to the dining room

0:37:160:37:19

'and is certainly characterful.

0:37:190:37:21

'The staircase leads up to a quirky warren of rooms.

0:37:220:37:26

'Just to our left is the smallest of the three bedrooms.

0:37:260:37:29

'The third of which is on the ground floor.

0:37:290:37:32

'The family bathroom is just across the landing.'

0:37:320:37:35

Nice big bath, double sinks.

0:37:350:37:37

A toilet in that little door there.

0:37:370:37:39

DOOR CREAKS Toilet in the cupboard.

0:37:390:37:43

THEY LAUGH

0:37:430:37:45

So it's slightly quirky.

0:37:470:37:49

-It is, yeah.

-Ah, I love it.

-Do you?

-It's great, yeah.

0:37:490:37:52

You ARE surprising me today.

0:37:520:37:54

ALL LAUGH

0:37:540:37:56

-Kirsten, what do you feel?

-My first impression, I like the style of it.

0:37:560:38:01

You're just waiting to see how the layout works.

0:38:010:38:04

-For me, it's the layout.

-Sure. It is quite unorthodox.

0:38:040:38:07

It'll make more sense when we see the master bedroom.

0:38:070:38:11

So this is the master bedroom. What do you reckon?

0:38:120:38:17

-It's good. It's a surprise. It's bigger than I was expecting.

-It's a good size, isn't it.

0:38:170:38:22

-And it's lighter too.

-Yeah, double aspect.

0:38:220:38:24

-You've got light coming from both sides.

-Views out the windows.

-The precious views.

-Both sides.

0:38:240:38:31

-What do you think about upstairs?

-It's manageable for us two, the present layout.

-Definitely.

0:38:310:38:38

-Good. Grounds are good, downstairs is good. Upstairs is good.

-Tick!

0:38:380:38:43

-Kitchen! Let's look at the kitchen.

-Go on then.

0:38:430:38:45

'They seem to be open-minded. I wonder how the kitchen will fare?'

0:38:450:38:49

In my new strategy of saving the bits you're probably going to like least till last...

0:38:490:38:54

-Mm-hm.

-..this is the kitchen.

0:38:540:38:57

-Good views.

-Yeah, you can see right out. I like that.

0:38:590:39:03

-It's probably not what you were after.

-No.

-A big kitchen/diner.

0:39:030:39:08

No, but there's obviously space for a little breakfast bar in here.

0:39:080:39:12

It's not completely separate to where we can actually eat.

0:39:120:39:15

Um...

0:39:150:39:17

-But...there is good news.

-Oh!

0:39:170:39:19

Because, next door, for no apparent reason, is a bathroom.

0:39:190:39:26

Obviously(!)

0:39:260:39:28

This second bathroom is a bit of a luxury,

0:39:280:39:30

and with the correct permissions, could be knocked through, giving Kirsten the kitchen/diner she wants.

0:39:300:39:37

-Are we excited now?

-Very.

0:39:370:39:38

Absolutely. I think, ah, honestly, it would work so well.

0:39:380:39:44

Excellent.

0:39:440:39:45

Let's go outside and talk about how much it costs.

0:39:450:39:48

Just next door to this bathroom is the third and final bedroom,

0:39:480:39:52

which has the luxury of an en suite.

0:39:520:39:56

And off the hallway there is also a second reception room,

0:39:560:39:59

complete with an inglenook fireplace. We're heading outside via the conservatory.

0:39:590:40:04

We've come full circle, back into the garden.

0:40:040:40:06

So it's a great property.

0:40:060:40:09

-And I'm glad that we've managed to show it to you.

-Yes.

0:40:090:40:12

What do you think it's worth?

0:40:120:40:15

I think you're going to kill our budget with this one.

0:40:150:40:18

It's got the pool, tennis court,

0:40:180:40:21

it's got the land we want, it's got so much character.

0:40:210:40:25

Um, so, 930?

0:40:250:40:28

Hmm. I think you've definitely gone over our budget.

0:40:280:40:32

I'm going to go for 895.

0:40:330:40:36

-You're very close. It's actually on the market for 890.

-Ah!

0:40:360:40:41

And the good news is there are indications that they'll take serious offers.

0:40:410:40:45

-That's encouraging.

-Definitely.

-You're suppressing a smile there.

-Yeah, I am!

0:40:450:40:51

I think you might want to have another look around.

0:40:510:40:54

-I'm only giving you ten minutes, cos we've got more things to do.

-OK!

0:40:540:40:59

At £890,000, this house may be over-budget,

0:40:590:41:03

but as they are not in a chain, it makes them attractive buyers.

0:41:030:41:07

It has...

0:41:070:41:11

If I had a list of what I'm looking for in a property,

0:41:150:41:18

this place has got to tick off almost all of them, I'd say.

0:41:180:41:23

The entrance is nice. It's pretty. I think I'd say, "chocolate boxy".

0:41:230:41:27

It's warm in here. The views onto your own land, it's incredible.

0:41:270:41:31

We've already got a stable block, we don't need to do much work,

0:41:310:41:35

just a few breeze block walls.

0:41:350:41:36

Big contender, this one. Yeah, this has got everything.

0:41:360:41:40

Guys?

0:41:450:41:46

-Hi.

-Ah, good. Come on.

0:41:460:41:48

-You still in a positive frame of mind?

-Yes.

-Very good.

0:41:480:41:52

If it's not horses, it's horsepower that holds Robin's interest.

0:41:570:42:02

When he moves to the country, he's keen to buy a sports car to make the most of those winding country lanes.

0:42:020:42:07

To put him on the right road, we've arranged for him and Kirsten to meet Brent Chiswick.

0:42:070:42:12

-Hi. I'm Brent.

-Hello. Robin.

0:42:120:42:13

'He runs a local car club

0:42:130:42:15

-'that meets twice a month.'

-Do you have to have a car to join the club?

0:42:150:42:18

No, anybody can. You can just be an enthusiast.

0:42:180:42:20

Do you do track work with them?

0:42:200:42:22

Yes, we do. It's really the only place that you can use these cars properly.

0:42:220:42:27

Drive up, spin round and drive home again.

0:42:270:42:29

Absolutely. Apart from standing talking about the cars,

0:42:290:42:33

-the best thing to do is actually drive them. Shall we go and have a drive?

-Absolutely!

0:42:330:42:37

This is what I've been looking forward to.

0:42:370:42:40

ENGINE ROARS

0:42:410:42:43

-ENGINE ROARS

-That is a good noise!

0:42:520:42:55

It's kind of addictive, isn't it?

0:43:040:43:07

This is great fun as long as you stay within the speed limits like us.

0:43:070:43:11

OK, how was it?

0:43:150:43:16

-Fantastic, Brent. I really enjoyed the drive.

-Good.

0:43:160:43:19

I can't wait till I get one of these for my own.

0:43:190:43:22

-We'll look forward to having you as a member.

-Thanks.

0:43:220:43:25

Generally, I'm happy with their reaction to that house with a pool,

0:43:270:43:31

because I think they might go for it. But two things are preying on my mind.

0:43:310:43:35

One is Robin being slightly panicky about it all being too perfect

0:43:350:43:40

and the second is, do a young, early-30s couple

0:43:400:43:45

really want to mortgage themselves for a big massive house with a tennis court and a pool,

0:43:450:43:50

that really belongs to someone a bit older?

0:43:500:43:52

So, the mystery house is a happy compromise.

0:43:520:43:55

What do you think the mystery house is going to be?

0:43:570:44:01

-Hmm.

-Good question. A mobile home with planning permission?

0:44:010:44:05

It'll be something that uses our imagination, I'd say.

0:44:050:44:08

Yeah, certainly not a formally set up, ready to rock and roll equestrian property.

0:44:080:44:15

They could be closer to the truth than they think.

0:44:150:44:17

It's time to reveal that our mystery house is in Stockgrove Park

0:44:190:44:23

12 miles from Aylesbury.

0:44:230:44:25

Nearby Heath and Reach would offer Robin and Kirsten day-to-day essentials,

0:44:250:44:30

including a pub. Back in Stockgrove Park,

0:44:300:44:33

our mystery house is part of a former estate and sits among 80 acres of parkland.

0:44:330:44:38

With a selection of bridleways and beautiful scenery,

0:44:380:44:41

there's plenty to keep Robin and Kirsten busy.

0:44:410:44:44

The way I see the mystery house is it's a chance for you to let go

0:44:440:44:48

of everything you expected to see in a property,

0:44:480:44:50

-and start from scratch.

-OK.

0:44:500:44:52

Cos the property I'm about to show you is not all the things you asked for,

0:44:520:44:57

-certainly not inside.

-OK.

0:44:570:44:59

-But financially, it gives you the chance to do what you want.

-Right.

-OK.

0:44:590:45:05

-It's a massive project.

-Good!

0:45:050:45:08

I know you like a project, but part of you also doesn't like a project.

0:45:080:45:11

So it's a knife-edge.

0:45:110:45:13

-It is. I like the financial aspect of a project.

-I thought you would.

0:45:130:45:19

So this is house I want to show you.

0:45:190:45:21

It's part of the Stockgrove estate. The main house is way behind

0:45:210:45:25

and was split up into residential flats.

0:45:250:45:27

-So this is ripe for redevelopment.

-Good.

0:45:270:45:32

It also comes with a lot of land, which already has horses on it,

0:45:320:45:36

and all the things like a stable block and some barns as well.

0:45:360:45:40

-Right, brilliant.

-This is sounding really good.

0:45:400:45:43

That's good. But it's not quite as wow as the last property I showed you.

0:45:430:45:47

-No, I'm sure it's not.

-Just to brace yourself.

-OK.

0:45:470:45:50

This is more a "hmm" property than a wow property.

0:45:500:45:53

So get your thinking caps on and don't be too judgemental.

0:45:530:45:57

-Good.

-OK.

-OK.

0:45:570:45:58

The hallway is light with an Arts and Crafts feel, and leads straight to the kitchen.

0:46:050:46:10

Now...

0:46:110:46:12

-Hmm...

-Yes, I told you it was a "hmm" house.

0:46:120:46:16

ALL CHUCKLE

0:46:160:46:18

But let's talk about what we can do with it.

0:46:180:46:21

This is the kitchen as it stands.

0:46:210:46:25

You have to decide what you want to do with this property,

0:46:250:46:28

to maximise the sunlight, the space and all these things.

0:46:280:46:31

Because really it's about the land.

0:46:310:46:34

It's about the stables and the land.

0:46:340:46:36

Is that something you'd be even prepared to think about doing?

0:46:360:46:40

-Yeah.

-Absolutely, yeah. You're spot-on. It's about the land and the stables for me.

0:46:400:46:46

-Can I be honest?

-Please.

0:46:460:46:48

What I've been thinking is that right now, the two of you are working,

0:46:480:46:52

it's a huge financial undertaking to take on a massive mortgage

0:46:520:46:58

-to get a massive property, and have it all now.

-Yup.

0:46:580:47:02

Whereas, it might be worth taking something that's less money,

0:47:020:47:07

but has the potential, and doing it bit by bit.

0:47:070:47:10

It would take the stress off, definitely.

0:47:100:47:13

And like you said, in this financial climate,

0:47:130:47:16

my work isn't long-term work. It's contract work.

0:47:160:47:19

So it would really help ease any financial worries we'd have about taking on a big mortgage.

0:47:190:47:27

This could be the project that you kick off the whole house with.

0:47:270:47:31

It wouldn't be at all difficult to knock down this wall,

0:47:310:47:34

and build out on the footprint that you've already got here,

0:47:340:47:39

and have an absolutely beautiful entertaining space.

0:47:390:47:43

-That would be a really good idea.

-As it's a slightly complicated house - the layout -

0:47:430:47:49

I'd like you to have a look around, but bear in mind that what you see

0:47:490:47:53

is not what you're going to live with for ever. They're all potentials.

0:47:530:47:58

Then we'll reconvene in the conservatory.

0:47:580:48:00

-All right.

-Off you go. Imagine well!

0:48:000:48:04

Off the kitchen is the wish-list utility area,

0:48:040:48:07

and at the front of the house is the dining room.

0:48:070:48:10

But Robin and Kirsten may have other uses for it.

0:48:100:48:13

-A study would work quite nicely.

-A big study.

0:48:130:48:17

Across the hall is a room of identical size.

0:48:170:48:20

-Another nice fireplace.

-Yeah.

-Shall we look upstairs?

-Yeah.

0:48:200:48:24

Upstairs there are four bedrooms.

0:48:250:48:28

Where to go?

0:48:280:48:31

The first two have a slightly unusual arrangement.

0:48:310:48:33

-Single bedroom?

-Is it?

0:48:330:48:36

-No, it's going around.

-It's an L-shaped bedroom.

0:48:360:48:39

-Oh, with another bedroom at the end.

-Another bedroom.

0:48:390:48:42

-You've got good views.

-Very good.

0:48:420:48:44

If we're planning on extending below,

0:48:440:48:46

-you could extend over the top.

-You'd have to go out that way.

0:48:460:48:50

-It's good to see they're thinking positively about space.

-Let's see what's at the other end.

0:48:500:48:56

Across the landing is a large double with dual-aspect views.

0:48:560:49:00

Next door is the family bathroom, but I think they're more interested in the master suite.

0:49:000:49:06

This is quite a big double room.

0:49:060:49:08

Yeah, this is a much better size.

0:49:080:49:10

-And it's got an en suite.

-This is recently modernised

0:49:100:49:13

and shows the potential of the property.

0:49:130:49:17

-We could live quite easily with this.

-Yeah.

0:49:170:49:20

-And then do that up in time along with downstairs.

-Yeah.

0:49:200:49:24

We're back.

0:49:270:49:29

-Ah!

-Hello!

-Very good.

0:49:290:49:33

Are you back in a good mood?

0:49:330:49:34

-Yes.

-Ah, excellent.

0:49:340:49:37

-I think we can see some options.

-Ah!

-We have a plan.

-Plans are good!

0:49:370:49:41

It all depends on whether you like the land. Let's see it.

0:49:410:49:44

-Fresh air.

-Yes.

0:49:500:49:52

Out into the important bit.

0:49:520:49:54

These are your equestrian facilities.

0:49:550:49:58

Is that adequate?

0:49:580:49:59

Yeah, it'll do us. It's fine.

0:49:590:50:01

-It's got plenty of room for what we need.

-Old muck keep.

0:50:010:50:05

-That'll be where you'll be with a shovel...every morning.

-Thanks(!)

0:50:050:50:10

-I'm just alerting you to the reality of horses!

-My new lifestyle!

-Yes!

0:50:100:50:13

Don't get too romantic about the countryside!

0:50:130:50:16

Remember the muck heap. Let's look at the land.

0:50:160:50:18

-Basically, your land starts at this fence here...

-Yep.

0:50:240:50:28

-..goes to the fence at the bottom...

-Yep.

0:50:280:50:30

..and you're the next three paddocks,

0:50:300:50:32

-up to the cottage at the edge.

-Right.

0:50:320:50:35

It's about three acres.

0:50:350:50:36

-Yep.

-OK.

0:50:360:50:38

It's well laid out, they've fenced the paddocks nicely

0:50:380:50:41

and won't really be any work for us to do here...

0:50:410:50:45

-No.

-..which is great.

0:50:450:50:46

Do you see what I mean? It's a completely different proposition.

0:50:460:50:50

This would be your project and you could make it exactly as you wish.

0:50:500:50:53

-Yes.

-Yeah.

0:50:530:50:54

If you had the money.

0:50:540:50:56

So how much do you think you'd have to spend

0:50:570:51:00

to buy this land and the house?

0:51:000:51:02

Three acres...

0:51:040:51:05

..and a house that needs work.

0:51:060:51:08

I'm going to go for...

0:51:100:51:12

..650.

0:51:130:51:14

Hm. I think it's a bit more.

0:51:170:51:19

-Do you?

-Yeah.

0:51:190:51:21

I was going to go 695.

0:51:210:51:22

-Ooh.

-OK.

0:51:220:51:25

Well, in this instance,

0:51:250:51:26

you are right.

0:51:260:51:28

-Hey!

-It's on the market at 650.

0:51:280:51:29

-Cool.

-I think it's just, from the financial point of view,

0:51:290:51:32

-it's just another option to have in mind.

-Yeah, definitely.

0:51:320:51:37

-It's a sensible thing for us to do.

-Yeah.

-It makes it very affordable.

0:51:370:51:41

At £650,000,

0:51:410:51:44

this house would give Robin and Kirsten

0:51:440:51:47

a whopping 200,000 grand in change.

0:51:470:51:49

It has...

0:51:490:51:52

Even with a substantial extension,

0:51:590:52:01

this house would still come in considerably under-budget.

0:52:010:52:04

After having a good look round the property and the land,

0:52:040:52:07

it's definitely got all the components.

0:52:070:52:10

It's structurally sound, so we could use it straight away.

0:52:100:52:15

I like this place.

0:52:150:52:16

I think it'll work for us. It takes the pressure off financially.

0:52:160:52:21

It's flexible - we'd be able to put our own style to the property.

0:52:210:52:25

Putting an extension on isn't a big deal for us.

0:52:250:52:28

We could still live in the main part of the house.

0:52:280:52:31

Definitely one for us to think about it.

0:52:310:52:33

It's probably more manageable and a more sensible option

0:52:330:52:37

than maybe the other properties.

0:52:370:52:38

Realistically, I can't see anything stopping us.

0:52:380:52:41

It's your future coming to get you!

0:52:440:52:46

THEY LAUGH

0:52:460:52:48

We'll go to the car and head off, eh?

0:52:480:52:52

Robin and Kirsten are spending a considerable amount of money,

0:52:550:52:58

but they appreciate their wish list is a tricky mix for their budget.

0:52:580:53:02

With this house throwing a spanner in the works,

0:53:020:53:05

it's time to meet up and find out their final thoughts.

0:53:050:53:08

You had a good canter through Buckinghamshire.

0:53:110:53:14

-We've seen some really varied properties.

-Yep.

0:53:140:53:17

-Would you agree?

-Yeah. We've been surprised by the houses you've shown us.

0:53:170:53:20

What about the Aston Abbotts house, the first one?

0:53:200:53:24

-Yeah.

-To me, that was the right balance in terms of the modern feel

0:53:240:53:28

but with the quirkiness.

0:53:280:53:29

-The drawback of it was the land.

-I tend to agree.

0:53:290:53:32

I think it would be fine for us right now,

0:53:320:53:35

but I think looking into the future,

0:53:350:53:38

it wouldn't support more than two horses, that land.

0:53:380:53:42

Then we also saw the house with all the lovely gardens.

0:53:420:53:44

That was quite an interesting one, I think, certainly from my point of view

0:53:440:53:48

because, sort of walking inside,

0:53:480:53:50

normally that would be...

0:53:500:53:53

The decor, the fact that it was just clear, straight lines everywhere,

0:53:530:53:57

would normally be what I was looking for in a house,

0:53:570:54:00

but I think we are just ready to take on something with a bit more character.

0:54:000:54:04

And for you, it was the setting of the house.

0:54:040:54:06

Yeah, I just couldn't cope with the fact that it was

0:54:060:54:09

in a dip almost and you felt really...

0:54:090:54:13

detached completely from the land that came with it.

0:54:130:54:16

The thatched cottage?

0:54:160:54:17

Yeah. I mean, I think if I was to draw something from scratch,

0:54:170:54:22

the quirkiness and the balance with the extension,

0:54:220:54:25

-that really worked for me.

-Yeah.

0:54:250:54:28

But the land was just the icing on the cake for me.

0:54:280:54:31

The downside of that one,

0:54:310:54:33

-it's over our budget...

-Yeah.

0:54:330:54:36

..and there would be two changes we'd want to make

0:54:360:54:39

within six months to a year of moving in, which would have to be

0:54:390:54:43

-the creation of the manege and extending out that kitchen.

-Yeah.

0:54:430:54:47

More money.

0:54:470:54:49

-And it would have been a financial worry.

-A stretch.

0:54:490:54:52

-Maybe now isn't the time to be doing that sort of a stretch...

-Mm.

0:54:520:54:56

..even though I want that house!

0:54:560:54:58

Ah! Mm-hm!

0:54:580:55:00

Um...

0:55:000:55:02

Talking of financial stretch,

0:55:020:55:05

-the mystery house is £200,000 under-budget.

-Yeah.

0:55:050:55:07

I think with that house,

0:55:070:55:09

-you get the house that has the scope for changing to exactly what we would want...

-Yep.

0:55:090:55:16

-..and certainly it would ease the financial pressure.

-Yeah.

0:55:160:55:19

The land worked and there were already stables there.

0:55:190:55:22

We could move right in.

0:55:220:55:24

-Yeah, it would be a really sensible, good option.

-Yeah.

0:55:240:55:28

-I don't know whether...

-You're not going to take...!

0:55:280:55:31

I don't know! I honestly don't know.

0:55:310:55:34

I don't know whether there's something

0:55:340:55:36

that is still missing from that

0:55:360:55:37

that's making me say, "I don't know," a lot,

0:55:370:55:40

or whether it is what we want.

0:55:400:55:43

And generally, when you look long-term,

0:55:430:55:46

do you think that you would be able to make that big financial stretch

0:55:460:55:51

and get the dream house

0:55:510:55:52

or make a more sensible financial decision?

0:55:520:55:56

I think it's probably the right time in our lives

0:55:560:55:58

to have more of a stepping-stone house

0:55:580:56:00

-before we get to that absolute dream house...

-Mm.

0:56:000:56:04

..and therefore,

0:56:040:56:06

something slightly below our current expectation on budget

0:56:060:56:10

-would be more suitable.

-Mm.

0:56:100:56:12

I hope you do find somewhere

0:56:120:56:14

-because it's been a real joy showing you round.

-Thank you.

0:56:140:56:17

I look forward to seeing you trotting on, mucking out, very soon.

0:56:170:56:21

-Thank you.

-Thanks for having us.

0:56:210:56:23

I'm not at all surprised - indeed, slightly relieved -

0:56:280:56:31

that the Walkers have dropped their budget from 850 to 650,

0:56:310:56:34

and it's amazing how viewing a few houses

0:56:340:56:36

can bring so much into sharp focus.

0:56:360:56:38

And that's our work all done here in Buckinghamshire

0:56:380:56:41

but do join us for more Escapes To The Country.

0:56:410:56:44

If you'd like to escape to the country

0:56:440:56:46

and need our help, please contact us through our website.

0:56:460:56:51

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:57:140:57:17

E-mail [email protected]

0:57:170:57:20

Alistair Appleton is galloping through the Buckinghamshire property market in search of the perfect equestrian home for a young couple. They want to spend a whopping 800,000 pounds to get a house with wow factor - but will they splash all their cash or listen to Alistair's sound financial advice and settle for something more reasonable?


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