Property series. Nicki Chapman is with a couple buying a house together for the first time in North Yorkshire. They have already dismissed over 1,000 properties.
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I'm in part of the country overflowing with waterfalls and gorges,
the likes of which have inspired some of our greatest English painters. So where am I?
Find out in a moment, as we make a splash on Escape To The Country.
In today's show, I'll be helping a couple
buy their place together for the first time.
We find them something which makes them happy.
It's very difficult to define what you mean by the wow factor.
If you want a definition, this is it.
We show them a place which challenges them.
It's a little bit small...
I think it's the ideal size for a kitchen.
One says a bit small, and one says fine.
One thing's for sure, it's never dull.
We have actually driven up this drive, to this very spot,
-and looked at this one from the outside before.
-Have you? To here?
This very spot. THEY LAUGH
We're in Nidderdale in North Yorkshire.
This is How Stean Gorge.
One mile long and up to 80 ft deep,
this was a star attraction in the Victorian era.
By the mid-1800s, people flocked from the surrounding cities and towns to see this spectacular sight.
Since then, not much has changed, and it's still pulling in crowds.
Folklore has it that Tom Taylor, the famous highway man,
hid in these caves. They say, his spirit lives on.
Covering nearly 3,500 square miles,
North Yorkshire is England's largest county.
Stretching from the Pennines in the west
to the northeast coast, it borders no less than six other counties.
Known by the locals as God's Own County, two national parks extend
across his land, celebrated for its varied landscapes.
The North York Moors with their spectacular heritage coastline
are enough to lift even the most tired of spirits.
And, the Yorkshire Dales, with its high peaks and low valleys,
rivers and streams,
patchworks of fields and dry-stone walls, are simply bewitching.
This is the breathtaking countryside that inspired
Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights,
and James Herriott's All Creatures Great And Small.
Its dramatic scenery has provided the backdrop for countless films,
from Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves, to Dracula and Calendar Girls.
North Yorkshire is truly picture-perfect.
North Yorkshire's hottest and highest property prices
can be found in the county's Golden Triangle,
an area that lies between Harrogate, York and Leeds.
But if you're prepared to venture a little further north
to the Yorkshire Dales, not only will you get mile upon mile
of open countryside on your doorstep,
it's also between 10% and 15% cheaper.
Whatever location you plump for,
there are plenty of properties on the market to choose from.
Set within five acres,
this Grade 2 listed four-bedroom farmhouse could be yours.
It houses a beautiful sitting room, with exposed beams,
stone fireplace, and a kitchen with all the mod cons.
They're taking offers in excess of £1,350,000.
If you've less to offer, then this former village post office
has your name and address all over it.
The current owners have put their stamp on this five-bedroom period property,
with a modern kitchen, sleek living room, and contemporary bathroom.
Outside in the terraced garden is a hot tub, overlooking the spectacular North York Moors.
Return £595,000 to sender, and it's yours.
For a more modest £335,000,
how about this three-bedroom barn conversion?
There's a rustic farmhouse kitchen, and a spacious living room
with doors leading out on to a secluded garden.
Some interesting properties, but what do today's house-hunters want?
Let's find out.
Today's house hunters are health and safety manager, John,
and recently retired, Susan, from County Durham.
They've been together for 15 years.
Although Susan spends most of her time with John and his daughter at their three-bedroom house,
she stays at her own home at least one night a week.
Things are about to change,
as they're now looking to buy a place - together.
This will be a house that we can share.
Yes, yes, which we can say is ours.
But this move is not only a change of location, it's a change of life.
I'm not adapting very well to retirement,
and I'm ready to start a new life.
I don't really know many people here.
I don't get the chance to talk to people very much.
I'm looking forward to starting a new life.
Where are they looking to escape to?
I'd like to live in North Yorkshire.
It's got the scenery I like, it's got the hills.
From my point of view, I don't want anything too remote.
A village with facilities -
I think it's important as you get older to not be too isolated.
I don't drive, so I think it's handy if it's on a bus route as well.
And how are they going to embrace their new life in the country?
Perhaps potter around in the garden,
basically playing, doing a bit of DIY.
We might even get a dog.
Oh, yes. Of course, yeah.
Perhaps getting involved in some village activities,
meeting other people.
Most importantly, having some real ale in a country pub.
And having some good runs!
Yeah. There's bound to a run nearby, so I can get involved in that.
John and Susan have run up against a brick wall.
-This year, I think we've seen about six or so houses.
We've looked on the internet at great length.
One evening I counted 1,000 properties we looked at
in one sitting.
Of that, we only found a handful that we were potentially interesting.
I think it's fair to say that Susan might have cold feet.
Earlier this year there was a house which we thought was just the job for us.
We put in an offer, several offers.
Eventually we got an acceptance and we went ahead, we were going to buy it.
But at the last minute, Susan...
I got cold feet.
I think the reason we've not find our dream home so far is that we're very specific about our needs.
You don't mind a project, you don't mind doing quite a bit of work.
But it tends to be me who shies away from that,
and wants something a bit more liveable.
-We do have differences of opinion on some things, don't we?
-We will find the ideal home.
So, what do they agree on?
It's got to have at least three bedrooms, possibly four.
If it's not got a study, then the fourth bedroom would be important.
It's important for me to have a large kitchen.
Ideally, with an island.
A decent garage, a good-sized garden, preferably with a water feature such as a stream,
a pond perhaps.
Neither John nor Susan need to sell the home to finance the move,
but they still have a healthy budget.
If we found the ideal property,
we'd be prepared to go to up to about £600,000.
So, we're looking for a house on the outskirts of a village,
with three or four bedrooms, a study and a decent-sized kitchen.
But, I get the feeling Susan may be dragging her heels.
Although John is fully on board, I wonder if Susan may take
some convincing that country life is all it's cracked up to be.
We're focusing our search on the west of the county, close to be beautiful Yorkshire Dales
and the A1,
which will be convenient for John's commute to Durham.
This could be one of our toughest assignments yet.
John and Susan have dismissed over 1,000 properties,
and even pulled out of one deal.
I'm feeling confident, as we've some fantastic houses lined up for them,
including the mystery house.
John and Susan, welcome to North Yorkshire.
You know this area quite well, don't you?
That's right. We've been looking for properties for about two years.
-Do you think your dream property is out there?
-I hope so.
So do we. I'm glad you've said that.
After seeing 1,000, you've set us a bit of a task,
-but we're rising to the challenge.
What's your current budget, and is there any movement on it?
The budget is about 500,000,
but, for the right property, we could stretch to six.
We've got some smashing houses lined up
and, of course, we've got the mystery property,
which is going to get you thinking.
-Are you ready to start?
John and Susan have a budget of up to £600,000.
Ideally, they would like...
Susan, with your retirement, what is it about this change of your life that isn't quite working for you?
Well, I miss the company at work because I'm finding
I'm stuck in the house a lot and I'm not using my time profitably.
And when I talk to other people who aren't working,
they all seem to have plenty to do.
They say, "Oh, there's not enough hours in the day."
And I want to be able to say that.
So we're not only just looking for a new home for the both of you,
-but also looking for a change of life for you too?
-I'm looking forward to this.
Our first house is in the village of Marton-le-Moor,
14.5 miles north of Harrogate.
And right next to the A1, ideal for John,
who'll be commuting to be northeast for work.
Marton-le-Moor is a beautiful and unspoilt village, with many
traditional Yorkshire homes sitting pretty on its winding country lanes.
Susan is looking to kick-start her retirement, and although
there's no pub or shop in the village, there's an active community.
John will be pleased to see that Marton-le-Moor
is surrounded by striking countryside.
So, let's make hay while the sun shines.
So, here is your first property.
After your internet search, perhaps it's the 1,001st?
It looks good.
Yeah, I'm interested.
What you're actually seeing is two cottages.
Built in the late 1800s, they were two-up two-downs,
and five years ago converted into one property.
-So, you've got one home.
-Interesting. I can't wait to get in!
This stone-built cottage might look a little traditional
from the outside, but inside it's a different story.
I want to bring you straight through.
Wow! Look at it!
I've got lots to show you.
That's an excellent kitchen, with an island.
On a scale of one to ten, how important is the kitchen to you?
-Excellent. And how would this rate?
I like the opportunity... I can be sitting there having a beer
-while Susan's slaving away at the stove.
-Oh, nice one(!)
And, I think with this property, especially the downstairs layout,
it flows so well, the way it's been done and also extended.
This obviously is your kitchen, and through here,
into your sitting room.
Excellent, yeah. Again, it's nice and open and airy.
Just the right size, I think.
You spotted it straight away. It also takes coal, too.
It'll be nice to sit and watch that.
Wonderful. Well, the downstairs is working for us.
I absolutely love it, I have to say.
But, it's about you two. Let's see what do you think of upstairs.
I'm delighted they've fallen in love with the downstairs.
The stunningly high-spec kitchen with its limestone tiles,
walnut island and high-gloss units could not fail to impress.
The quality continues upstairs.
Off the landing are two double bedrooms,
with a stylish family bathroom, bathed in natural light.
Next up, it's their room.
-Here is the master.
-This is huge.
-I thought we were going to be seeing an ordinary-sized bedroom, but this is very big.
And, there's one other feature I just want to show you.
Do you have a lot of stuff, do you need a lot of storage?
-Yes, I would say so.
-Well, you're going to have use the other bedrooms, because this...
Oh. Not a wardrobe!
-..is your bathroom.
Wow. Very modern.
-And a beautiful shower.
-Great, big one.
The height, again. A lovely modern bath.
You're speechless, aren't you?
Happy faces all round?
Now, you both mentioned that when you looked at a house,
you wanted it to have the wow factor.
Has this home provided that for you?
It's very difficult to define what you mean by the wow factor,
but if you want a definition, this is it.
This is it! Wonderful!
Let's hope you feel the same about outside. Let's take a look.
Inside, this house has of the modern features Susan asked for.
But will it tick John's boxes on the outside?
You've got a great office/study there with broadband.
Obviously, it was an old outbuilding, separate from the house.
It means you can get away if you want a bit of peace and quiet.
-That's exactly what John said.
-We've got a garage here, which I know is important.
-The men always like a garage, don't they?
To the side, gates and a driveway.
You've seen the three bedrooms with his house.
If you wanted a fourth one, you could put it up there,
because the current owners have been granted planning permission. If you wanted a little project...
He likes projects.
There we are.
Here's your garden.
It's adequate size, I think.
Good. Let's take a look at your view,
-and you can start thinking about guess the price.
What a lovely view there, as well.
I like that, I like the long view.
-Nice and open.
-So, it's crunch time.
You've seen the house, seen the garden, seen the amazing view.
How much do you think it's currently on the market for?
I'd say 550.
Susan is closer.
So, well done, because the current asking price
Way out! That is a surprise.
-A pleasant surprise?
Very much so.
It's very difficult with so much perfection of the house inside.
You look at the house outside and you get a particular value,
and you add on all the stuff they've done inside.
It's very, very difficult.
So, why don't you go back inside, have another look around,
-and I'll meet you at the front in a little while?
-See you in a while.
So, a great first start.
It is a fabulous property, but we have to remember
they've seen over 1,000 already, so will this one hit the mark?
We'll just have to wait and see.
One thing is for sure, and that's the price, which, at £475,000,
comes in well under their budget of 600,000.
No expense has been spared on the high-spec kitchen
containing Susan's fantasy island.
The great use of materials continues in the family bathroom
and three bedrooms, one with a stunning en-suite.
The garden might not offer the water feature they were after,
but it's awash with great views as well as John's study and a garage.
I reckon this could be 1,001st time lucky.
It's really got the wow factor.
-In all the places we've seen, I've never seen a wow factor like this.
I can just see my king-size waterbed there, you can lie and look up at the ceiling, brilliant.
-And the en-suite bathroom.
-Oh, I know.
It's like a hotel, only better.
What I like about this house
is it just oozes style and quality.
My main concern would be that the village has no shop or pub,
but it's definitely a possible contender.
At this stage, I think this is certainly a good contender.
We'll see what the other properties can do.
If it beats it, that would be amazing in many ways,
but it will be exciting to find out.
So, first property down, have you seen enough?
Yes, very impressed.
-Great, a great start.
-It was an excellent start.
Good, because there's more to see. Let's get going.
John and Susan have spent many a weekend in the Dales,
looking for a place to live
and visiting towns such as the beautiful Royal and ancient
Middleham, set in the heart of the stunning Wensleydale countryside.
Middleham is said to be the jewel in North Yorkshire's crown
with its spectacular 12th century castle creating a dramatic backdrop
over the town's clusters of old greystone cottages.
Although John has jogged by Middleham Castle on a number of occasions,
neither he nor Susan have had an official tour.
And official it's going to be as the Mayor, Tammi Tolhurst,
has kindly agreed to show them around.
One of the most influential inhabitants of the castle
was Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick,
also known as the Kingmaker - and for good reason.
As this was the childhood home of the young Duke of Gloucester
who went on to become none other than King Richard III.
This is where Richard III was taught courtly behaviour.
This is where he was brought up, for a better expression.
And he married Warwick's youngest daughter,
Lady Anne Neville.
I mean, this place was called at one point the Windsor of the North
because it was the centre of courtly and Royal behaviour.
He was only king for a very short period of time because of course
he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field.
Ultimately, he was the last Plantagenet Yorkist monarch of this country.
Following King Richard III's untimely death in 1485,
a new Royal house took hold of the country and the castle.
Well, the castle was seized by the Tudors. So it became Crown property.
But presumably nobody really wanted to live here.
The centre during the Tudor times for the administration
of the country was obviously down south in London.
So, everybody moved to London?
The families of great importance would have
probably made their seats of power down there.
The Tudor kings might have set up home elsewhere,
but, two centuries on, the sport of kings came to town.
For, in the early 18th century,
Middleham became a centre for racing and training courses.
Three Grand National winners and a Derby winner have come from here.
And today there are 15 stables
breeding and training around 800 racehorses.
Chris Fairhurst, who has ridden more than 50 jump winners
is the owner of one of the town's oldest stables.
Why is Middleham such a good place for horses?
The Middleham Gallops is so good
because the hills condition the horse.
Because they have to work with the muscles behind, pumping up the hills -
that makes it so good.
And how long does it take to train a racehorse?
To get one from scratch to fitness, you're looking at
six weeks of steady work and then building up from there.
-Anything up to about 12 weeks.
-Is that all?
-I am amazed.
-I thought they would have took much longer.
There are currently eight horses here worth between one and £50,000.
They're obviously well looked after.
-They're kept better than people are!
-I would imagine so!
It's time to get back on track with our house hunt,
so we're trotting off to the village of Birstwith,
six miles north-west of Harrogate.
Birstwith sits within the Nidderdale -
a dale worthy of its designation,
an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Meandering its way through the village is the gorgeous River Nidd
and Susan won't have any trouble winding about
this beautiful region either as plenty of buses run through the village.
For the more adventurous, it has an equestrian centre
and there are many bridal paths within the village
for John to run along.
Making new friends won't be a problem either, as the village pub
is a source of many organised charity events.
The property I'm taking them to is a five-bedroom Victorian stonehouse,
built around 1860 for the owner of the local mill.
Here is your property.
It's on a good bus route to Ripon and Harrogate.
Harrogate's only about six miles away. So, they run every hour.
We are by a main road, so you do have to think about the traffic.
But it does have the amenities and it has plenty going on here.
-So, what do you think of this house?
A little bit austere, I'd say.
A little bit hesitant on first impressions?
-OK, let's see what you think inside.
For many people, this traditional house built of Yorkshire stone
would be ideal. So I'm surprised Susan seems to be so uncertain.
But, then again, she has dismissed over 1,000 properties.
Let's hope we get a better reaction inside.
So, come on through. Straight into the sitting room here.
The general atmosphere,
-it's a little bit old-fashioned, I would say.
Now, take away the furnishings and just look at the walls
and the ceiling.
Does it still feel old-fashioned to you?
Because it has an old-fashioned feel the way it's been furnished.
-I think it does.
-I do as well.
Let's show you the dining room through here.
Again, you've got the really high ceilings in here
which you're going to get throughout the property.
-It's reasonably bright.
-It is, compared to that room.
-I like the floor.
-You've got a real fire there.
-Again, it's that Victorian feeling, isn't it?
It's a Victorian property. We're not going to get away from that.
If you want a Victorian property, I think this would be ideal.
OK, well, let's keep going.
This might not have the ultramodern feel of the cottage,
but the space itself is perfect.
It's a shame they don't seem to appreciate its dimensions.
I think their hearts might still be with the first property.
Hopefully the kitchen will be more to their taste.
So, the kitchen definitely has a different feel to the other rooms.
-Oh, yes. It's a bit more modern.
-Yeah, it is a bit more modern.
I like these beams, though. I like those beams.
That's an old-fashioned feature I do like.
-So, Susan, what do you think of the range?
-No, it's not my style really.
-Have you ever cooked on one of those?
-I haven't, no.
-Not quite hitting the spot, though, is it?
-It's not, no.
Let's keep going because there is so much more to see.
The back of the house, you've got a downstairs toilet,
you've got a utility room, you've also got a very large cellar.
-That will be good for storing my beer.
-All your beer, all your wine.
Through here you've got a very small but workable study/office.
Oh, that's a reasonable size.
On this level you've got the family bathroom, which has been done up really nicely.
-And then up here the bedrooms begin.
Off the first-floor landing are two large double bedrooms
and a generously-sized master.
-Another good size.
It is a reasonable size.
-I quite like the stripped pine and the wood frames.
I'm getting excited now.
So, as bedrooms go, would this be big enough for you to?
-Not really, no.
-I would prefer a bigger one.
Yeah, we like a big main bedroom. It's OK.
It would be OK as a compromise for me.
A decent size, but it does have one advantage.
-And that's through this door.
-This almighty bathroom.
That is a surprise. Very big.
This is your en-suite.
That's one of the best features so far, I think, in this house.
Beautiful slipper bath.
-So this is very much in keeping with the...
-And the floor.
It's got the bling.
It's retained Victorian features, but it's a nice, modern feel to it.
At last! Some well-deserved positive feedback.
On the landing is yet another study that should also please John.
And there's a set of stairs
leading up to the second floor and two further bedrooms.
Outside, the property stands in a quarter of an acre of lawned garden.
This property benefits from a super west-facing garden.
-It's pretty big too.
-It is a big garden.
It's got a double garage there with access to the side of the property.
So it's, in theory, got everything here for you.
So, guys, it's decision time. Who's going to go first?
It's Susan's turn this time.
Susan, what do you think the current asking price is for this house?
Well, I've been thinking about it a lot and I've decided on 430.
-I think because of its location it will be 495.
This house is on the market for the very, very top of your budget.
It is a large house and it is in a great location.
-But it is getting the balance right for you, isn't it?
I know there's parts of the house that you did like. Why not have another look around
and I'll meet you out the front in a little while?
OK. Thank you.
I think it's fair to say that to many people this would be
a dream home in an ideal location.
But not for John and Susan.
At just under £600,000, it comes within budget.
-Oh, this is an interesting room.
-It is, yeah. Quite surprising.
I think if the whole house was this style, it would suit us much more clearly.
I think seeing this property has really put to the test
what our really important values are.
Inside, it's certainly got period features
which is not quite what we're looking for.
I do like renovation, but perhaps there's a little bit too much
and I think it would be sacrilegious to try and change some of the things
which are good about the property but not to our taste.
I can see why you brought me to the village
because of all the facilities it has on offer.
However, that busy road was a bit of a put-off.
-Ready to move on?
-Yes, thank you.
John is a tremendously keen outdoors man
who loves nothing more than
discovering and running through North Yorkshire's stunning landscapes.
So, I'm taking him and Susan to How Stean Gorge,
a dramatic 80-foot limestone ravine,
sheltered by a striking wooded canopy.
Visitors can abseil off a 56-foot high bridge,
stroll the gorge along its narrow footpaths,
or, as John and I decided to do,
don some wetsuits and take the low road.
Our guide, Stan Beer, led the way
while Susan became the official photographer.
Stean Beck is a 1km fast-moving stream,
emptying into the River Nidd, and it was time to dive on in.
This looks like a good enough spot.
-Who's going in first? John?
-I'll go first.
Steady as you go.
Formed during the Ice Age, I think it's fair to say
it hasn't warmed-up much since!
Ah! It's freezing!
You're going to have to wait. I think my wellies are leaking!
The gorge is awash with history, too.
A hoard of Roman coins was unearthed from its depths
and highwaymen used it as a safe haven.
The Victorians called the area Little Switzerland
because of its dazzling scenery,
and visitors have been falling over backwards to come here ever since.
And I'm hoping it's a spot that will keep John and Susan entertained
for years to come, too.
I've got muscles where I didn't know I had muscles.
-I think we've done it.
-We've done it.
Stan, thank you so much. After all of this, we've got to go now and start looking at some more houses.
Oh dear, you're worn out now.
You lead the way.
As the sun starts to set over the North Yorkshire skies,
John and Susan sit down to reflect on the properties we've shown them today.
Well, it was a great start to the day with that first property.
-It certainly had the wow factor.
Quality and style.
The second property, however, period property...
Just too much for us to do to bring it to what we want it to.
If we wanted a Victorian property,
then that would be good. But we don't.
We're looking for something that's already very modern.
It'll be interesting to see what they've got for us tomorrow
to see how they can test us out with our important values again.
Yeah, it will. The first house is going to take some beating, though.
I think so. The only way perhaps it could beat it
is to have the same wow factor, but with village facilities.
-Maybe that's asking for a bit too much.
-Oh, it might be, yeah.
With a budget of £600,000,
we've seen properties all around the Yorkshire Dales.
Coming up, we find a room with a view.
-There's a lovely view.
And a sight to behold.
-I don't think you could get much closer, could you?
I've never been on a house hunt before with buyers that have
already researched over 1,000 properties on the internet.
Quite a daunting task.
But I think yesterday went really well.
In fact, John and Susan were very taken with the first property.
If only we could move a pub and a shop
about a quarter of a mile down the road, then we might have cracked it.
But today is a new day, and we're going to show them
a property on the edge of a village with a thriving community.
We're also going to show them the mystery house,
which is something a little bit different.
We're heading to a property on the edge of the Dales,
between the villages of Kirkby Malzeard and Grewelthorpe.
Kirkby Malzeard was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086
and it means "church in the bad or stony clearing".
It might not be big, but there are plenty of amenities,
including a village pub.
Many organised events are held in the village hall, including the Women's Institute's monthly meeting,
and there's even an annual 10km run for John to take part in.
The house I'm taking them to
is a four-bedroom 18th century barn conversion.
So, it's a new day, a new property.
We've got a lovely day for viewings, haven't we?
But, first of all, I want to find out what you think of that view?
-Beautiful, isn't it?
And this is your property.
We have actually driven up this drive to this very spot and looked at this one from the outside before.
Have you? To here?
-This very spot.
-Why didn't you go in?
Were you just recceing the area?
We thought we'd probably need an appointment.
Very true, very true.
So you've already had a glimpse of it, bang goes that surprise.
But you haven't seen inside.
-Let's see if I can impress you there.
-Should be interesting.
Well, this really is a first for me.
I suppose it's not that surprising, considering they've been
house-hunting in the area for over two years.
But thankfully they haven't seen the inside.
Come on in.
Into a large hallway.
It is a nice entrance.
I like the wooden doors.
It's a nice entrance into the house.
It is, yeah.
This house, they've embraced the old features, with the beams, etc,
but it does have a very contemporary feel.
Which is what I like.
That's what we're hoping for.
Let's start off with the kitchen, through here.
Down one step. Here is your country kitchen.
It's a little bit small.
I do like the beams.
Yeah, I like the beams. I think it's the ideal size for a kitchen, really.
-When you're cooking, you've got the cooker, the sink,
the storage cupboards - it's all there.
And it's nice and cosy in here.
So, one says a bit small, one says fine. Who does the cooking?
-Both of us.
-Oh, well, that's good.
But we only like one person in the kitchen at a time, so I think
that's good as it's not too big.
So, we get a thumbs-up for the kitchen?
Half thumbs-up - thumbs-up from me, perhaps not you, Susan?
It is nice, but I think
I was expecting it to be a bit bigger.
But a good country-style kitchen for you?
-We can argue about that.
-I can see this discussion's going to continue. Lead the way back through.
It's not easy trying to please both John and Susan,
given their different tastes, but it's certainly not a no-no.
Out of the kitchen and on the other side of the entrance hall
is a dining room, and next to it is the lounge.
-Very nice and bright here.
Look, it's got a wood-burning stove as well.
-Multi-fuel, keep you toasty warm.
-Oh, yes, I like that.
I like the fireplace.
Straight the way through, you've got a snug.
It's actually being used at the moment as a music room
with a large sofa in it, but it would make the perfect office/study.
-That's important for me.
-I like a study.
-So, let's see what you make of the bedrooms.
It all seems to be going smoothly downstairs.
Let's hope it continues upstairs.
So, this house has four bedrooms
and three bathrooms, because two are en-suite.
You can see in here...
Lovely view. Beams, nice again.
And the wooden doors.
Do you want to have a little look at the en-suite?
-Very nice, yeah.
Nothing would need to be changed.
It has a very serene feel, the lines in this house are very clean.
Yeah, we wouldn't need to change anything here.
You haven't found this project for me yet.
You never know what's around the corner!
Let's continue looking at some of the other bedrooms.
So, another fair-size room.
-It is, yeah.
Obviously, with the size of the bed.
There's still plenty of room.
You've got the storage behind you,
and this one also benefits from being an en-suite.
So you could have this as the master, should you choose to.
Much the same size as the other bedroom.
Pleased with the upstairs so far?
Yeah. I'm taking into account I haven't said "wow" yet.
I think it's the overall picture - it's all getting high marks.
Come on, Susan. John really likes it and I think this place
deserves a "wow" too.
Down the landing are two further bedrooms, one double
and a single, and a big family bathroom.
This is what I wanted you to see.
-There's a lovely view.
Outside, we have three acres of garden
and, at last, that project John has been hankering for.
Perfect weather for looking at the garden.
This is actually quite manageable, this size. Although you've got just over the three acres,
as this has been laid to lawn, it's not too big a garden.
Would this work for you?
-It's just about right in size, really, isn't it?
-I think it is.
A bit of grass just to trim now and then.
I'm not a real gardener, so that suits me fine.
And the location here, we're right by the footpath.
I know you were thinking perhaps about getting some dogs?
Yes, definitely. Well, at least one.
There's one more thing that I haven't mentioned as yet -
You might've noticed that there isn't currently a garage.
But the current owners have been granted planning permission to build one
and that doesn't run out until 2011.
So, should you want a project, you could build your own garage.
Yes, I'd definitely like a project.
There you are. Keep you busy.
So, you've seen the property, you've seen the land.
You've seen the property twice actually, haven't you, to be fair?
We've seen it from the outside.
Can you remember how much it was on the market for when you saw it? That's the big question.
I can't remember exactly, but I'm pretty sure it's near the top end
of our budget, so I will go for 595.
-OK, and Susan?
Well, your budget is 600,000.
The current asking price is 599,950.
So, £50 change.
However, they are very keen to sell, so they would look to negotiate.
-So it might give you a little bit of change...
-Food for thought.
-For the garage.
-Yeah. We might be able to afford it with that.
-Have a good look around and I'll catch up with you in a little while.
-OK. Thank you.
I'm pleased I took them one step beyond their last trip here
and actually into the property.
It might be within the upper echelons of their £600,000 budget,
but I think this barn conversion
could give the cottage a run for its money.
There are a generous four bedrooms, two with en-suite,
fantastic views over the surrounding countryside,
and planning permission for John's garage.
Can they agree on that kitchen?
When we came into the kitchen the first time, you were concerned about it being a little bit small.
I was, yes, but perhaps on reflection
it's not a bad size, actually.
So you think now it's OK for us?
-I think so. I like the kitchen.
I like the garden. I like the contemporary features, definitely.
It has got a nice feel.
Yeah, I would think about it.
Overall, the property is worth giving serious consideration.
-Right, guys, smiling faces. Have you seen enough?
-Yes, thank you.
-Had another good look around?
-Yes, it's a lovely, nice property, thank you.
Excellent. Well, still more to see, so let's get going.
Susan is very keen to get a Border collie
when they make the move to Yorkshire.
Renowned for their intelligence and agility,
they're commonly used by farmers for sheep herding.
Border collies require a great deal of exercise and mental stimulation -
a commitment not to be taken lightly.
So, to give Susan a trial run,
we've taken them to meet award winning dog trialler, Andrew Hunter.
Trialling is the sport where dogs, following the direction of their handlers,
move around fields and obstacles.
There are a few hundred trials in North Yorkshire every year,
attracting up to 1,000 people per show.
-This dog's called Dylan, he's seven years old.
And this is Jess, she's just two years old.
She's just newly trained is Jess.
-I can show you a little exercise for beginners, if you'd like?
-That would be really interesting, yeah.
Named after the Border region between England and Scotland
where dog trials are said to have originated,
Border collies take around one month to train,
and start around a year old.
Andrew currently has eight dogs on his farm,
keeping a close eye on 500 sheep.
Basically, there's four commands for a sheepdog.
There's "away", when you want them to go anti-clockwise,
"come by", which is clockwise,
"lie down" when you want them to stop, and "walk on" when you want
them to walk on to the sheep. And various whistles for the same thing.
The whistle for "come by" would be...
-It sounds like "come by".
-That's right, it does.
-And "away" would be...
-"Stop" would be just a basic...
-And then "walk on" would be...
Do you think you can remember those?
-It helps if you can whistle!
-That's right, yes!
-Would you like a go?
-I would love to, yes.
Come by, come by.
She's going, isn't she? She's working for you.
It's against the dog's instincts to drive the sheep away from
the handler, so an away drive is a good test to the dog's ability.
The dogs like to be at 12 o'clock to you,
that's where they like to be, so they're holding them to you.
The dog can also use what is known as the eye -
the ability to hold and control sheep
with just the force of its fixed stare.
Walk on. Walk on.
I think you have a natural talent for it!
Time to round-up John and Susan,
even though they don't want to leave.
So, going to the mystery property now. Is there anything you're hoping
to see, or anything you're hoping really not to see?
I tell you what I would really like to see
is a water feature in the property. That would be a real delight for me.
Anything you're dreading you're going to see?
Yeah. I would dread seeing a house that required loads of work.
The mystery property we're heading to is slap-bang in the middle of the
Yorkshire Dales, around four miles from the village of Grassington.
It's a charming village situated on the pretty River Wharf.
Centred on its small cobbled squares are an assortment of shops,
cafes, restaurants and hotels.
For two weeks every year, these narrow streets,
lined with traditional Yorkshire homes, are brimming with tourists
from around the world who come to the Grassington festival of arts and music.
Our last property is a cottage with views to make their mouths water.
John, you said you were hoping that the mystery property
-would have a water feature?
-Yes, I did.
Would Grimwith Reservoir be big enough for you?
-That's what I want to know.
-Not too sure, really.
-Perhaps a few more gallons of water might help.
-We'll give that some thought.
So, you probably know we're in a real area of outstanding natural beauty,
and your property takes in all of that.
-It's surprising to see a property up here.
-It is, yeah.
I didn't think there was anything.
Let me show you.
This truly unique setting
could not fail to impress, but let's head inside.
So, here is your cottage.
Come on in. Don't be shy.
-It's a nice big room here.
Look, straight out on to the reservoir.
I don't think you could get much closer, could you?
-You can't actually touch the water, but it feels like you could. Very modern features.
And a wood-burning stove
and the traditional stone hearth.
These were offices, so you can imagine it's all been changed,
so you do have the garage, you've got the parking already,
and as you come in to the property it wasn't actually a house, so it's all been changed and adapted,
and the current owners have done so much to it, and that was one of the features that they put in.
It took five men to carry that slab of stone,
-but it does give it some character.
-It does, yeah.
-OK, let's keep going.
So, in here, we have a very large open-plan kitchen,
-and you've got a living space as well.
I think what I would be tempted to do would be
to move that dining-table into here, make this the dining area.
-Yeah, that would be nice.
-You'd still have a decent-sized kitchen.
Get your island in the middle there.
-Do you think it would fit?
-I think it would.
There's a table there now,
but if you took it out you'd have plenty of room for an island.
Do you know what I like about you two?
You walk into a room and you're already thinking creatively
what you'd like to do it. Positive thoughts there.
-Have you seen enough downstairs?
-Yeah. It looks good. Quite impressed.
OK, let's go upstairs and take a look at the bedrooms.
OK, after you.
Seems like they've already started to move in.
Also on this floor is a utility room and a study.
Upstairs are only two rooms, but I've got something up my sleeve.
So, we have to bear in mind, we are in a cottage,
-and this cottage only has...
-Quite a cottage.
-Quite a cottage, but it only has two bedrooms.
-Oh, it's a bit small.
It feels bigger when you're up here,
but only two bedrooms with a family bathroom.
However, if you look at the cupboard there,
the owners have got planning permission to put in a third bedroom
with an en-suite with dormer windows, and what that bedroom would get
-is that amazing view.
-Stunning views. Yeah, I think that would be a brilliant improvement.
So, I must admit, if this was my property, I would invest in having that extension
because the two bedrooms are of a good size, but I think having
the third with the en-suite, with that view,
really gives you so many more options.
Yes, I think you're right there about the extension, definitely.
It's a reasonable-sized room, I think.
-Seems a fair size wardrobe there to keep all your stuff in.
Outside, there's a recently landscaped garden,
with those magnificent vistas
over the reservoir and the surrounding moorland.
And, last but not least, the price-tag.
Looking at the cottage from this point, how much do you think the current asking price is?
I think it's Susan's turn this time.
For the final time.
This is a difficult one.
Just the two bedrooms. Hmm...
-I'll say 430.
-I'll go for 470.
OK. It is in a prime location.
The current asking price
Wow! That's a pleasant surprise. That is worth spending some money to
make a third bedroom and an en-suite bath - it leaves lots of scope.
I'm quite amazed at the price.
-Are you pleasantly surprised?
-Yes, I'm pleasantly surprised.
It gives plenty of scope for such a unique property, that's good value.
Unique really is the word, isn't it?
Why don't you go back inside, away from these mosquitoes that are nibbling us,
-have another look around and I'll catch up with you in a while?
-OK, thank you.
So, that was really interesting.
They are nature lovers and this is a prime location.
Perhaps with that third bedroom
it could be the property they're looking for.
It might not have the right number of bedrooms,
but with an asking price of £345,000 -
that's over £250,000 under their budget - there's plenty left over
to build that third bedroom.
The cottage comes with a stylish kitchen and, oh, those views.
When we came along the lane towards the reservoir,
I thought, "What on Earth have you got for us here?"
As a mystery house, I thought, this is going to be strange.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it was quite a modern property.
And then we came in and looked out that window,
and what a scene that was.
What I like about this room, Susan, is the view out of this window here.
Oh, absolutely. It's spectacular.
It's the best feature, isn't it? And then you've got your fireplace.
It's a very nice fireplace, that, lovely and cosy.
You can imagine sitting in winter...
-Sitting here with your nice fireplace.
-With a glass of wine, enjoying the view.
I do like the decor of this house, the contemporary features,
and, of course, the spectacular view.
But I do see it as a holiday home and not as a long-term prospect.
So here we have another water feature.
Are you getting the theme for the mystery house?
Could it be water, I wonder?
-Just about water, yes.
-I think you're right!
-I did say I like a water feature.
You certainly did. And you've seen all there is to see.
Now we're going somewhere nice and quiet, so you can have a think about those properties
-and gather your thoughts together. Let's go.
John and Susan's property tour of North Yorkshire
is coming to a close, and they have plenty to mull over.
Now it's time for John and Susan to make a final decision, but
the big question is, have we found them their perfect property
in the centre of a dream location,
something they've been searching for for so long?
Well, I'm not really sure,
so the only way we're going to find out is to go and ask them.
John and Susan, I know you've been searching, well, for over two years now
for your ideal property,
but how do you think the last few days have gone?
I think it's been extremely helpful.
I've thoroughly enjoyed it.
I think we've made as much progress in the last couple of days as we have in the last two years.
-It's been amazing. The thoughts we've had,
-the way we look at properties - it's all been affected by what we've seen here.
-Well, that's great news.
Let's start off with the very first property that we saw,
the farmers' cottages that were converted into one, I think, rather splendid property.
The quality and the style was just brilliant.
It was done to a standard that we could never imagine to do ourselves.
And then outside you've got the views of the sheep and the fields.
It's a nice, quiet location. We like that a lot.
We saw a Victorian property, quite an imposing Victorian property.
What were your first impressions when you saw that house?
The location's quite good for getting around, I think.
And the bus service, of course, will be excellent for Susan.
Yeah, I could see why we were brought there,
because of what the village had to offer.
This next property - I have to say, it's a first for me.
The stable conversion.
I've never shown anybody a property that they've already seen before.
-But you hadn't seen inside, had you?
-No, we hadn't been inside.
I'd driven up the drive, but not looked inside.
-It was revealing to see how modern it was inside.
-Yes, I liked the style
and quality. It was nice and airy.
-And, of course, those wonderful views.
-Yeah, in both directions.
And then you've got the walks, the two villages nearby.
-Which is important for you both.
-It is, yeah.
And, of course, we can't forget the mystery property, with all that water.
That really is a unique water feature, you have to admit.
I think it's big enough.
Water is quite an important feature for me. I think you hit it on the nail there quite well!
What about the cottage?
A very unique spot. You wouldn't get a view like that again, would you?
A really astounding view.
I think it's more of a holiday cottage.
It might be good as an investment, but not for us.
So, we know you've been searching high and low for a few years now.
We've shown you a few more properties.
What's the next step for you both?
Well, I think we need to find out a few more facts about that
first cottage we saw and make a decision from there.
I think we want to take that one a bit further.
We've got closer
to finding what we're looking for over the last few days
than we have all the time we've been looking.
So, it's been extremely helpful.
Aw! Do you know, I'm so pleased because I know you've put your heart and souls into it.
And we want to find the right property for you both.
-So, if you do put an offer in, you will let us know, won't you?
-I'm delighted we've been able to help.
-Thank you very much for it, the whole team.
-It's been a wonderful experience working with you. Thank you very much.
-Well, thank you.
I just wish it could've gone on a bit longer!
So, after an exhausting two years and 1,000 property search,
I think we may have got close for John and Susan.
In fact, they're going back to look at one of our properties for a second viewing.
Fingers crossed they put an offer in.
If they do, we wish them the very best of luck together.
Join us again next time for another Escape To The Country.
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Nicki Chapman is in North Yorkshire helping a couple who are buying a house together for the first time. They've already dismissed over 1,000 properties so this hunt is going to be a challenge. With up to £600,000 to spend, they're seeking a house with four bedrooms and a water feature in the garden. A large kitchen is a must, as are a garage and a study.