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There's an 18th-century saying that when God created the human race,
he made men, women and the Harveys,
and this is where they lived, an unconventional family home
with a colourful history filled with eccentricities
and the occasional scandal.
This county is where they called home,
but will I be able to find a rural pad for today's buyers?
Join me in a moment to find out.
Today, we're helping a young family find a slice of rural life,
but we have a big challenge on our hands to find a minimalist, character home.
I'm not sure about the beams.
I'm not a massive fan of sloping ceilings. I know it's part of the character.
Property prices come as a real eye-opener.
-And that property's on the market at £565,000.
So will we ever find what they're looking for?
-Buying it now!
Today, we're exploring all that Suffolk has to offer,
and where better to start than here at Ickworth House?
Built by the eccentric 4th Earl of Bristol 200 years ago,
this Italianate rotunda is testament to his outlandish lifestyle.
Not only was he a womaniser, agnostic and famously vain,
he also spent the latter part of his days
masquerading as a spy in France, for which he was imprisoned.
And if that's not enough, he was also the Bishop of Derry.
He was certainly a colourful character, but he obviously had
a great eye for architecture,
inspired, no doubt, by this county's magnificent landscape.
Nestling in the southern corner of East Anglia and bordered by Norfolk,
Cambridgeshire, Essex and the North Sea,
for urban escapees, Suffolk delivers unspoilt
coast and countryside in equal measure.
It's hard to believe that 600 years ago,
this charming rural backwater
was one of the wealthiest counties in the UK
and a powerhouse of the booming wool trade.
The merchants are long gone, but they've left behind
a legacy of impossibly pretty medieval towns and villages.
The beautiful Stour Valley in the south is a mecca for art fans
looking to follow in the footsteps of Britain's
most famous landscape artist, John Constable,
and to get a glimpse of the idyllic country scene he immortalised on canvas.
And it's not just the scenery that's intoxicating -
with more breweries per capita than any other English county,
it's a very merry place to live too.
As a whole, Suffolk property prices aren't overly expensive.
The average detached house here
will set you back 4% less than the national average.
Now, unsurprisingly, the coastline does command a higher budget,
so houses there are about £50,000 more than the rest of the county.
If you travel northwest towards Cambridgeshire,
well, prices here drop considerably.
To really get a feel for this county, you have to travel north and south,
east and west, so let's do that.
And when it comes to character properties,
there's lots to choose from.
If money is no object, how about this
seven-bedroom Georgian manor house near Bury St Edmunds?
There's plenty of period splendour and space throughout
with four reception rooms and two-and-a-half
acres of land, but it will set you back a stately £1.45 million.
For a fraction of the price at £550,000, you could buy this
five-bedroom Victorian family home on the outskirts of Bedingfield.
It's been beautifully restored
and comes with three reception rooms and a country-style kitchen.
Or you could be looking at this pretty, three-bedroom,
18th-century cottage and self-contained annex near Diss.
£400,000 will purchase three cosy reception rooms
and a very impressive 1.2 acres of land.
Well, some wonderful properties there,
but let's meet the buyers who are going to make their escape.
Nicola and Malcolm have been married for seven years,
and for five of those, have lived in their current home
in Worthing, West Sussex, with their two children, Cameron and Lori.
An escape from their seaside town has been on the cards for some time.
We've always wanted to move to the country,
and I used to live in the country myself,
and my family's all in the country,
and since we got married down in Suffolk,
it's something that we've dreamed of going back to.
But it's not just romantic impulses driving this big move to Suffolk -
Nicola's parents live there, and Malcolm's job has recently relocated to bordering Essex,
so it makes practical sense too.
And with two young children to consider, location will be all-important.
I would like to have some neighbours.
I'd definitely like things like a few local shops,
need a primary school nearby,
and I like things like maybe a playground or something like that.
Despite trawling the internet for suitable homes,
Nicola and Malcolm haven't viewed a single house.
We don't necessarily agree. The properties I keep ear-marking,
he keeps looking at them saying he doesn't like them.
Mmm, and I think it's because I don't necessarily know
what my dream house is until I walk into it.
But there is one property Malcolm is more than happy with.
If we could like pick the house up and move it to the country,
it'd be perfect for us, so it's hard to leave it.
Before they can home in on a new house,
Nicola and Malcolm will need to sell up.
So we've invited an agent in to give them a valuation.
This is a spacious, very well presented
four-bedroomed detached family home in a sought-after location.
For that reason, I would place a value on it of £450,000.
With that in mind, what's the final spend for Suffolk?
The absolutely maximum budget we have for our move is £500,000.
Well, it looks like we might have a bit of a fight on our hands,
although I don't think it will be too bad.
The thing I have to remember is that Malcolm wants a big wow, something different,
whereas Nicola, she's thinking from a much more practical point of view.
But fundamentally, they do both agree -
they want four bedrooms, a separate study and space for the kids' toys,
and they're even willing to give up their dining room
for a kitchen/diner.
With family near Sudbury
and Malcolm's offices in Bishop's Stortford,
Nicola and Malcolm want to concentrate their search
in the villages around the south Suffolk/Essex border.
We'll be viewing three impressive family homes,
but, as always, I'll be staying tight-lipped
on the prices until the end of the tours.
And will the last of the three, our mystery house, have them converted?
Hello! Welcome to sunny Suffolk.
-Brilliant day, isn't it?
Part of the key to this move is keeping the children happy -
what are factors for that?
Cameron is desperate for the biggest garden in the world -
he wants a football pitch in his garden,
but space, being close to the family is one of the main things.
And schools as well, got to have some really good schools for them.
-All of that means that you're looking
at some pretty popular areas - how much money have we got to play with?
We've got £500,000 to play with.
Ordinarily, that would be so good, but we're into some popular areas
to get you the right location - is there any movement with that budget?
If we found something, could you stretch?
Well, certainly...there's a little bit of flexibility but not too much.
That's the key word there, flexibility - keep that in mind.
There's lots to see and we should get moving.
So for a flexible half million-pound budget,
Nicola and Malcolm are after an unusual property,
a minimalist character home, and they want a lot of it -
four bedrooms, a big kitchen/diner, a separate study,
a playroom, a large back garden, and an annexe would be good.
That's quite some wish list. Finding all this,
as well as Malcolm's must-have wow factor, is a huge ask
in rural Suffolk, so I hope they'll be realistic
and willing to embrace some compromise along the way.
For our first property, we're heading to the outskirts
of the picturesque village of Long Melford.
In 2008, in a nationwide poll by a reputable firm of estate agents,
it ranked seventh as the most desirable place to live in Britain.
It's two-and-a-half-mile high street puts the long into Long Melford,
and it's home to four pubs,
a huge variety of independent and traditional retailers,
and the all-important primary school
has an Ofsted rating of good to outstanding.
So let's see if Nicola and Malcolm will rate our first house as highly.
It's situated just a couple of minutes' drive away
in the tiny village of Borley.
Now, this is the property that I want to show you - what do you think of that?
I'm not used to a house on the road, but I suppose it's a quiet road.
-It was a small cottage to start with, they've extended it.
About six years ago, and it's very modern and updated,
it's got some wonderful character features.
-Let's have a look inside.
I'm hoping this Victorian cottage will have enough character to appeal
to Nicola but deliver the modern minimalistic look Malcolm is after.
I think it definitely has wow factor, but will they?
In you come, come through.
So, we're in the old part of the house - this is the traditional cottage.
I'm not sure about the beams.
But they're lovely! So many people will be going,
"They're perfect - what a lovely bit of tradition in there."
They just look a bit out of place against the kitchen.
See, I don't mind them.
I think that's quite nice, cos the kitchen's modern,
but it still gives it a bit of character,
and the fact that you can see through them rather than them being
like a big wall that brings the room in.
I don't mind those, actually.
Let's have a closer look at that kitchen.
So from the traditional part of the house
into a very, very sleek and modern kitchen
and then just at the back there, there's a utility space
where we've got space for the fridge/freezer,
your washing machine, and then there's built-in appliances.
-Plenty of drawer space,
and that oven is huge - you'd fit a nice big turkey in there.
Who will be in the kitchen most?
There was no hesitation, he didn't even think about it.
-All the time.
-This will be the only time I'm in here.
-You don't collect your meals in here, a bit of washing up?
-He's a modern man. You lucky girl.
Well, next door is a room I think Malcolm will enjoy spending lots of time in.
Right, here's your treat, more space for you.
-What do you think? Yeah, that's all I get for this huge room.
-It's really airy and light.
-Definitely like the wood floor.
Oak throughout. We've got oak beams, oak floor.
-It's lovely and spacious.
-It's very bright as well.
-It's not just these windows that's letting light in. Come with me.
Quirky indeed is this property - have a look at that.
You're looking into the master bedroom,
which we'll come back to later on.
So we've given you extra space here,
nice family room, but there's even more on this floor.
We're back into the older part of the property -
what do you think?
-I think I can guess what you're going to say.
Well, I don't we'd fit all our furniture in actually,
the sideboard and the table.
No, you'd struggle, yeah.
At the moment, on our lounge, we also have a playroom
where all the toys and everything are kept...
Funny you should say that. That's not a cupboard door -
it leads through to a bathroom and what could be
a fourth bedroom or playroom for the children.
Let's have a look upstairs.
'Wow, mixed reactions so far, which has really surprised me,
'because I thought this blend of contemporary and character would be spot on.
'Let's see if upstairs will make a bigger impact.'
Upstairs, we've got more quirky little features.
This isn't wall art, these are all storage cupboards.
You've got a bedroom here.
Come this way
-and watch your head.
We've got another bedroom here.
-It is small, isn't it?
-It is small. I feel quite confined.
For a child's bedroom?
I'm not a massive fan of sloping ceilings.
I know it's all part of the character.
Well, if this room is just too traditional
and has too many beams for you,
let's have a look at something a bit more modern. Come on.
'Hang on a minute -
'isn't Nicola the one that's supposed to like character features?
'Just as well this house comes with plenty of contemporary ones too.'
-That's quite funky.
-This is funky and modern.
Cute little windows.
-That's nice. That's kind of our thing, that bath's really nice.
Well, you've got a nice bathroom here,
-but you get your own shower room in the master.
So a bit more space here, and definitely,
I think, more modern for the master bedroom.
Definitely. The window is fantastic.
Imagine lying in bed with a wonderful window like that.
I think they've framed the outlook so well there.
It's really beautiful.
It's a lovely room, and I like the idea of the light,
but I'm wondering where I'd put everything, especially all your clothes.
You have more clothes than anyone.
-So we need a separate walk-in wardrobe for you.
-I think so.
That was not on the checklist.
Come and have a look at this - we looked at it from downstairs.
You can even stand on it from up here.
I think I'll give that a miss.
You're not brave enough, are you? What about you, Nicola?
-It's an interesting feature.
I think, as I've said, you can really see the purpose of it
is to get the light coming through there
-and then heading straight down into the living room.
-That's really nice.
'I thought that might impress Malcolm and I don't think either
'of them will be disappointed by the garden -
'at around quarter of an acre, it's a great space for the children.'
We've got a fairly large garden with this property -
lovely patio area here and then all of this lawned.
It's quite sizeable, isn't it?
To play, kick a ball, have a barbecue -
it could be quite pleasant out here for all of you if you were to buy it.
So let's go and have wander into this garden
and finally talk about money.
Well, they've been impressed by parts of the house
and slightly underwhelmed by others,
so I wonder what they'll make of the price.
Deceptively small from the front, but from the back you can see
you get two houses for the price of one,
but the crucial question is, with this location,
double-sized property, how much do you think it's on the market for?
I think cos it's quite unusual and the amount of work that's been done, maybe £450,000?
I'm thinking cos it's as quirky as it is and so unusual,
probably not many other properties like it,
it could be a little bit more than that, probably 475?
-OK, the property's on the market at £565,000.
That's the biggest reaction I've had from you so far.
That's shocked you.
-Yeah, it has.
So putting into perspective for you a little bit
what you might get for your money in the area?
I think it's an unusual property, so it may have an unusual
value against it, but that's surprised me, that has.
It's been on for six months, and the sellers are willing
to accept some offers around the 500 mark -
remember that is the stamp duty threshold.
-So have another wander round, and I'll see you later on.
Big shock for them. I think this really does
test the waters for what they can get for their money in this area.
And for them, we're going to have to consider
where they're willing to compromise.
At £565,000, this contemporary-styled character cottage
is definitely a reality check, but there is room to negotiate
a significantly reduced price,
and on paper this has nearly everything
Nicola and Malcolm have asked for -
three to four bedrooms, a huge living room,
an open plan kitchen/breakfast room and a big garden.
It's a unique property in a highly sought-after location,
which is of course reflected in the price.
-That's a good little playroom.
-It's really nice.
-Plenty of room for the toys, isn't it?
-Yeah, it's really sweet.
I think the main positives of this house are definitely the look -
it's a very nice-looking house.
I think the house is really quirky.
Some of the rooms are fantastic, and other rooms are quite small.
I think I could probably see this room working for us.
Upstairs rooms are way too small -
there's just nowhere to put anything.
Come on, you two, we've got a lot more to do, so let's go.
Our next property is situated in the Stour Valley,
just over the border into Essex.
It's in the tiny village of Ashen.
With a population of just 315 people,
it's about as quiet as villages come.
However, just a few minutes' drive away is the beautiful Suffolk town
of Clare, which comes with all the amenities
Malcolm and Nicola could need, including plenty of pubs
and restaurants, a good selection of shops, a popular primary school
and Clare County Park, which provides a perfect spot
for the family to get outdoors and active.
There's a wealth of period properties,
but since we know Malcolm and Nicola would love to be able to pick up their 1950s house
and plonk it in the country, we're sticking to the 20th century with our next viewing.
Right, just round here, this is the house I want to show you.
Wow, that looks really grand.
-I like it, it looks really quite big.
-Grand and big, both good?
It's a modern house in a quiet village.
It doesn't look modern, though - I like that.
-It looks like it's got a bit of character.
-Fits in nicely.
Because it's a modern property, it does come with a fair amount of space.
-Not one, not two, not three, not four but five bedrooms!
I knew that'd impress you.
Come on, let's have a look.
Built in the '70s, this is a big family home.
Decoratively, it probably will need some updating, but it has bags of potential,
and they could really put their own stamp on the place.
So in we come. Nice big hallway.
-Down here you can see
lots of doors leading to lots of rooms that we'll investigate.
-Behind me here we have a downstairs cloakroom, but first of all, let's have a look at the kitchen.
Here we go. It's a nice big kitchen. What do you think in terms of size?
It's not entirely... I mean, obviously, taste doesn't really come into it,
but it's the kind of thing I look at it and think I'd want to start again,
because I like to have a big range cooker.
A redesign from our point of view, but it's a big enough space to do something with it.
Behind here leads you to the utility room - just poke your head in it.
-Oh, that's quite big, isn't it?
-Nice and big.
-Now think about that, and I think you start to see what I'm saying about options.
Maybe you'd want to knock through and make something bigger there, or you've got that extra storage space.
-It's a good definitely, I think.
-I think so.
-You're starting to think now.
Right, let's keep exploring, then. After me.
-Here's the dining room.
-It's really big, actually.
-And really airy, isn't it?
-It is. There's a lot of light coming in.
-A lovely big window coming all the way through looking out onto the garden.
-As it is, obviously, it needs some updating and refreshing to your tastes.
But could you see this working for your family?
-I think I could.
-Oh, yeah, at the moment just thinking about the work that we'd have to do as well.
We are prepared to do work on a property and we've done it in our previous houses,
but it very much depends on how much we've got to play with.
Of course. The other consideration is that this is a property
-that you're going to move to and not move again.
So even if work needs doing, you can take your time.
-Yeah, you could do.
-You've got plenty of years left. Come on, let's keep looking round.
Here's the living room, which is another big room, I think.
-Well, it's definitely got the size.
-Yeah, it's fine and it's that kind of shape
where you haven't got to worry about awkward spaces, and I like the fact it's nice and bright as well.
-Let's have a look at the five bedrooms.
'I'm really pleased Nicola and Malcolm are seeing past the wallpaper
'and visualising what they could do with the house.
'I know Malcolm loves his wow factor, but that can easily be created.
'What this offers them is a space they can grow into and really make their own.
'And there's lots more of it upstairs.'
Plenty of space up here as well in the master bedroom.
Oh, yeah, definitely.
Lots of room for your clothes.
-And you could maybe fit a king-size bed as well.
An improvement on your current bedroom is there's an en suite with this one. Let's have a look.
-It's like a family bathroom, really.
Shower and a huge bath with all the bubbles going if you want them to.
Yeah, we've got a spa bath at the moment, haven't we?
-Yeah, not quite like that.
-No, very true.
Come on, let's keep looking round.
Here we've got the family bathroom, which is another really good size with bath and shower.
I said this is a five-bedroom property, so two good-size doubles,
lots of space in them, two singles.
In fact, that single over there's got stairs leading up to the attic, lots of space.
-When I said somewhere else for the children to play...
-I'm thinking put them upstairs.
-You won't hear any noise.
-And the other one leads out onto a lovely patio, let's have a look at that.
-This is one of the smaller bedrooms.
-I see, yeah.
So about a single, as I said. The big draw is the patio area.
-Have a look.
I think you'll see what I mean as you step out
and take a look at the view.
-That's really nice.
-I think you can spy the other big surprise.
Yeah, that's what I was looking at, not the view.
-Kids will be happy.
-I think so.
'I thought the pool would get a reaction,
'but let's take a closer look at what else the garden has to offer.'
-Is it big enough for you?
-Oh, definitely, yeah.
-You're not big gardeners, are you, at all?
-No, no, not at all.
No. I mean in terms of the kids, the only think I would say is that Cameron loves to play football,
and we've got this idea of having a nice sort of football pitch,
and as it is at the moment, it might be a bit too ornate,
but again the actual space is there, just not as it is at the moment.
-So you mean the fountain?
'Well, who needs a water feature when you have an outdoor pool?
'And I'm sure their son Cameron will be happy to give up a football pitch for some summer swimming.'
It's gorgeous, isn't it?
We could take some time off, soak our feet
and forget property hunting, but we need to find you a house.
How much do you think it's on the market for?
I think it's worth £525,000 - there's a lot of house there.
I'm thinking more around sort of £500,000 mark.
Well, you are almost there.
-£5 out - it is actually on the market at £499,995.
-Just under your budget.
-But it's been on the market for 12 months.
Oh, has it? That's interesting.
-So there's an opportunity there, it's been a slow market, things are picking up now.
But it could be an opportunity if it's the house for you.
-If you had a good offer accepted, you might have some money to make the changes you want.
You head back in there now and start working out what changes you'd make, and I will cool down by the pool.
-See you later on.
So at just a snip under £500,000, this property is bang on budget,
but there's still room for negotiation,
which should leave spare change to tackle the interior work.
This is a real family home and offers Nicola and Malcolm space galore.
There are two reception rooms, five bedrooms,
plus the enormous attic room,
and it comes with the added bonus of an outdoor pool.
I know they can see the possibilities,
so I wonder if they'll take the plunge.
It reminds me a lot of when we moved into our property that we're in at the moment.
I know there's work that needs to be done,
but it's something that we could do if we had the budget available.
Come on, Denise, you enjoying yourself? Time to go.
It's so gorgeous out here. I really do hope you buy this property! Please get it.
But you're right, there's more to do.
As the sun starts to set over Suffolk, the first day of our property tour is over.
Malcolm and Nicola want to swap the south coast for the Suffolk countryside.
For £500,000 they're looking for a spacious, rustic, modern home,
which on any budget is hard to find, but with these two, it's even harder.
-It is small, isn't it?
-It is small. I feel quite confined.
-For a child's bedroom?
So will we ever find them this tricky mix?
Wow, it's a bit of a thriller.
Well, we started this journey thinking that Malcolm and Nicola's property search
would be relatively straightforward -
they want a four-bedroom detached house in a rural setting -
but the challenge here is going to be finding all of that
with the elusive wow factor.
Let's see how we get on today.
We're rounding up Malcolm and Nicola's property search
here in Suffolk by heading to the ancient village of Cockfield.
With a population of around 830 people, Cockfield has everything a small country village should.
Medieval church - check. Pub - check. Post office and stores - check. Primary school - check.
And the pretty green comes complete with a playground for Lori and Cameron.
Although when they see the amount of land they'll get,
I'm not sure they'll need a village green at all.
What they will need however is a big dose of design inspiration,
because this mystery house is a project, so will they be up to the challenge?
A barn conversion for you.
I got a wow. I got a wow from Malcolm.
-You did remember our budget?
-It's a bit of a thriller.
Excellent. We have 1.5 acres with this property,
which is why it's the mystery house, because land was not big on your list.
If you want the space for the kids to play football -
they've got a couple of football pitches there.
I think you're right.
You'd need to have the imagination going when we get inside.
-It will need a bit of work...
-..but I definitely think it's worth showing you.
-OK? Let's go.
Getting a wow from Malcolm is like gold dust - let's hope he thinks the same inside.
Originally a threshing barn to the nearby farm, it was converted 20 years ago.
It has stacks of potential, so will Malcolm and Nicola have the vision to turn it into their dream home?
We're starting off in the extension to the barn.
Come on into the newer side of the barn conversion.
-The couple who own this have lived here a very long time.
-They converted it in the '90s.
-And so it hasn't been updated since.
I'm thinking fantastic kitchen/family room,
and you can just make a completely modern new kitchen here
without any problem at all.
-It's totally square, isn't it?
And you could just do whatever you wanted.
Malcolm isn't having any problems visualising the potential here.
Also in the extension are two good-sized doubles
and a family bathroom, but we're moving on to the original part of the barn.
So, one of the reception rooms that come with this property...
-I think it's like a small reading room at the moment.
What's your imagination saying to you?
It's quite intimidating, the beams, but not in a negative way,
because I would imagine that they could be taken away, potentially.
-Yeah. I think our vision of something like that would probably be more open plan, wouldn't it?
And this would open onto a whole area, rather than being a sort of separate room.
-But it's not putting you off?
-Of course not.
He says, "Not yet." More positivity.
-Let's hope it doesn't at all.
The good news for Malcolm is this property isn't listed,
so they could make internal alterations quite easily.
Plastering the beams and knocking through the walls
shouldn't be a problem, but they will need advice from a structural engineer.
So this is a lot more open and certainly gives you higher ceiling space.
Well, it is a lot more open, isn't it?
It's massive. I'm just thinking how high that ceiling is.
Certainly, you don't have to worry about beams being close to your head in here.
No, I totally agree.
You could open it out, because that's not structural. That's good.
-I could kind of see the kids playing out here...
..with all their toys and all their fun stuff - there's enough room, it wouldn't really matter.
Mmm, big Christmas tree there.
-Now, that would be good.
-It's the Christmas room.
-Can you see that?
You're really starting to see yourselves here, aren't you?
We'll wait and see.
He's getting all tentative and shy over there, but we're getting there.
Come on, let's have a look at the living room.
Your third reception room - currently, obviously, the living room set-up.
It's plenty light enough in here as well.
There seems to be a lot of space - we could put all of our furniture here.
-Yeah, you could really organise it.
Very good. Let's look at the bedrooms.
We're definitely on a roll, but I think the bedrooms upstairs on either side of the galleried hallway
will really need some creative input.
This could be the master bedroom.
Nice light coming in, but it's a small room.
-Too small, definitely small.
-Can't get away from that.
There is an en suite there, just tucked behind - you could just knock all of that out.
I think this would definitely have to go.
It's small anyway and for storage and stuff which we've said before.
-It'll take some designing, I think.
It's definitely a challenge this house.
-But it gave you the wow factor outside.
On the opposite upper-level gallery are two further single bedrooms - one is currently used as a study.
The bedrooms may have dampened Malcolm's spirits a tad,
but if anything can put the smile firmly back on his face, it's the garden.
They haven't asked for 1.5 acres, but I'm sure Cameron and Lori will be more than happy with it.
Let's see what you get.
You've got all that land on the drive on the way in.
You've got an orchard,
-a vegetable patch, plenty of space for football.
To get all of this house and do all of that work, we need to talk about cold, hard cash.
-So let's head over that way, take a closer look and get thinking.
Well, Malcolm and Nicola certainly aren't short on ideas how to transform this house,
but will they have the money to make the changes?
Well, this is the big moment -
we've got to talk about whether you can actually afford this kind of property.
I know it's your dream to have something of this grandeur and size, great location,
but, really, is it an affordable one?
Let's find out, shall we? Give me a number.
Got to be thinking around £575,000.
600, maybe 620.
-It's on the market at £525,000.
-Is it really?
Yeah, that's £100,000 less than you thought.
-And we're reliably told that the owners will take some offers as well.
-On the market three months.
Lots and lots for you to think about, so off you go inside,
-have a think, and I'll talk to you later on.
Finally, I got the big wow from Malcolm.
This is the kind of property that he's dreamed of and thought he couldn't afford,
and without a lot of extra money, it won't be his dream house.
Once they've renovated it, this could be it for them and it could be escaping to the country.
True, at £525,000, the barn is over budget,
but a bit of negotiation could bring that price down further.
It has masses of potential and space, with three reception rooms,
a kitchen/diner, five bedrooms
and a 1.5 acre garden.
The renovation work will obviously come at a cost,
but I get the feeling
Malcolm and Nicola think it could be a price worth paying.
You'd be absolutely brilliant on the vegetable patch.
I think you'd enjoy that, you know.
I probably would, and it's something the children, I suspect, would like as well.
-Growing their own tomatoes and things.
-Yeah, but that's only one small part of a very large garden.
The house is lovely, and if you got it right, over a period of time,
that could be a very, very nice home
and it would be the kind of home that you'd say, "Right, this is it, I'm here for keeps."
It's a lovely plot of land and a fabulous house.
It needs renovation, but it could be made into something wonderful.
That's it - you have seen all that Suffolk has to offer.
-A bit of Essex as well.
We've saved the biggest till last, and you have lots to think about,
-so let's find somewhere for you to sit down and make some decisions.
With all the properties now viewed, Nicola and Malcolm have a lot to discuss.
The houses they've liked all need some work,
so I wonder which one they think will make the dream family home.
Now, we started with the house with the skylight - that was quirky, I thought.
Yeah, very quirky, very different.
It wasn't that practical -
the size of some of the rooms, especially the bedrooms upstairs.
But it was a beautiful-looking house.
Let's talk about the property with the swimming pool - a surprise for you.
It reminded us a lot of our own house when we first moved into it.
It had the space that we needed and things like the swimming pool we hadn't even thought about.
-Really, really good.
-Yeah, certainly, ticks in the boxes.
-So finally the mystery property.
-Well, I mean I know moving to the country,
but I didn't know I'd need a tractor.
So impressive when we drove up to it, I honestly thought
you were doing that to wind us up - something that we couldn't afford -
and I was amazed to find that it was anywhere near our budget.
It was the first property where I got an actual wow from you, Malcolm, it was a special moment.
It's an impressive-looking property with an impressive-looking plot of land.
-You would be looking at some structural work...
..which we hadn't particularly planned for, but equally that's not to say we wouldn't.
I think the thing we saw on this journey is that, although you have a good budget for what you need,
although it sounds good on paper or easy on paper, four bedrooms doesn't sound like too much,
you could see that it could be a bit of a struggle to find what you want already done.
So how are you feeling now, which way are we going?
-Two stood out for different reasons.
The family home with the swimming pool
definitely had potential because of how we could change it
similar to the house that we've got now.
The second property would be the barn.
I think, at the moment, the one that is winning the day is probably the barn,
but with that you've obviously got to consider the cost of the work that you would need to do.
If it was the right price, then definitely, if I could stay patient with the work,
-we could put an offer in.
Brilliant. Well, with any luck, it won't be too long, then, before you're either converting a barn
or converting a house with a swimming pool - if that's the case, I want to come to the pool party.
-You can come to the barn as well.
-The barn as well! Thank you!
-Been a real pleasure taking you round. I wish you luck. Let us know how you get on.
-We will, thank you.
What a fantastic result!
We have found two properties that Malcolm and Nicola both like, and that's an achievement in itself.
The only question now is will Nicola be serving Malcolm cocktails by the pool
or will he be watching her toil away in the vegetable patch?
I'll see you next time on Escape To The Country.
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