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Regarded as one of the most elaborate timber halls,
this iconic Tudor oak building holds a secret.
It actually shouldn't be black and white.
So join me in a moment, when I will reveal all
as we make another Escape To The Country.
On today's show, I'll be helping an energetic couple
on a marathon of a house search.
But I'm worried when we get off to a rocky start.
-I don't like it.
-You don't like it?
You're allergic to animals, aren't you?
We won't get too close.
But finally we are on the home straight.
This space we've got here is excellent.
There's so many things that you could do.
Today I'm in Cheshire
and this is the 16th century Little Moreton Hall
Normally, timber frame buildings like this
would have been left to age naturally.
The timbers would be a light grey colour
and the plasterwork pale golden.
But it was those romantic Victorians who, in the mid 19th century,
brought about the trend for these Tudor buildings
to be black and white, as we now know them today.
They were worried that rural Britain
was losing its identity to the industrialisation of the country.
They wanted to celebrate Merrie England's heritage
so they breathed new life into these properties
by painting them black and white,
thus preserving them for generations to come.
Stretching over 900 square miles,
Cheshire sits on the Welsh border, with Lancashire to the north.
The moors of the Peak District merge into the county,
which then give way to the Cheshire plains,
whose canals, built during the Industrial Revolution,
are now a draw for narrowboaters.
Bringing in some of the county's £608 million per year in tourism.
Cheshire holds on to a rich architectural heritage,
with Chester laying claim to over a third
of the county's 5,500 listed buildings,
spanning the medieval and Victorian periods.
And there's a wealth of historic properties tucked away
in its more rural villages, making this a very sought after area.
But Cheshire is by no means cheap.
The average property price around here is around £50,000 above
the rest of the north west of England.
And there's one sport that's helped prices rise so dramatically.
Premiership players from Liverpool and Manchester
have all been donning their wellies,
albeit designer ones, and relocating here.
Wilmslow, Alderley Edge, and the village of Prestbury
all make up the Golden Triangle,
and residents there, well, around 20% of them,
have salaries in excess of seven figures.
But don't worry, you don't have to dribble or shoot a ball
to score a property goal.
There are still some fantastic opportunities
around the whole of Cheshire.
If you've got a big budget then this huge five bedroomed house in Mere
can be yours for £1.35 million.
The period features and large reception rooms give it a welcoming, cottagey feel.
Complemented by a bright, modern kitchen which leads out
to a generous conservatory,
with great views of the three-quarters of an acre
of landscaped gardens.
For £695,000, this four bedroomed chapel conversion in Oscroft
offers up a wonderfully light
and airy modern interior
whilst retaining some of its original features.
The house is cleverly linked by a walkway to the double garage
with open countryside all around.
And you can enjoy stunning views for £365,000
for this three bedroomed semi detached cottage in Cranwich.
It has a stylish, open plan layout and upstairs, the master leads out
to the balcony,
a perfect spot to soak up the surroundings
over a morning cup of coffee.
As you can see you can catch an awful lot
if you cast your net wide enough.
But today's buyers have been searching for a very large fish
in a very small pond, for quite some time.
So, let's meet them.
Property developer James and his wife, Pam,
have lived in their four bedroomed detached house
on the outskirts of Southport, for the past three years.
Although they've renovated it from top to toe,
they've decided life in the suburbs is a bit of a squeeze
and it's now time to branch out into the countryside.
We feel we just want space, quiet and space.
What we are looking for is some outbuildings
so I can follow my passion, which is classic cars,
renovating classic cars.
The type of lifestyle that I'd like
is firstly to go a little bit greener, and ideally I'd love
to be able to have some chickens and collect the eggs every day,
a veggie patch would be lovely, because I'm very much
into health, fitness,
and eating healthily is very, very important to me.
I think me and Pam both have this idea of living off the grid.
My side of it is, I like solar panels, wind turbines,
I'd like to be collecting rainwater and using that for flushing
the toilet and things, and just to try and reduce everything down.
Up until now, they've only been looking
in a very small six mile radius, as Pam has wanted
to be within a half-hour drive of her gym in Southport.
Of all the properties we've looked at, and there's been quite a few,
we found most of them didn't sort of flow properly for us.
I like things being spacious, new, with clean lines.
Something with low ceilings, beams, I don't like.
They seem pretty clear on what they don't want so what exactly do they need in their house in the country?
We'd like two reception rooms, a dining room for when the kids
come round, because, with having two grown-up children each,
we do need the space.
A breakfast kitchen would be ideal
because we do tend to spend a lot of time in there.
When I'm cooking, James will sit and chat to me.
And a minimum of three bedrooms for when everyone does come to stay.
I'm craving space.
I built this machine for making part of a wind turbine.
I've had to make this smaller than I wanted to, really.
As far as getting a classic car in here, forget it.
I've got all these machines and nowhere to work.
We're in the en suite at the moment,
which is very important to me, so I would like an en suite in the new property.
Ideally, the icing on the cake would be to have a bathtub in there,
with a window, so I could look out on to some fantastic views.
The key to the move is space. Where we live now, it's quite built up.
We're looking for one, maybe two acres,
somewhere I can have my outbuildings and where Pam can keep our chickens.
Fortunately James and Pam are cash buyers and won't be looking to sell their current house immediately.
So, how much do they have to spend on their next move?
We can spend up to £700,000 on the right property.
After a year of searching in Lancashire,
they've decided to change tack.
We've been searching in Lancashire for a year now
and found absolutely nothing.
We've hit a dead end, so we decided
we are going to have to move out a little bit and search other areas.
Big decision and quite reluctant.
I would like to get back to Southport,
I would like to go to my gym, but I have to be realistic.
James needs access to his business
so we think Cheshire may be the place.
So, today, we have a very healthy budget of £700,000.
But Pam and James want an awful lot for their money.
They want a big house, lots of land, lots of outbuildings
and Cheshire isn't exactly a cheap part of the world either.
he could find Pam a great house
but at the expense of James' outbuildings and land,
or if we find James his ideal rural plot,
Pam may have to compromise on the house.
They want to explore the countryside around Chester,
to the north of Cheshire,
so they are confining their house search to being a half-hour drive
away from the city, with a trip back to Southport taking around one hour.
I'll be showing them a whole range of properties
currently on the market.
But as ever, I won't be revealing the price tags until they've had a guess first,
and, as always, there's a mystery house
that will definitely stretch them to think outside the box.
Good morning, Pam and James.
-How are you feeling?
Now, first of all, you've changed your search area.
Very brave move.
Is this bringing new challenges to you both? Why have you changed?
We couldn't find what we want in the area where we are,
there were too few properties.
This isn't too far away and there's a lot more properties here.
The area's nice as well, so...
OK, Pam, let's talk a little bit more about this gym
of yours that you go to.
It's not just a treadmill that you're going on, is it?
-No, I do all the presses, and I go in the studios every day.
Wow! So how long are you there?
Anything between 1½ to 3 hours.
Crikey, that's a lot out of your day.
What's the maximum commute to this gym?
I'd sort of travel an hour for the right property.
Right, so it's all about the property.
It's mostly about the property, yes.
You have your own property business. Buy to let property.
So you know lot about what it takes to do a property up.
And keep it done up, if you like.
How much work are you prepared to do to a property, if you like it,
if we find the right location?
I think we're willing to work really hard on it, to completely change it.
A new build? I'll do a new build.
But I don't think you're going to find that
cos there's no lots of land.
Never say never,
he said, hopefully!
The budget, has it changed, or is it the same?
No, it's the same. Up to 700 for something that's finished.
It would be nice getting something for 500 that needed renovating and then spending money on the property.
OK, we have some fantastic properties lined up
for you today, and of course, there's the mystery house.
So shall we start?
-Well, come this way.
With a budget of £700,000,
James and Pam are looking for a detached house,
in a quiet location, which gives them
two reception rooms - not olde worlde, thank you -
a large kitchen diner, at least three bedrooms,
with a master en suite,
one to two acres of land for James' classic cars and workshop,
and with a gym close by for Pam.
We kick off our house search in the hamlet of Poole,
20 miles from Chester.
It's a quiet, rural location peppered with the clues of its Victorian past.
From its humble chapel and cottages, to the Shropshire Union Canal,
now popular with narrowboats
and practically on the doorstep of our first much extended property.
The house! Honestly, what comes to your mind?
It just looks like a neat little cottage.
It looks finished
for the purpose of the people that live in it now.
But I think it could still suit you two, bearing in mind what else we've got here, all right?
-Let's have a look.
This house is made up of three parts.
The original cottage was built around 110 years ago,
with a further gable extension added just over 10 years ago
and a modern extension at the back.
What's more, there's a real treat in store outside for James.
I wonder what they'll make of how it all comes together inside.
Here we come. Just wipe your feet.
Now, these, you can either get them boxed in,
get them painted, or get rid.
Some of the woodwork you see around this property
is to support floors, some isn't.
-If you got rid of these could you live with this room?
-This is a nice room.
I think this would make an ideal room which is your second lounge,
-for sitting and reading in.
-Like a snug?
I'll go with that. Next one.
I was thinking this could be a good little ante room
or work area, hobby room.
I was hoping was more your cup of tea.
Now, this is bigger than I expected it to be.
This is a nice sized lounge.
This is a modern extension.
It's got clean lines, wood burner.
That's lovely, that little wood burner.
So how does this feel as a living room?
-It's just fine, yeah.
You would be happy with the other rooms off this living room now?
Yes, so the second living room is...yeah.
OK, let's see what you make of the kitchen
because that's the heart of the house, isn't it?
OK, headache pills are needed maybe for you, James.
A bit too close. But stay with me on this one.
I'm thinking this is just going to be a sitting down room,
your dining room, or dining area.
But how about this for a kitchen?
It is a nice kitchen.
Pam, inside you said is your domain, really.
You're going to love the house. Do you like what you've seen so far?
I love this. That is just great.
That would suit me down to the ground.
-Who does all the cooking, by the way? I haven't asked that.
Right. And you like the kitchen?
-The kitchen's lovely, yes.
-I'm happy with that.
Shall we look upstairs then?
In spite of the beams, I think I'm winning Pam over, so far.
Patience, James, your turn will come outside.
But before that let's head upstairs and check out
the first two of the four bedrooms.
Just mind your head here, James.
You could do away with this.
And get these doorways raised.
Now, I'm not sure what you're going to use this room for,
because it leads into another bedroom.
Maybe a walk-in wardrobe or dressing room. Keep thinking.
This could be a master bedroom.
-We'll wait and see what you think of the other rooms.
-That was a daunting sound.
-I don't like it.
-You don't like it?
The shape of it, the sides going down like that.
It just doesn't do it for me, I'm afraid.
OK, that still leaves one room open to us, doesn't it?
If you don't like this roof shape,
I am a little worried. Follow me.
Mind your head!
Down the landing there's a modern family bathroom
with bath and overhead shower,
and a light, bright bedroom currently set up as a twin.
Let's see what they make of where they will sleep.
OK, now this bedroom is made to be the master bedroom at the moment.
It's at the back of the property so it's very peaceful.
Imagine waking up here, opening the window and all you hear is birds.
Nice views. Really bright room, isn't it?
Yeah, there's a lot of light coming in here.
We've all gone quiet, haven't we?
Again, sloping ceilings.
It is small, this bedroom.
We've got an en suite round the corner.
Shower and a loo.
Well, they may not be bowled over by the interior but this property
is all about the outside.
First up we're heading to the main stable block
to look at a home for James' classic cars.
So as you can see, you could have your boxes here
for stabling horses.
And you can hear one.
-You're allergic to animals, aren't you?
We won't go too close.
But what you should be able to see is a really usable A-frame building.
-It's excellent, excellent.
-I mean, you could get all your cars in here.
How would you have it yourself?
Well, you'd take these out, obviously.
I'd probably put a suspended ceiling in just for heating it.
Put the workshop at one end,
put the cars at this end, with a bit of space that side, excellent.
I should have shown him this first, shouldn't I?
He's just come alive, now he's outside.
Great smiles from James at last.
As if that wasn't enough there's also a double garage that would make a great workshop for him
and on the first floor,
there's enough space for Pam to have her own exercise room.
There's also a timbered stable block - horse not included.
Land wise, all told, it adds up to a grand three acres.
So plenty of space for Pam to grow her own vegetables
and keep chickens,
and for James to try out his wind turbine.
Seeing what you've seen,
I want you to try to guess the asking price of this.
OK, I think it's about...
I'll go for...over 725.
725. OK, Pam. James?
That's what I was going to say, actually.
I'll go for 700. I think I'm being cheeky.
It's on the market for £699,950.
50 quid short of your guess, James. So, good guess.
I want you to go back inside the property on your own
and see if you can maybe make it work for you.
-Good. I'll catch you in a bit.
Sneaking in under budget at just shy of £700,000,
this property gives James everything he's looking for outside
and answers many of their demands for the house,
including two reception rooms,
one with those clean lines they like so much,
a large, light kitchen diner, four potential bedrooms
with a master en suite,
outbuildings for James's classic cars,
a workshop, and even space for Pam to have her own exercise room.
All of this set in three acres,
so lots of scope for them to become self sufficient.
The space we've got here is excellent.
There are so many things that you could do.
It's picturesque. Really, really nice.
It's perfect out here.
We couldn't have wanted anything better.
And I know, looking at James's face, he was over the moon with it.
The outbuildings are fantastic.
Everything you want.
Perfect. Unfortunately - and it is an unfortunately -
the head height in the house.
It's something that I can't change.
-The house just hasn't got it for us.
-It's all my fault for being tall!
It's your fault, yeah!
OK, all done?
Don't tell me what you decided.
Let's get going and tell me later.
The Cheshire countryside may serve up
some prestigious property hotspots
but for a glut of architectural treats look no further than Chester.
Home to well over 1,600 listed buildings, its historic centre
is encircled by its impressive city walls dating back to medieval times.
We've arranged for James and Pam to meet local guide, Liz Roberts,
to take a walk through its history.
OK, so now we find ourselves standing outside the ancient city walls of Chester.
The walls stretch for a two mile circuit all the way round the entire city centre.
We've got the most complete circuit of city walls in the country.
What we're seeing today largely dates
from the 18th century, when a huge amount of repair work took place.
And they didn't need the walls for defensive purposes
any more at that time,
so they made them into the rather nice walkway
that we can enjoy today.
These sturdy sandstone walls lead round to the Eastgate,
historically the main thoroughfare in and out of the city,
topped by the Eastgate Clock,
commemorating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897.
And Chester's streets are lined with some unique architecture.
So, what I'd like to do now, guys, is to point out the famous
Rows of Chester, that refers to the galleries of shops on two levels.
We've got two high streets for the price of one, in effect.
Today the Rows are a mixture of Tudor and Victorian arcades.
It's said that because the hard, red sandstone bedrock under the city
made it impossible for shopkeepers to dig down to make their cellars,
they built upwards,
and by the mid-14th century, were joined by a walkway.
Pam may not be an avid fan of olde worlde beams but I'm sure that even
she's won over by Chester's historic charm.
May God bless you all!
God Save the Queen!
As the day draws to a close, it marks end of the first day of our property search.
James and Pam want to cross the border from Lancashire to Cheshire.
And with their £700,000 budget comes very high expectations.
-It's all my fault for being tall!
-It's your fault, yeah!
But coming up, our house search reaches new heights.
The owner that lives here is 6'6''.
And he had no scars on his forehead when I met him.
And they will need some blue sky thinking with our mystery house.
Our property search takes us just outside the market town of Nantwich.
Pam will be pleased to know that the gym she's currently a member of
has a branch just a 20 minute drive away.
Along with St Mary's Church, Nantwich has over 100 listed buildings to its name,
dating back to medieval times.
And the timber is a running theme, albeit with a 21st century twist
with this wooden-clad bungalow, formerly a pottery.
Oh, wow! I never expected that at all.
I'm glad you said you never expected it because I'm not sure
you would have picked it off an estate agent's particulars.
-What do you think?
It is, as you say, a very unusual looking building.
It hasn't always looked like this. It used to be a pottery.
Now, I think some of it was built around 1982.
What the owners haven't had to do,
they haven't been hamstrung by the original design of the house.
They've had a pretty free rein and I think the current owners' style,
I hope, matches your aspirations for your new home.
To some extent at least.
I'm interested to see what the layout's like inside.
-Looking forward to it?
-Let's have a look.
Well, I'm getting really positive vibes from their first impressions.
I know that James already has a whiff of what's on offer outside,
what with the triple garage - so, space for some of his cars.
But upstairs above the garage is a real surprise.
It's a self-contained annexe with open-plan living area,
a double bedroom and bathroom.
But let's hope the bungalow puts them in high spirits.
Come right in.
Ooh, that's a big lounge, isn't it?
-And I don't mind those beams.
The owner that lives here is 6'6''.
And he had no scars on his forehead when I met him.
Now, this room,
which is about the same sort of size as the flat that I live in,
is 800 square feet.
-Do you like the style?
-The window and the doors is gorgeous.
-Look at that view.
It is, it's incredible.
Have you seen the wood burner?
Oh, that's nice as well.
Is this something that you would really like to live in?
This is lovely, yes, really like this.
All right, let's have a look in the kitchen.
Things are really looking up.
They both seemed in awe of the space and style of this living room.
And even the beams are getting top marks.
-Yes, very nice, very nice.
It almost feels small after the living room but it is a big kitchen.
-Yes, plenty of work space.
-The reason why I think it looks so clean and tidy,
the kitchen, is because a lot of the white goods are out of the way.
Let me squeeze past you.
With the pantry.
Next door is an enormous games room,
which would make a great everyday snug with the views of open fields.
But stepping out of the kitchen we are really bringing the outside in.
That's a surprise.
This is a really useful outside area, that you can use.
A bit strange, really, isn't it?
Are we outside or are we inside?
-Do I grow tomatoes?
It is greenhousey, isn't it?
I'll give you an idea of what else we've got here.
We got almost this size space again the other side of the wall.
-Haven't seen anything like this before, at all.
Good! OK, let's get out of the heat - blistering in here!
Take a look at the bedrooms.
Well, they could grow enough tomatoes
to supply the whole of Nantwich.
All the four bedrooms lead off the hallway.
One is large enough to be a double and there are two further
light double rooms with those clean, regular lines they like.
Along with a spacious study for James,
there's also a bright, modern family bathroom.
But will the main bedroom measure up?
Here's the master bedroom.
-Feel free to have a poke around. You've got a dressing room.
The en suite's pretty impressive.
-Oh yeah, it's huge.
-Room for a bath in there if you so desire.
Ground floor bedrooms. What do you think?
-Not a problem I don't think.
-It's very impressive.
-Let's have a look at the gardens.
Start to think about how much this might all cost. All right?
Brilliant. The style and layout of this bungalow
seems to be really striking a chord with them.
Outside, land surrounding the property amounts to around one acre,
with a play area that would make a fantastic spot to keep chickens.
And good news, James, on the alternative energy front.
Looking at the house as well,
those are the solar panels to heat the hot water.
The owners have also done some investigating into getting
a wind turbine, and apparently this site is very suitable for that.
You can feel a bit of a breeze
coming up through these fields at the moment.
-Lovely, isn't it?
How much would you pay for it, I suppose?
This is the next big question.
-How much do you think this is worth?
This has got to be over budget. It has to be over budget.
I was thinking more about 750.
It's on the market for £725,000.
That's interesting, yeah.
Why don't you go and have a good look around the house on your own?
There's plenty to see.
Get a feel for the place.
-I'll catch you in a bit.
Phew! At the start of today I was concerned.
I know what they're after, they're after the big bit of land,
the big house, the huge rooms,
and changing tack just a little bit,
looking at what is essentially a bungalow, we may just have done it.
Although at £725,000 our former pottery is over budget,
it delivers in so many ways, giving them light, airy living areas,
four bedrooms with a master en suite,
energy saving features with its solar panels,
wood burner, and real potential for James's wind turbine,
outbuildings for those classic cars and a workshop, one acre of land,
and it's only a 20 minute drive to a members' gym for Pam.
-This is a great area.
-This is really good, isn't it?
-This is absolutely fantastic for the kids.
The very moment I saw it, I thought, wow!
It's just so different.
I hadn't considered
not having a first floor,
so it's quite confusing - it's hard to take it all in.
But it's definitely a beautiful house.
The size of this room and the outlook is really nice.
It makes the house, doesn't it?
-You could sit in here for many an hour and not get bored.
This is a very nice house.
This room's great, bedroom's great,
outside area's great, there's enough space for a workshop
and storing the cars, we've got somewhere for chickens,
we've got the green aspect going on, everything. Excellent.
You're smiling. This looks like good news.
-Let's get going then.
With such a wealth of historic buildings spanning the county,
I really am spoilt for choice.
But I couldn't resist visiting
the utterly gravity-defying Little Moreton Hall.
As a former surveyor, it's the sort of building that sends shivers up my spine.
So to get a closer look at this marvel of Tudor workmanship,
I'm meeting Rebecca Douglas,
who works at the house, now maintained by the National Trust.
you're the lucky lady that lives in this house.
Do you sleep in here?
I do. There's two flats.
I don't think there's anything flat that I can see in my eyes!
Looking at the building from the outside, I would get sleepless nights.
It looks like it's almost ready to fall down. Is it?
It's not. Fortunately.
There has been a lot of work done over the years
to make sure the property's stable, but it does look very wonky.
I'm dying to see the history of this place. Can we take a look?
We can, yes, I can take you through into the courtyard
and I can show you what was built and when.
Fantastic. Lead the way, please.
The house's architecture charts the Moreton family's fortunes over 100 years.
As they prospered, additional wings were added.
But it all started on the north side of the courtyard.
Goodness me, look at this!
This is amazing.
The first stage of the building
is what you see directly in front of you. That was started off in 1504.
The windows were added in 1559 by a carpenter called Richarde Dale.
So there were no windows at first.
There would have been very few windows. Glass was really expensive.
It was only when they became more wealthy and they wanted to express
that wealth, that they decided that windows was the way to go.
The Tudors didn't dig down deep for their foundations
but the Moreton family
certainly raised the roof in the Great Hall,
dating back to the early 1500s.
Some 70 years later they were still building upwards, with the addition of the Long Gallery,
which teeters above the south range
and was used by the Elizabethans for playing games and promenading.
This is the most wonky,
higgledy-piggledy building I've ever been in!
It's almost got its own terrain, hasn't it?
-This was built on top of an existing building.
-Some 50, 60 years later.
And as we head to the upper porch room
I feel my surveyor's instincts kicking in to straighten things out.
As you can probably feel, again, it's fairly uneven.
I almost want to hold on!
This is one of our fireplaces.
Looks like it's leaning that way, doesn't it?
It does, but actually it's fairly straight.
OK, well, I'll be the measure of that.
Let's have a look. I normally carry something like this with me.
It's pretty plumb, actually.
Which means that must be...
The bubble! Ha-ha! That's amazing!
This is the most wonky place I've ever been in my life
but it's probably one of the most interesting buildings
I've ever been in, as well.
Groaning under the weight of its 600 years of architectural history,
this building stands today as one of the best preserved
timber-framed manor houses in the country.
So, it's mystery property time. Pam and James did said they're prepared
to look at a renovation project, and this place could be just that.
But having had a look at things it might even be a little bit more.
Our mystery property takes us to the small village of Little Budworth,
just under 15 miles from Chester.
But nearby Tarporley picks up the prize for wearing its village pride on its sleeve.
As well as a post office and welcome pint on tap,
it's full of well-preserved buildings and traditions,
with the country's very first voluntary fire brigade
founded here 140 years ago.
James and Pam seem happy with the idea of a bungalow.
But how far can we push it with our mystery proposition?
It's a bungalow.
Or is it a small bungalow? When is a small bungalow not a small bungalow?
We can knock it down and build something else.
Correct. Let's have a closer look.
Now then, positioning.
Do you like it?
Location's good, yeah.
Quiet, isn't it?
This bungalow, believe it or not, has already been extended.
But we've spoken to the planners who say in principle, provisionally,
they've got no problems with it being extended by another 50%.
-Oh. Could you go up?
-Only by another metre.
But you do have a slope of land there.
You've got a good foundation there.
-Is that something you'd be keen on exploring?
-That's not a problem.
It's a challenge. And you know we like challenges.
You both like challenges, don't you? By the sounds of it, that's a challenge that may be
for the future, but as it stands I want you to give this home
-a fair crack of the whip. OK?
Let's have a look.
I'm pleased they're happy to sign up to a challenge
as this could be a developer's dream.
Let's start off in the kitchen.
I say the kitchen, the kitchen area.
Come through. Keep those in mind.
Kitchen into a dining area, into a dining room.
Oh, right, yeah.
What's going through your mind, Pam?
Well, I suppose, get rid of this, one big kitchen.
I'd have thought you'd have said that, yeah.
Every room I'm going to show you,
I'm going to encourage you to knock on walls,
to look at what's load bearing and what's not,
because every room that you see doesn't have to be as it's used now.
This doesn't have to be a kitchen.
It's just potentially a quite big space.
So now they're starting to fire up their imagination,
let's check out the rest of the property.
At the end of the hallway is one of the three bedrooms
a light single room which could be transformed,
if they want to get creative, in the bathroom.
OK, so, I was quite surprised by this room.
-They've done this nicely, haven't they?
-That's a nice bath.
-That's quite cool, isn't it?
-Is that a tap?
I was wondering why there was a toilet roll holder in the bath!
Initially I thought it was for the newspaper!
Now, look, there's no natural light in this room.
There's a single room next door, a single bedroom,
which I think is only used for ornaments.
And bearing in mind...
-That could go.
It would be a beautiful bathroom, wouldn't it?
-Yes it would, yeah.
-Living room, next. See what you think of that.
We'll see if we can build on that creativity in here.
I heard you like modern.
'Ey up, he's off!
What's James looking at?
Is that the neighbours?
That's the neighbours.
You shouldn't be worrying about that there.
This whole house, in your words, should be facing that way, OK?
At the moment this is a living room,
but what would you like it to be?
You could possibly divide the front off and make that a hallway,
because it does go through to the other rooms opposite
and then this space you could use as a bedroom or something.
Already, you're managing to turn these things around
and reconfigure this house.
But at the moment, it seems I'm adding this up as we go along
kitchen area could work,
big bathroom, spare bedroom, entrance hall.
-Let's see what we've got in the back, shall we?
At the opposite end of the property
there's another sitting area with great views over open fields.
But next door, Pam's got the sledgehammer out.
-I'd knock in the wall. Can it be knocked through?
-I think so.
-There's nothing that guy can't knock through.
-Yes, you could.
-You're mentioning knocking that wall down because...?
-To make this a bigger bedroom.
That's a lovely bedroom. Look at the view.
And, you may scoff, Pam, that's an en suite through there.
Our mystery bungalow gives James a great chance
to engage his property developing skills.
Perhaps the outside space will tempt him to give it serious thought.
Although there's currently an outbuilding with storeroom and workshop,
and a double stable block,
I imagine James, with planning consent,
might want to rebuild them from scratch.
But here's my big proposition for them.
how much of this land would you like to be yours?
Well, all of it, really.
Well, you've got all of it.
You've got three acres.
As far as your eye actually sees, you've got.
Wow, that's a lot of land.
And then look back.
At the little bungalow.
At the little bungalow that is at the moment.
And may be the opportunity to build a house.
With that in mind,
how much do you think this place is on the market for?
That is a difficult one, isn't it?
I'd go 250, 300.
Oh, right, I was going to say more than that.
But then again I haven't got the faintest idea.
Well, ignore what he said and have a guess.
I was just going to go for a stab in the dark and say 450.
Well, you're closer.
It's on the market for around £400,000.
To give you an idea of how desirable this sort of property is, the same agent
sold a similar house to this with a much smaller plot of land
for a similar price
just a short while ago within four hours.
This may be the only opportunity
you get of building your own home in this part of the world with land.
So take as much time as you want to have a look around here.
If, for nothing else, to write that idea off.
This is a rare opportunity to buy a wonderful slice of land which,
with appropriate planning consent,
could be their passport to a new, bespoke country home.
At just under £400,000,
our mystery bungalow as it stands
offers them two reception rooms, a large kitchen diner,
three bedrooms with master en suite
and three acres of land in a great, rural setting.
As a mystery property it was a good idea.
The thought of building our own house
or extending a bungalow, it's something we have talked about
and it would be marvellous,
but I think with this one
it's just a little too close to the neighbouring property
and the amount you'd be able to extend isn't enough for us.
The mystery property is in a really nice location.
It's got three acres of land, exactly what we're looking for.
The house itself, unfortunately,
I don't think that's going to work for us. I'd like it to,
because it's a project I would thoroughly enjoy doing.
It would be nice to build exactly the house that you wanted.
How did you both get on? Have you redesigned it?
In our heads.
In your heads, good.
Listen. You've seen everything now.
All we've got to offer.
-Why don't we find somewhere quiet, and get together and chat?
James and Pam's property search is now at an end
and I think we've given them a lot of options to mull over.
I don't know about you,
but I've got a fair idea
that the converted pottery is James and Pam's favourite.
They've always been very vocal when they don't like something.
In the pottery they said some very, very nice things
but I'm not sure how much they love it.
I'm not sure whether they are prepared to commit to this house.
I'm looking forward to finding out.
Here we are. Relaxing, are we?
-We are, yes.
-Discussing, have we been?
We have been, yes.
Is Cheshire somewhere you'd want to move to?
-Yeah, we like it. Definitely.
I think it's got a very good chance.
Let's talk about the cottage by the canal.
The location of it was fantastic. Near the canal.
And it looked lovely, and especially from the back of the property
when you look at it, it looked idyllic.
I like the outbuildings.
They could be very easily adapted to exactly what I wanted.
Excellent. Unfortunately the stumbling block was the head height.
Not so much of a stumbling block,
more a banging block! All right.
I think this was maybe going to be your favourite.
The white building. We got on pretty well there, didn't we?
-Quite special, that one.
-That was, yeah.
From the start, absolutely loved it.
That lounge, it was just fantastic.
In fact, the beams made that one.
It was a massive house.
But it still had the outbuildings.
Could you make the outbuildings work for you?
You could, yeah.
There's plenty of space at the back to build a really good workshop.
Plenty of space.
There was room for your henhouses.
There was a huge greenhouse. You'd be busy there.
That's the idea.
Yeah. That's fantastic.
OK, well, I say this with a wry smile on my face.
The mystery house.
-Oh, now you're laughing.
-That was a lot of fun.
I had a lot of fun in it, yeah. What did you think?
The gardens were fantastic.
For us, for what we want,
we'd have to knock it down and start again.
It would be cheaper to do that.
With all the properties in mind, I've got a fair idea
what you're going to say here, your favourite property is...?
The converted pottery.
-But what's next for you?
-I think we need to look into it.
The issue with that is the soft wood cladding.
We need to find out why that's been done
as a planning issue and what can be done to resolve that.
-Is it a potential goer?
A lot of potential there.
If it was brick-built, there would be an offer on it now.
With a brick skin on it now there'd be an offer.
But if there's a solution in the covering?
Well, there's a very good chance we are putting an offer in.
That's fantastic news.
I wish you the very best of luck.
Hopefully, all the right answers are there.
It's been a lot of fun.
Well, at the end of the day, that's promising news.
If you'd asked me this question at the beginning
I'd have been surprised to have even got this far,
but fingers crossed James will get all his questions answered
and it can go on to the next stage.
If not, one thing is for sure. Pam and James are certain
that they want to escape here to the beautiful Cheshire countryside.
Join me next time.
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