Dorset Escape to the Country


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Dorset

Property series. Nicki Chapman helps a fun-loving couple who have £400,000 to fulfil their dream of moving to Dorset, where she also tries her hand at polo.


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This Grade I listed Saxon church is home to a stunning memorial for a

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national hero, which was originally created for St Paul's Cathedral.

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Find out why it ended up here, and where I am, in just a moment.

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Today, a fun-loving pair

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are on the hunt for a welcoming country retreat.

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And then, when you have all your friends, and your mad parties,

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-before the DJ set.

-That's it, yep.

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Next-door!

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And, hopefully, our properties prove they stand the test of time.

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The house is 16th century,

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-the beams could be at least 100 years older than that.

-Gosh!

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So, it's certainly got some history going, have they?

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-So, it's not going to fall down then, is it?

-It's certainly not

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going to fall down, she says, with her fingers crossed.

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Today, I'm in Dorset

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and this is St Martin's-on-the-walls Church, in Wareham,

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and here lies the beautiful effigy of one of the First World War's

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most remarkable figures,

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TE Lawrence,

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better known as Lawrence of Arabia.

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Renowned for his diplomatic efforts in the Middle East,

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Lawrence retired to Dorset to pursue his writing.

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After his death from a motorbike accident in 1935, his friend,

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the official war artist,

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Eric Kennington created a sculpture for St Paul's Cathedral.

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Now, due to political unrest at the time, it was rejected

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and finally found its home here, in this peaceful spot,

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just a few miles from where Lawrence lived.

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A rather fitting place,

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given his great affection for this county.

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Holding a prime position on England's south coast,

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Dorset is bordered by four counties, including Somerset and Wiltshire.

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There are no motorways or cities within its boundaries,

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making it a truly rural place.

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Instead, the winding lanes lead to around 150 villages, where idyllic

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limestone and thatched homes paint a perfect picture of country life.

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Travel from north to south and you're soon greeted

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by around 95 miles of Jurassic coastline.

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At the far west of Dorset Shore

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is the historic port of Lyme Regis,

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featuring its iconic 13th-century harbour,

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a curved, man-made sea rampart known as The Cobb.

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The region has celebrated monuments such as the 1,000-year-old

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ruins of Corfe Castle, a formal royal palace

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and survivor of the English Civil War.

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However, there is also plenty of life to experience

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at seaside resorts, particularly the elegant Georgian town of Weymouth,

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a truly British destination.

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Pastel-coloured deck chairs line the beach promenade,

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where day-trippers and locals alike can pause for a moment

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to drink in the county's spectacular scenery.

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At first glance, buying property in Dorset seems expensive

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when you learn the average price of a detached home

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is just over £343,000 -

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now that's £60,000 more than the national figure.

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But do remember, it takes into account the multi-million

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pound super-homes in the Sandbanks region of Poole,

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which has some of the most expensive real estate in the whole of the UK.

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The picture becomes more realistic if you travel inwards, towards

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the likes of Blandford Forum and Winterbourne,

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in the north of the county,

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where you'll find your budget goes that little bit further.

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So, with that in mind, let's find out where in this gorgeous

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county today's house-buyers want to move to.

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Today's buyers looking for a country escape are recently retired

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travelling sales rep Steve and his partner,

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civil servant, Sue.

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We met eight years ago on the internet

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and we talked for about two weeks on e-mails

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and, eight years later, we are looking to move together.

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We are, yes.

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-In one word, Steve is dippy.

-Thank you.

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And I suppose, one word I would have to describe Sue,

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caring

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and...

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thoughtful.

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-That's two words.

-That's two words.

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Soon after meeting, Steve made the move from Birmingham

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to be with Sue.

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But whilst living together has allowed romance to blossom,

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they're far from in love with their current location

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in the Hampshire town of Farnborough.

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If you walk, all you can see or hear, really,

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is the motorway and cars, and the town.

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It is very noisy and it's a little estate.

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Now that Steve's son and Sue's son and daughter are grown-up,

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and Sue is on the verge of retiring,

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the couple see an opportunity to move to more tranquil surroundings

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and are planning to purchase a property

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together for the first time.

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I was born in Dorset. I've always loved the seaside.

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We go back as much as we can.

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And who wouldn't want to live by the Jurassic coast?

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It's a lovely walking area.

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We both enjoy walking and, truthfully,

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there's no better county for me.

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But while they long for the peace and quiet of the countryside,

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they don't want their new lifestyle to be too sedate.

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We love entertaining. We are very sociable people.

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We enjoy doing barbecues.

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I used to be a DJ, back in the '70s,

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and we've still got a vast collection of records,

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and we do like our music a little bit higher

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than maybe normal people.

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So, just thinking about the neighbours,

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they might be happier if they're not joined up with us.

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So, dreams of garden parties to the sounds of the '70s.

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But what this disco-loving duo are really looking forward to

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is finally spending more time with each other.

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The move, to us, means a lot.

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It's just a new life.

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We'll be able to spend more time together,

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relax and just enjoy ourselves.

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Sue and Steve have asked us to concentrate our house-hunt in the

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villages around the three towns of Weymouth, Wareham and Dorchester.

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And it's on the windswept beach at Weymouth where we're meeting up, to

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find out just what they're looking for from their new country home.

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Well, Steve and Sue, lovely to meet you. Why do you want to move here?

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I was born in Christchurch, in Dorset,

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and I've always wanted to come back.

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And I'm just about to retire, so it's a good time.

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-So it feels like coming home?

-It does, yes.

-So, new life for you.

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What are you looking for in a property, in the area?

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Well, certainly, the house, we want a detached house.

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We want a nice garden, big enough for vegetables and entertaining,

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a conservatory. And, as far as the house is concerned...

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Well, three bedrooms because we've got family

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who'd obviously like to come and stay with us.

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Downstairs, we'd like possibly not open-plan,

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and I'd prefer a separate kitchen-dining room

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because I'm not the tidiest of people when I'm cooking.

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SHE LAUGHS Fair enough! Fair enough.

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Now, you two love entertaining.

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I've heard a rumour about karaoke, about DJing...

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-It's just a rumour!

-LAUGHTER

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You're not going to want neighbours too close by, are you?

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-No, we don't them too close, no.

-That's why a detached.

-Right.

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Do you want to be sort of quite isolated, quite rural?

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Or would you like a community on your doorstep, ideally?

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-Ideally, a community on the doorstep.

-Yes.

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We don't want to be too isolated.

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What's the situation with your current home in Hampshire?

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-It's been sold.

-Yes. So you really are ready to move.

-Yes.

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So, remind us how much we have to spend in this wonderful county.

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It's £435,000.

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Now, you're quite realistic of this area. You've got a little bit of knowledge, haven't you,

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-about the prices?

-Sure.

-So, we're looking around that field...

-Around that.

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-435 is what you actually want to pay.

-Yeah, that's what we want to pay.

-Right.

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Well, we do have some splendid properties lined up.

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-Shall we get started?

-That's great.

-Certainly, thank you.

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For their budget of £435,000,

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Sue and Steve are open-minded about the style of property they live in,

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but they want it to be detached,

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with a separate kitchen and dining room.

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They'd also love a conservatory.

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Upstairs, three bedrooms would be perfect for visiting family

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and, outside, they'd like a garden

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where they can grow vegetables and entertain.

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A property on the edge of a village,

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so they can be part of a local community, would be ideal.

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And being close to the coast would be the icing on the cake.

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We've selected three fabulous properties to tempt Sue and Steve

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to Dorset, but only after they've had a look around each one

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will the price be revealed to them.

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Our last offering is the Mystery House, which is sure to

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give them something new to think about and could be the home

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that brings Sue back to her roots.

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-You're both young retirees, aren't you?

-Yes.

-Yes.

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Do you think you're going to miss work at all, or are you done?

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-Um, I think I will miss the routine.

-Yeah.

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But I can't see you two sitting still for very long.

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No, we certainly won't be.

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I mean, I want to take up fishing in a big way again.

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Why did you drop it?

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Well, when I met Sue, there were more important things, let's say.

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-More important things than fishing?

-LAUGHTER

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More important things than fishing.

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But, Sue, you've gone back down again, I'm afraid.

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Fishing has come back up with this move. LAUGHTER

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I think she'll be glad, once she's retired,

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-to get rid of me for a while.

-Yes.

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For our first property, we're travelling just three miles

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from the coast of Weymouth to the village of Sutton Poyntz.

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Sutton, meaning "south farm", was a manor

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owned by the Poyntz family in the 13th century.

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The picturesque village, with its buildings of Purbeck Stone,

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a local limestone, inspired the fictional village of Overthorpe

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in Thomas Hardy's novel, The Trumpet-Major.

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We're heading to a no-through road

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on the outskirts of the village,

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where there's a four-bedroom detached home

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I want to show Sue and Steve.

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So we do have an enchanting entrance.

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-This is a pleasant surprise.

-Very, very nice.

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So, what do we think?

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Well, it's just lovely.

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Very characterful, but right on the edge of the village.

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-And look at that view over there! Oh, it's lovely.

-It is, isn't it?

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Yes, very, very nice.

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The house was built in the 1970s, it has been extended

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in the last sort of 15 years or so.

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-Now, that's local Purbeck Stone.

-Yes.

-Right, shall we go in and see?

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I like that! Yes! Determination, motivation, let's go.

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A positive first impression for this property,

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which also features an attached double garage at the back.

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The living accommodation is accessed via the front entrance

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and we're starting off in the sitting-room.

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-It's just lovely and cosy.

-Mmm, it's nice and bright as well, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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-Is that a conservatory I can see out there?

-So you have a conservatory here,

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-but you've also got a sunroom at the front of the property.

-Yes.

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So off the hallway, as we came in, you've got a downstairs cloakroom.

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-Yeah.

-Plus you've got storage...

-Under the stairs.

-Good.

-Right?

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-I'm thinking of records there.

-Oh, oh, yes. The records.

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LAUGHTER

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-How many in your collection?

-I've still got about 5,000 left.

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-That's a lot of vinyl.

-It's lot of vinyl.

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-So we like the sitting-room so far?

-Yes, very nice.

-Yes, very much.

-Yes.

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OK, well, let's keep going.

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I'm going to take us through next to the kitchen.

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Here it is, overlooking part of your garden.

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-Oh, look at that amazing view.

-It's great, isn't it?

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-It's lovely, isn't it?

-Yes.

-The kitchen as well, it's lovely.

-Yes.

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-You've got your double ovens.

-Definitely what I wanted.

-Yep.

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-Yes, it's very nice.

-It's working for you?

-Yes, definitely.

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-Oh, definitely working for me, yeah.

-Good.

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-It's got the country kitchen.

-Yes.

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And you do have access to the garden.

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-Next-door to the kitchen is a separate dining room.

-Oh, nice.

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-They prefer it being separate.

-Yes, definitely for me.

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-So that actually works quite well for you, doesn't it?

-Yes, definitely.

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Oh, yes, I've got to remember your entertaining, haven't I?

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-The social couple, we like that.

-Yes.

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With your karaoke parties!

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All right, well, let's head upstairs and see what you make of that.

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Upstairs provides plenty of space, with a long central landing

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leading to a family bathroom serving three bedrooms.

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Two individually styled doubles, each featuring their own wash basin,

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and a third that the current owners use as an office,

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but could be another storage option for Steve's precious records.

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And the fourth bedroom is of course the master.

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Oh, this is great.

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And this has something that you didn't ask for,

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but I know you're going to like.

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-It has an en-suite. BOTH:

-Oh!

-Lovely.

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-Yes.

-So it seems to be working.

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What feeling are you getting with this property?

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It's nice and cosy.

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Even though it's a modern house, it's still got a nice feel to it.

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Mmm. OK. Well, let's head back downstairs because we've

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got to look at the conservatory

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-and that all-important garden, haven't we?

-Yes.

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This house seems to be coming up trumps so far,

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but I hope things are about to get even better.

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With barbecues and entertaining high on their agenda, I can't wait

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to show them the fabulous bright room that overlooks the garden.

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-Now, you do have this wonderful conservatory.

-Oh, it's lovely.

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-By the looks of it, it's used nearly all year round.

-It is, isn't it?

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Which leads us to this very secluded private terrace.

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-Oh, it's lovely.

-Yeah.

-Oh, that's very nice.

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-I can hear a water feature.

-Ah!

-It's quite calming, isn't it?

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-Yes, it is very calming.

-Yes. That's super.

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-It's smaller than probably we would have liked.

-Yeah.

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But it's tasteful. It's very, very nice.

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Yes, and the front garden's very private, isn't it?

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-Yeah.

-So you can sit there as well.

-It is.

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-So, really, you could say you've got two gardens.

-Mmm.

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-So I'm going to have to bring you back to reality.

-Oh, yes.

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You've sold your home.

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I wonder if this is going to be your next one.

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Let's put a price on our first home.

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-Shall I go first?

-Yes, you go first.

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-Well, I think it's going to be over budget, so I'm going to say 440.

-OK.

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I will like to think that it's 435.

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-The asking price is £450,000.

-Hmm.

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We have spoken to the owners

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-and they are happy to have a sensible conversation...

-Right.

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..if you want to take it further.

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-They are also aware of your top budget.

-Right, right.

-Mm-hm.

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-Oh, well, that's interesting, isn't it?

-Yes.

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-I guess you two would like to take a little look on your own now.

-Yes.

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-Yes, we would.

-Certainly would.

-Please do. Steve, Sue...

-OK, thank you.

-..have a wander.

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The current asking price of this detached house

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nudges £15,000 over Sue and Steve's budget

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but, with the vendor open to offers, it could still be theirs.

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The requested conservatory, along with the beautifully

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maintained secluded garden, could be perfect for entertaining.

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The double garage could be used for hobbies, storage space or

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even converted into more living accommodation in the future.

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This house is also well-located,

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within easy reach of the coast and Weymouth.

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It is very, very nice.

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Everything in the property is very tasteful.

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Conservatory is a lot bigger than I thought it would be.

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It's light, it's airy, it faces the south in the morning.

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That's... I couldn't wish for more.

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Oh, yeah.

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-They've got a barbecue up here as well.

-Yes.

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-So, actually, it's a lot bigger than it seems.

-Yes, it does, doesn't it?

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Because you can use that for your barbecue...

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-And that's straight through to the garden as well.

-Yes.

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-And they've got a little...

-Greenhouse.

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Yeah, they've got a little greenhouse on the side,

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which is all very nice.

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This is an ideal location, right out in the country,

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but not too far from the major town of Weymouth.

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We're a lot closer to the sea than we thought we ever would be,

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so I'm very, very pleased.

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So, our very first property.

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-What do we think?

-It was amazing.

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-I don't know how you're going to beat that.

-LAUGHTER

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Do we have our work cut out, do you think?

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I think you certainly do.

0:16:050:16:06

I like the challenge cos we have more to show you.

0:16:060:16:08

-Oh, good.

-Great.

-Let's go.

0:16:080:16:09

For our second property, we're heading north and inland,

0:16:150:16:18

30 miles from the county town of Dorchester

0:16:180:16:21

to the village of Mappowder.

0:16:210:16:23

With the name meaning "maple tree",

0:16:230:16:25

Mappowder has a striking parish church,

0:16:250:16:28

constructed in the perpendicular Gothic style,

0:16:280:16:31

with strong vertical lines and large windows.

0:16:310:16:34

Parts of the building date back to the 12th century.

0:16:340:16:37

It's just two and a half miles from the amenities of Hazelbury Bryan,

0:16:370:16:41

where there's a pub, a well-stocked village store

0:16:410:16:44

and a post office.

0:16:440:16:46

A five-minute drive back to Mappowder

0:16:460:16:49

is this detached three-bedroom period cottage

0:16:490:16:52

I want to show our couple next.

0:16:520:16:53

-And this is the second house.

-Oh, it's a thatch!

0:16:550:16:58

It's a 16th-century thatch.

0:16:580:17:00

-Very old, then.

-Amazing, yes.

0:17:000:17:03

They last, on average, about 30 years.

0:17:030:17:06

This one was done 15 years ago, and the ridge on the top has been done

0:17:060:17:09

very recently, so it's estimated you'll probably get another

0:17:090:17:12

good 15 years out of that, as long as you keep an eye on the ridge.

0:17:120:17:15

-So, we haven't scared you, we haven't put you off?

-No, no.

0:17:150:17:18

-Not at all.

-No, I love the roses above the door.

0:17:180:17:21

-It's a very chocolate box cottage.

-It certainly is, certainly is.

0:17:210:17:25

Well, let's see what you make of the inside.

0:17:250:17:27

This delightful Grade Two listed cottage was

0:17:290:17:32

extended at the back on the ground floor eight years ago.

0:17:320:17:36

But we're starting in the old part of the home,

0:17:360:17:38

with its many original features.

0:17:380:17:40

So, the door opens straight into the sitting-room.

0:17:420:17:45

I love the fireplace.

0:17:450:17:47

Oh, well, straight away, you look straight at it, don't you?

0:17:470:17:50

-It's wonderful.

-Yeah.

-What are we thinking of the beams?

0:17:500:17:53

They don't worry me at all. I don't know what Sue feels about that.

0:17:530:17:57

It does feel...obviously, it's a cottage, so it does feel very low.

0:17:570:18:01

I'm not tall enough to bang my head on that one,

0:18:010:18:04

-so that's not a problem.

-The house is 16th century -

0:18:040:18:06

-the beams could be at least 100 years older than that.

-Gosh.

0:18:060:18:09

So, it's certainly got some history going, haven't they?

0:18:090:18:11

-So, it's not going to fall down, then?

-So, they're not going to

0:18:110:18:15

fall down, she says, with her fingers crossed!

0:18:150:18:17

So, we can go one of two ways, either straight ahead towards

0:18:170:18:21

the light, so to speak, or we can turn left.

0:18:210:18:23

I tell you what, let's turn left, see what's in there.

0:18:230:18:25

-OK, we will see what's in there.

-OK, yep.

0:18:250:18:28

So, next-door is a separate dining room.

0:18:280:18:31

-Oh, this is lovely, isn't it?

-Oh, that's nice.

0:18:310:18:33

It's very light, isn't it? They've lightened this room nicely.

0:18:330:18:37

-Yes, and a wood store there.

-Yes, for your wood burner.

0:18:370:18:41

It's got the lovely sort of smell about it as well, hasn't it?

0:18:410:18:44

A bit like a fire.

0:18:440:18:45

So, if we've got a dining room that we all agree is rather wonderful,

0:18:450:18:48

-we also need...

-A kitchen.

-The kitchen.

0:18:480:18:52

So, the kitchen is through here.

0:18:520:18:54

Now, this is the extension. Beautiful garden there.

0:18:540:18:57

-It's very nice.

-The sun coming through.

0:18:570:18:59

I think I'll need sunglasses. Here's the kitchen.

0:18:590:19:03

It definitely works, having this extension out the back.

0:19:030:19:06

And it must be very difficult to build onto a building

0:19:060:19:09

-that has been around since the 1500s.

-I know. Amazing.

-Yes.

0:19:090:19:13

Also, it's been built out of brick, rather than the local stone.

0:19:130:19:17

-They've done this very well.

-What do you think of the kitchen itself?

0:19:170:19:21

-Yes, it's nice and light.

-I quite like the cupboards.

0:19:210:19:23

-I like the flagstone flooring.

-Yeah, that's nice.

0:19:230:19:26

I think it goes with the whole thing, sort of fits in nicely.

0:19:260:19:29

How do you feel about the house so far?

0:19:290:19:31

I would say I'm not as wowed as the last house,

0:19:310:19:35

-but I'm still keeping an open mind about it.

-It's different, isn't it?

0:19:350:19:38

It is.

0:19:380:19:39

The ground floor of this charming cottage also provides

0:19:410:19:44

a utility space and a cloakroom with a useful shower.

0:19:440:19:48

Stairs lead up to a landing, where there's a modern family bathroom

0:19:480:19:51

shared by three bedrooms -

0:19:510:19:53

a cosy single,

0:19:530:19:55

a compact double

0:19:550:19:57

and another larger double bedroom.

0:19:570:20:00

A little bit smaller than, probably, I'd have liked,

0:20:000:20:04

but a nice seated area over there.

0:20:040:20:07

Yeah, a nice window seat.

0:20:070:20:09

Even though it opens out onto the road,

0:20:090:20:11

I guess this isn't a busy road, is it?

0:20:110:20:13

No, it's a quiet road, isn't it?

0:20:130:20:15

-Right.

-So, I guess it's time to head out and take a look at the garden,

0:20:150:20:19

-the all-important garden.

-OK. Let's go.

0:20:190:20:22

We're going to follow you this time, Steve.

0:20:220:20:24

The cottage may not have wowed Sue and Steve so far,

0:20:240:20:27

but the real bonus here lies outside.

0:20:270:20:31

There's a pretty mature front garden, a garage that could be

0:20:310:20:34

used for DJ paraphernalia, and the star feature, a third of an acre

0:20:340:20:39

back garden with views across miles of rolling countryside.

0:20:390:20:42

We're getting blown around, but it's not going to

0:20:420:20:45

-detract from the garden, is it?

-It's a beautiful garden.

0:20:450:20:48

-I see we've got a little pool over there as well.

-Just for you.

0:20:480:20:51

We'll get you a stall and a fishing rod.

0:20:510:20:53

-And a lovely view behind us, isn't it?

-Gorgeous view,

0:20:530:20:56

as far as the eye can see, and that's what you're after, isn't it?

0:20:560:20:59

-Yes, yeah.

-That's what you are after.

0:20:590:21:01

Also, what you could do is have a wooden building,

0:21:010:21:04

a little wooden shed down here, the barbecue,

0:21:040:21:07

could be a summer house.

0:21:070:21:08

Play your music, invite your guests to the back of the garden.

0:21:080:21:11

-Don't have to worry about anybody else.

-Yeah, that's a good idea.

0:21:110:21:14

Well, we've got to put a price on this house.

0:21:140:21:17

-Oh, and I suppose it's my go first this time.

-Why not, Steve? Why not?

0:21:170:21:21

-Come on, what are we thinking?

-Well, I think I'm going to go for 410.

0:21:210:21:25

-410. OK, then.

-I think maybe a bit more than that, 415.

0:21:250:21:29

Your top budget is £435,000.

0:21:290:21:33

The asking price

0:21:330:21:34

-is 449,950.

-Oh.

0:21:340:21:37

So, £50 off that £450,000 mark.

0:21:370:21:41

It's been on the market since late last summer.

0:21:410:21:44

The owner is keen, so, if you were interested,

0:21:440:21:48

he would look at the top of your budget, around the £435,000 mark.

0:21:480:21:52

-We have had that conversation.

-Oh, right.

-OK.

-Yep.

0:21:520:21:54

So, take the opportunity now on your own. Have a chat,

0:21:540:21:57

walk around together, and I think I'm going to get out of the wind.

0:21:570:22:00

-OK, Nicki, we'll see you...

-After you.

0:22:000:22:03

This Grade Two listed cottage may be £15,000 over Sue and Steve's

0:22:030:22:08

top budget, but as the owner is willing to negotiate,

0:22:080:22:11

this home could make Dorset country living a reality.

0:22:110:22:15

It has the three bedrooms they've asked for

0:22:150:22:18

and a garage that could offer additional storage,

0:22:180:22:20

plus plenty of garden space for barbecues.

0:22:200:22:23

It's a real picture book Dorset country cottage.

0:22:230:22:27

I like the extension.

0:22:270:22:28

The kitchen was very nice

0:22:280:22:30

and, really, the garden was superb.

0:22:300:22:33

The garden is very nice,

0:22:330:22:35

lots of potential to change it into the way we want it,

0:22:350:22:38

and the views were lovely.

0:22:380:22:39

Ah, my couple!

0:22:390:22:41

-Have you seen enough?

-Yes, we have.

0:22:410:22:43

So, we've shown you contrasting styles

0:22:430:22:46

and contrasting periods of property. Quite different today, isn't it?

0:22:460:22:49

-Yes.

-It certainly was.

-Two very different properties.

0:22:490:22:51

So, you can relax now. You can think about what you've seen.

0:22:510:22:54

And guess what? We've got another little treasure up our sleeve

0:22:540:22:57

for tomorrow morning.

0:22:570:22:58

-Oh, looking forward to it.

-Yeah, the Mystery House.

-Oh, yes.

0:22:580:23:01

Oh, yes. Come on.

0:23:010:23:03

It's the second day in Dorset and,

0:23:110:23:13

armed with a budget of £435,000,

0:23:130:23:16

we're on a mission to find Sue and Steve from Farnborough

0:23:160:23:19

in Hampshire the first home they've bought together

0:23:190:23:21

in a county they both love.

0:23:210:23:24

We've still got a shiny new Mystery House to reveal.

0:23:240:23:27

This was a property that you might not have considered yourselves.

0:23:270:23:30

No, I don't think we would, definitely not.

0:23:300:23:32

Well, we started off yesterday on the right note.

0:23:340:23:38

After meeting Sue and Steve on the beach in Weymouth, our first

0:23:380:23:41

property was literally just a few miles away and very well received.

0:23:410:23:46

A great start to our property search here in Dorset.

0:23:460:23:50

Our second offering, that beautiful thatched house,

0:23:500:23:53

more north of the county, didn't quite hit the mark with our couple,

0:23:530:23:57

although they both fell in love with the garden and that amazing vista.

0:23:570:24:01

So, it's time now for our third and final home.

0:24:010:24:04

Of course, it is our Mystery House.

0:24:040:24:07

Now, I think this is a property that our couple wouldn't have

0:24:070:24:10

considered themselves.

0:24:100:24:11

It was only built a few years ago, but it certainly has the character

0:24:110:24:15

and style that they're after and, my goodness, what a garden.

0:24:150:24:19

Well, after yesterday, have you been dreaming and thinking about houses?

0:24:210:24:25

Definitely. We've been discussing house number one.

0:24:250:24:28

Just that garden was... It's the only thing we're not sure about.

0:24:280:24:31

We've already been planning things we could do with it.

0:24:310:24:34

But it's a new day.

0:24:340:24:36

It's a new day, it's a new Mystery House.

0:24:360:24:39

-It is, yes.

-What's going through your minds?

0:24:390:24:42

Well, I hope it's not a converted chapel,

0:24:420:24:45

but I wonder if it might be something with a project.

0:24:450:24:49

I don't know, I think it could probably be a new build,

0:24:490:24:52

or maybe one-level living.

0:24:520:24:54

-Hopefully not too many negative things.

-Yeah.

-We are quite open!

0:24:540:24:58

The destination for our mystery property is ten miles

0:25:010:25:04

north-east of Dorchester in the village of Melcombe Bingham.

0:25:040:25:08

The village merges with the further settlement of Anstey,

0:25:080:25:11

where there's a local shop, a handy post office,

0:25:110:25:15

pub and even a garden centre in close proximity.

0:25:150:25:18

Back in Melcombe Bingham,

0:25:200:25:21

bookworms are served by a reading exchange and mobile library,

0:25:210:25:25

while the pathways around the Dorset Downs are very popular with walkers.

0:25:250:25:29

The village itself is dotted with plenty of pretty period

0:25:290:25:33

properties, but I have a surprise in store for Sue and Steve.

0:25:330:25:38

The centrally-located detached Mystery House may not be old,

0:25:380:25:42

but it still has plenty of character.

0:25:420:25:45

So, it is our final property to show you, here in Dorset.

0:25:450:25:49

-It's not a converted chapel!

-It's not a converted chapel!

0:25:490:25:51

-But it is a new build.

-It is a new build.

-It's lovely, isn't it?

0:25:510:25:55

-Yes, yeah.

-Very interesting.

0:25:550:25:56

We thought this was a property

0:25:560:25:58

that you might not have considered yourselves.

0:25:580:26:00

No, I don't think we would, definitely not.

0:26:000:26:02

-What's going through your minds?

-It's very nice.

0:26:020:26:05

I do like the look. I like the flint in the brick and the windows.

0:26:050:26:08

-We like the outside. Let's see what you think inside.

-Great.

0:26:080:26:12

Built in the year 2000,

0:26:120:26:13

the characterful nature of the mystery property has

0:26:130:26:17

so far been a hit, and the charm offensive continues inside,

0:26:170:26:21

as we go through the entrance hallway

0:26:210:26:24

and head to the sitting room.

0:26:240:26:26

-Oh, this is very nice.

-Oh, yes, I like this.

0:26:260:26:28

I like the French windows. The French doors out to the patio.

0:26:280:26:31

Love the beam as well, and it fits with the fireplace.

0:26:310:26:34

Beautiful fireplace.

0:26:340:26:35

You wouldn't realise it was a new build.

0:26:350:26:37

It's got character, hasn't it, and charm?

0:26:370:26:39

-Yeah, it has, a lot of character.

-So far, so good?

-So far, so good.

0:26:390:26:42

Well, if you'd like to follow me.

0:26:420:26:44

-The all-important separate dining room...

-Oh, yes.

0:26:480:26:51

-..right next-door to our kitchen.

-Yeah, that's really nice.

0:26:510:26:55

-Lovely size.

-I like the colour of the cupboards.

-Yeah.

0:26:550:26:59

-Oh, look at that cooker.

-Ah.

0:26:590:27:01

-So, for the two of you, perfect dining area.

-Yeah.

0:27:020:27:05

And then, when you have all your friends and your mad parties,

0:27:050:27:08

before the DJ set. SHE IMITATES DANCE MUSIC

0:27:080:27:10

Next-door!

0:27:100:27:12

Sue, would you change anything in this kitchen?

0:27:120:27:14

-No, I don't think I would change anything in the kitchen.

-No.

0:27:140:27:18

-Heading upstairs now.

-OK.

0:27:180:27:19

The ground floor also has a utility space and cloakroom,

0:27:210:27:24

whilst upstairs the landing leads to a family bathroom,

0:27:240:27:27

which serves three bedrooms.

0:27:270:27:30

There are two doubles at the front of the house,

0:27:300:27:32

one slightly smaller than the other, and a third bedroom at the back,

0:27:320:27:36

which is currently being used as a study.

0:27:360:27:39

Next to it, a master en-suite,

0:27:390:27:41

which enjoys a peaceful outlook over the garden.

0:27:410:27:44

Yes, a nice size. Just the right size, really.

0:27:450:27:49

You don't want anything too big.

0:27:490:27:50

I mean, you know, we only sleep up here, don't we?

0:27:500:27:53

The storage is in there as well.

0:27:530:27:56

Now, we know that the garden is just as important as the house.

0:27:560:27:59

I keep looking out the window.

0:27:590:28:01

-So, Steve, if you wouldn't mind making your way back downstairs.

-OK.

0:28:010:28:04

Thank you. And, Sue, there's something very special in the garden for Steve.

0:28:040:28:08

Oh, good, I can't wait.

0:28:080:28:10

A great response to the house and, outside, the impressively landscaped

0:28:100:28:15

garden wrapping around the property has more to wow Sue and Steve.

0:28:150:28:19

They could enjoy their own produce from a vegetable patch

0:28:190:28:22

and fruit trees and, with a choice of areas to barbecue,

0:28:220:28:25

it's a perfect space for guests.

0:28:250:28:28

Plus, after all that entertaining,

0:28:280:28:30

they could unwind next to the rather special water feature.

0:28:300:28:35

Tah-dah!

0:28:350:28:36

-Your own river.

-There you go.

-Oh, that's nice.

0:28:360:28:39

You could be fishing out here for hours. You might not catch anything.

0:28:390:28:43

-It'll keep you busy.

-Yeah, what a feature.

0:28:430:28:46

It's not every day we can find a beautiful garden with a stream.

0:28:460:28:50

Oh, it's fabulous. It really is nice.

0:28:500:28:52

-What do we think?

-I think it's beautiful.

-Yeah. Ooh! And I like it.

0:28:520:28:57

It's just the sound of water. It's sitting there, hearing the water,

0:28:570:29:01

-it just does something to you.

-Very peaceful.

-It calms you down.

0:29:010:29:05

So, for our final time, we've got to put an amount on our Mystery House.

0:29:050:29:10

I think this is definitely over budget, so I'm going to say 460.

0:29:100:29:14

OK.

0:29:140:29:16

Oh, I would say 445.

0:29:160:29:19

Asking price...

0:29:190:29:21

£450,000.

0:29:210:29:23

-Mm.

-Right.

0:29:230:29:25

One thing I will say is - you have sold your property.

0:29:250:29:28

-You're in a great position to have a conversation.

-Yeah.

0:29:280:29:32

Yes, certainly, we've got to talk about this, haven't we?

0:29:320:29:35

-Yes, yes.

-So, I guess you're going to want to have another little

0:29:350:29:38

-look around on your own this time.

-We certainly are.

-Please do.

0:29:380:29:41

-Enjoy it. See you in a little while.

-Thanks.

0:29:410:29:45

This house may be £15,000 over budget,

0:29:450:29:48

but, with their house already sold, our buyers couldn't be

0:29:480:29:51

in a stronger position to negotiate with the vendor.

0:29:510:29:54

With four bedrooms, there's space for Steve's records.

0:29:540:29:58

Downstairs, the large sitting room

0:29:580:30:00

and separate dining room are ideal for indoor entertaining.

0:30:000:30:04

Outside, the landscaped gardens could be used to host parties,

0:30:040:30:08

and what could be better for angling enthusiast Steve

0:30:080:30:11

than his very own stretch of stream?

0:30:110:30:14

Well, it's certainly a house with a wow factor.

0:30:140:30:17

They've done it so tastefully and four bedrooms, which is a plus.

0:30:170:30:21

Ideal.

0:30:210:30:23

-Look at that. Lovely, isn't it?

-Beautiful.

0:30:230:30:26

HE LAUGHS

0:30:260:30:28

I'm blown away by the garden.

0:30:280:30:30

It's so well set out, so many different areas. Just lovely.

0:30:300:30:33

I don't think we could ask for any more.

0:30:330:30:35

We're going to have a big, big problem deciding. This is very nice.

0:30:350:30:39

I'm very impressed with the mystery house.

0:30:390:30:41

I'm glad that we were brought here.

0:30:410:30:43

Oh, my word. We have put the cat amongst the pigeons, haven't we?

0:30:470:30:51

-Definitely.

-That was going to be my exact words.

-Was it?

0:30:510:30:54

Yeah, we don't know what to do now.

0:30:540:30:57

Yes, it's so lovely,

0:30:570:30:59

and so quiet and peaceful.

0:30:590:31:00

You two need a bit of time together, don't you?

0:31:000:31:03

-We certainly do. We've a lot to talk about.

-Yeah. Have a chat.

0:31:030:31:07

Let's have a little drink

0:31:070:31:09

and find out what your next move is going to be.

0:31:090:31:11

-OK. Sounds good to us.

-Come on.

0:31:110:31:13

I've had a very enjoyable few days with Sue and Steve,

0:31:180:31:22

showing them around this rather wonderful county.

0:31:220:31:25

We've shown them three properties.

0:31:250:31:27

We've had two great reactions,

0:31:270:31:29

but I think I left them rather confused.

0:31:290:31:32

Confused with which way to go next.

0:31:320:31:34

So, we've given them some time to settle their thoughts.

0:31:340:31:38

Let's see what they've got to say.

0:31:380:31:40

Well, Steve and Sue, our music and gardening-loving couple,

0:31:410:31:46

-I wonder, how have we done, Sue?

-You've done exceptionally well.

0:31:460:31:50

We loved house number one and, today,

0:31:500:31:52

when we saw the new-build house, which we never thought

0:31:520:31:55

we would look at, we were astounded by that one as well.

0:31:550:31:58

-So, the Mystery House...

-Yes, the Mystery House.

0:31:580:32:00

-..did its magic.

-It's fabulous from the outside.

0:32:000:32:04

It was a little further out,

0:32:040:32:05

a little further north than maybe we would have liked.

0:32:050:32:08

-So, the first house, very close to Weymouth.

-Yes.

-Right by the coast.

0:32:080:32:13

What is it about that property that appealed so much?

0:32:130:32:16

We didn't think we would get a house that close to the

0:32:160:32:19

coast for the price we could afford.

0:32:190:32:22

And the house itself, when you walked into the house,

0:32:220:32:25

the upstairs was fabulous.

0:32:250:32:27

The downstairs, again, I couldn't really fault it.

0:32:270:32:30

The garden was the only area

0:32:300:32:32

that is a possible problem with

0:32:320:32:35

the house, but I like it.

0:32:350:32:38

I certainly would have given that nine out of ten.

0:32:380:32:41

In fact, we like it so much we've made an appointment to go back

0:32:410:32:43

-and see it tomorrow.

-Have you?!

-Yes.

-Already?!

-Already, yes.

0:32:430:32:47

-First thing tomorrow morning?

-Yes.

-Oh, well, that's great.

0:32:470:32:50

That's sounding very, very positive.

0:32:500:32:52

And perhaps the compromise is,

0:32:520:32:55

being so close to the sea, there's a smaller garden.

0:32:550:32:58

-It is.

-Yeah, when you look at budgets and things.

0:32:580:33:00

Well, we've just given you a flavour,

0:33:000:33:02

but you like the taste, don't you?

0:33:020:33:03

-We do.

-We do, yes.

0:33:030:33:05

I really hope that second viewing tomorrow,

0:33:050:33:07

with the property right by the coast, goes well.

0:33:070:33:09

And let's hope it's yours in a matter of months.

0:33:090:33:12

-I will be keeping everything crossed.

-Thank you very much.

0:33:120:33:14

Thank you very much.

0:33:140:33:16

We often talk about the high cost of living by the sea, but,

0:33:180:33:22

as you've just heard, if you're willing to compromise,

0:33:220:33:25

you can have the best of both worlds -

0:33:250:33:27

countryside and coastal living.

0:33:270:33:30

For Steve and Sue,

0:33:300:33:31

this is the start of an exciting new chapter in their lives -

0:33:310:33:35

the first time they will have bought a house together.

0:33:350:33:38

I just hope that second viewing goes as well as the first.

0:33:380:33:42

And that's it. It's goodbye from me from Dorset,

0:33:420:33:45

but I'll see you again on Escape To The Country.

0:33:450:33:48

Sue and Steve did revisit our first property

0:33:490:33:52

and they've had an offer accepted on it,

0:33:520:33:55

so they're getting ready to begin their new life in Dorset together

0:33:550:33:59

and we wish them the very best of luck.

0:33:590:34:02

If you would like to Escape To The Country in England, Scotland, Wales

0:34:020:34:06

or Northern Ireland and need our help, please apply online.

0:34:060:34:09

Nicki Chapman helps a fun-loving couple who have £400,000 to fulfil their dream of moving to Dorset. Her visit to the county is perfectly timed to coincide with the 2015 British Beach Polo Championship, where she gets in the saddle to master basic skills.