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Welcome to To Buy Or Not To Buy, the programme
that goes the extra mile to buy the property of your dreams.
We tramp up hill and down dale.
Climb every mountain, ford every stream.
River deep, mountain high.
To find you the best possible properties. Why do we bother?
Well, because we care, Ed.
-We really do.
-We genuinely care.
We care too much, sometimes.
We don't mess around, do we, Rani, not really.
Except for today when we'll be messing around on the river.
It's true. In a minute we'll be heading over there
to meet today's buyers to explain why we've come over all watery.
Ed, we are still looking for houses, aren't we, not boats?
Usual rules apply. We show them three houses
and hopefully one of them will float... Float their boat!
They'll get to try it before they buy it.
I get it, Ed.
Sorry. Anyway, our property hunters today are Doug and Laura Silverstone
who spend their time living on a narrowboat,
-enjoying life on the water.
-They certainly do.
But now Laura is expecting, and with the clock ticking,
our couple have decided they need more space before the new arrival.
Yep. Buggies and barges really don't mix.
Laura's mum lives in Chorleywood and Doug's also got roots there,
so it's no surprise that they've chosen the surrounding area to moor up and settle down.
Well, let's see if we can make a splash,
but not on the water, obviously.
Now, Doug and Laura, we're not on your barge, narrowboat, riverboat,
whatever we call it, because that's in Kings Cross,
in the centre of London. We're in the Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire borders, where you want to be.
We could've got your boat here, but it would have taken us till next year.
-So you want to leave London. Whereabouts, exactly, do you want to live?
-We were thinking Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Chesham area.
-What is so nice about Chesham?
Well, I mean, we both grew up around Hertfordshire, so we're both
from this area, but my mum lives in Chorleywood which is quite close, but slightly expensive.
And we want to keep the countryside
somewhere near it cos you kind of feel like
you're in the countryside on the boat.
We want some sort of green space, some sort of, I don't know,
garden of some description.
You're quite the allotment fan.
-And has this always been a passion with you?
I like growing my vegetables. I like vegetables that I've grown
and knowing what I'm cooking with and eating,
and growing your vegetables is part of that.
I mean, we grow carrots and things on top of the boat,
but they're about that size carrots.
So what's the type of property we're after? Olde-worlde?
Are we after the cornicing word and all that kind of stuff?
If we think of our ideal property, we get the picture of
like an old Victorian kind of cottage in the middle of the country.
-And kind of iron-cast baths and all that kind of feel.
-What about doing work on the property?
-I'd get my brother over to do things.
-Is he a handy guy?
-He says he'd fit kitchens and bathrooms.
As they say, kitchens and bathrooms sell houses.
Is there anything else we're looking for because is it right you've got two cats already?
Yeah, we have, so we need a garden for them
and preferably not a big main road for the cats.
-They've dealt with living on a boat though, yeah.
-Yeah. They have.
-Yeah. They swim. Yeah.
-Do you need a pool for them?
I don't know if they actually like swimming.
-But they're prepared to do it?
Well, we're at the point where it can either seem
a very easy day for us or a very tricky one,
and that is based around the budget.
Ideally, we want to spend about 220,
but probably go up to about 250 if we need to.
-OK. So you're looking up to 250 and maybe haggling back, possibly.
The way the market is as well, you know, it's worth doing.
-I tell you what, I think we can achieve this.
-I think we will. Fingers crossed.
We're going to swim off to the estate agent's and see the local folk. See you later.
-Wish us luck.
I think finding them a two-bedroom property
isn't going to be a problem,
but teaching cats to cross roads, Ed, it's going to be tough.
They can already swim so that's half the battle solved.
Also, an interesting thing about their cats -
they're called Rosie and Jim, so we're moving Rosie and Jim off the barge.
If there are children watching, stop crying, we're not stopping Rosie and Jim.
They're cats called Rosie and Jim.
-Sorry. Sorry, what?
-Go and speak to an estate agent.
Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire are both home counties,
where you can find some really lovely greenbelt countryside.
New towns like Stevenage and garden cities such as Welwyn and Letchworth,
have sprung up to help accommodate the rising populations
created by the ever-increasing London sprawl.
Chesham, one of Doug and Laura's choices,
is set in the rolling Chilterns and is a simply gorgeous market town.
Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire are relatively wealthy
and historically they have low unemployment and a high salary level.
Did you say historical?
Well, we might be hysterical because the high salaries
and low unemployment could make it difficult
to find a period property on their 250 grand budget.
But what could you find elsewhere?
Well, just take a look at this beauty near Norwich.
It's splendid Victoriana with three bedrooms and a modern twist.
Glorious Snowdonia is the setting
for this historic restored coach house.
It's Edwardian stone and timber, has panoramic views and the price
includes fishing rights on the River Dovey...
You just knew we were going to show you a boat, didn't you?
And here it is, painted in grand union green, burgundy and cream,
with high shine black and chrome kitchen and bathroom.
You could buy three of these for Doug and Laura's budget.
A boating bargain at...
Right. Enough of this messing about on the water.
Time to get back on the property search.
If you were going to move here and you were moving from a barge,
you were used to life in a very small area,
but you wanted a whiff of the countryside, you wanted maybe
an allotment, maybe a canal, what kind of areas would you look at?
Living on a boat can be cheaper than living in a house
and it can also be environmentally friendly.
Ideally, the old town.
It's steeped in history.
Church Street, for instance, was the original high street.
Most of the houses there were formerly shops
and you can see the larger windows which have been bricked up now.
You'll be getting economical with your water cos if you're not connected
to the mains and have to fill up your tank,
you'll think twice before switching on your tap.
In the old town in particular, there are properties
-merely just three bedrooms which sell for in excess of 500,000.
-There are terraced properties which fetch over a million.
And it's quite a special location.
Also, you can save on your bills because your engine
can heat up your hot water and you can cook with bottled gas.
Ourselves and the mysterious property-hunting team have had a lovely time.
I've gone for a property - it is cusping Chesham Bois,
or "Chesham Boyz", depending on how you pronounce it.
Very nice. It is near water.
It is near an allotment.
Rani, it is near perfect.
Ed, yours may be near perfect whereas mine is perfect.
Take a look at this.
It's a Victorian property, absolutely beautiful. Mark,
that's Doug's brother, won't need to pick up any tools because inside it has been beautifully renovated.
It's all perfect, near a park and near the Tube line for them.
-So, Rani, what have you got for the wildcard?
-Ah, now the wildcard.
I did find them a perfect place in Chesham old town.
Gorgeous building, however,
there's been a problem and we can't actually show it to them today.
Now it is still on the market,
it is within their budget, but not for today.
So, Ed, what are we going to do?
As luck would have it, I have a back up property
which is in the old town part of Chesham.
It is more expensive than their budget and is also one more bedroom,
but if they can look at it and imagine it minus one bedroom,
they might get a feel for the size of the property that they can't see today,
but they'll get a feel for the area and that's the most important thing.
Those are the properties. Very different wildcard today.
Where shall we start the journey?
I always like to start at property number one.
Really. My one. Near water.
Picture the scene, if you dare.
A cute terraced cottage nestling alongside a river,
chickens over the road and a touch of the good life on their doorstep.
Doug and Laura can't fail to absolutely love it.
You're sounding very confident, Ed.
Rani, the only chickens coming home to roost
will be the ones laying eggs for our couple to sell.
Doug and Laura, take some steps on dry land with me to look at
what could be your new houseboat, but as we call it, a house.
It is lovely. It is in Chesham Bois
or "Chesham Boyz". Do you know the area?
A little bit. My sister lives just down the road.
-Well, in which case, tell me something about the area.
Well, we only know this street really.
I'll tell you a little bit extra. You've got a nursery behind you.
There's very good primary schools and secondary schools for the impending baby.
Look over there. What can you see, Doug?
-Is it an allotment?
-It is an allotment.
-It certainly is.
It is. That's irrelevant though. What do you think about this, Laura?
-Yeah. It looks really nice.
Is that a beehive in there?
It is a beehive, but strangely they don't keep bees in it.
For some unknown reason, or unknown to me, they keep eggs in it.
-The guy owns an allotment and he keeps chickens
on the allotment so that's where he puts his eggs.
The allotment's his then?
Well, the allotment does belong to the man there,
but hold your horses because he owns a very large part of it.
He may or may not be willing to, and able to, sell half of it potentially to yourself
to get the lease on it, but they're hotly fought after properties, allotments.
So, we don't know, but there's a window, there's a sniff,
a nibble of an allotment and if there's a nibble, there's a chance.
-Are you ready to go in?
-All right. Three, two, one. Enjoy it.
21 years in Cub Scouts taught me one thing -
I think it's going to rain, so always be prepared.
It's a nice little room this side of it, isn't it?
Yeah. That's really nice.
Nice fireplace. It's really good.
-I like the recess things there, too.
-Yeah. That's good.
Nice little country cottage, fireplace...
They said they wanted character and this is what they described.
That's quite nice. Space for a table and everything.
Yeah... Dining room, kind of thing, here.
Nice high ceilings.
-Higher than the boat.
We could easily get a table in properly, dining room round here.
Yeah. That's good.
They're so used to living on a boat,
that everything's about size and space.
They must be excited, they can probably stand up straight!
-Kitchen's quite big as well...
-It's not too bad. Yeah.
For a house this size....
We could change all the worktops if we wanted to, couldn't we?
But it's new, it doesn't look that bad, does it?
I think you'll forgive us -
got slightly distracted, stealing the cameraman's umbrella
and sheltering from it. They liked it.
Right. It's a bedroom. Oh, nice.
-It's the main bedroom, is it?
It's got the beams and the things and stuff. And the fireplace.
-Yeah. That's good.
-They're nice fitted wardrobes.
-Are they're fitted, are they?
Yeah. Yeah. Think so.
It's stopped. Who would have thought that we have gone from a Noah-esque flood to this.
An England fan.
Yeah. It's quite a nice size though, isn't it?
Oh, an upstairs bathroom.
It's big, as well. It's really nice.
It is good. What's that over there? That might be the shower there.
-No. I think it's the hot water, isn't it? I'm not sure.
-It could be.
Do you think you could fit in there?
-I don't know. Shall I try?
-You'd better not cos you'll get the nice white bath all dirty.
They don't need to worry about whether Doug can fit under there
because before every show I measure each contestant and then turn it into piece of string.
So, I've got Doug in my left pocket,
that piece of string, and I've got Laura in my right, so I went up there,
took a piece of string out of my right pocket, measured it under there and Doug will fit perfectly.
Right was Laura.
-I think it'll be all right.
-He's done well on this house.
-Yeah. I like it.
Yeah. There's a couple of bits where the headroom's a bit...
I almost hit myself on the stairs, but I can get used to that.
I like the wood and yeah, I like the style of it.
-The style is perfect, isn't it?
-What did you think of it?
I really liked it. I really did. I liked the wood and things like that.
-French oak, a lot of French oak was in there, I believe.
Very posh. He knows his wood, the guy who owns this.
I really like that bit of it. Yeah.
-It's got to be guess the price time.
Yeah. So who wants to go first?
Who knows their property?
Doug's better at it.
Go on then, Doug. How much do you think this property's worth?
You said you'd be willing to spend 220, maybe 250, if it was the right property.
Well, I reckon 225, 230.
-Come on, man.
237?! You've gone from 225...
OK. 227. A ludicrous price of 227.
I think it might be a little bit more so I'm going for 230.
Right. Well, surprisingly, no-one's got it right.
The closest is...
Doug. The actual price is £220,000.
It's less than you both thought.
And in this current economic climate,
I would imagine there could be a bit
of haggling to be going on because obviously, you want the allotment
over there as well and you'll want a bit of a leverage on that.
-Shall we just end the show here?
-No. I think not.
We should dry off and check out property number two which is my choice.
-So, Doug, we're going to follow you.
I can do charm and character too, you know.
We're talking Victorian terrace, exposed brickwork,
roll-top bath and fireplaces a go-go.
And all combined with some seriously sassy styling.
But Rani, where will the chickens live?
Well, Ed, I'm sure I can hatch a plan for that one.
Rani, that's pun-thetic.
OK, then, Doug and Laura. Welcome to property number two.
Now, we're still in Chesham and like Ed,
I have also given you a Victorian terrace.
What are your first impressions of this place.
It's not as pretty as the last one.
-Yeah. It doesn't fill me with confidence.
-Not is it, really?
-Where's the allotment from here? Where's the river?
Back up, Ed. Let's find out what you think first.
-Yeah. I mean, it hasn't got the allotment, has it?
I like the bricks. The brickwork's nice.
-It's right in town, this one, so it's a different place.
Now, the other thing is... Ed did give you two bedrooms.
I am also giving you two bedrooms.
But there's also something a little bit special as well
in there for you. A little surprise.
Is the allotment upstairs, is it? Or maybe the river?
-We've got a great garden.
-That's what you need to know.
Are you interested enough to go inside to see behind the brickwork?
Let's look at the negatives.
It's got no river nearby. If you want to go in, it doesn't really bother me.
-It's about to rain in a minute.
-Go in out of the rain.
Go in. Have a look around.
-Make the best of it.
-Enjoy the bricks. Have a feel of the bricks.
-So this must be the dining room, then.
It's a bit strange having a dining room here. But it's quite nice.
I like the fireplace.
-Is that thing, the stereo thing, under the...?
-Original, isn't it?
-It's quite clever. Yeah.
-It's not a car.
-It's not a car. And it's not a car stereo.
-It's just a stereo.
-Just jammed in the wall?
-Look at the fireplace.
Yeah. That's really nice.
It's a nice living room though.
Yeah. Yeah. It is.
It's lovely. Really light.
It's bigger. I like the trolley thing,
you can put something in like a breakfast bar or something.
-It's a lot of light coming in
from that window up there, isn't it.
It bathes the whole kitchen.
This is true about this kitchen.
It's really nice and light. The front room's really light.
The second room, maybe not as light, but this one...
it feels clean, it feels new.
There must be a bathroom through here.
Yeah. A downstairs bathroom.
Oh, just a shower. So has it got a bath anywhere, do you think?
Don't know if there's one upstairs.
They think that's the only bathroom. That could cloud their judgement.
-It's much bigger, isn't it.
Like the bedroom. I've seen in there as well.
-That's a nice bath.
-Yeah. It is, isn't it.
That's really good cos you've got a shower room downstairs
and a bathroom upstairs.
They've got an extra bathroom with a tank. That's safe.
That's quite a good size.
We'd fit everything we need for the baby in here,
-Yeah. They have those shutters. I do like those shutters.
-Must be a wardrobe.
And they are quite steep stairs, aren't they, Rani?
They are quite steep stairs. They're very cleverly designed.
Oh, this is really pretty.
They're using it as like a kid's bedroom.
It's really nice.
-It is, isn't it?
Brickwork again. I'll take that.
Yeah. You could... I mean, if we to start with, put an office thing up here, I could work from home a bit.
I said it was a two-bedroom because of fire regulations, you can't say
the attic room is a third bedroom,
so you have it as a hobby room, or maybe a kids' playroom.
You could sleep in there, you just can't sell it as a third bedroom.
Hey, yeah, Rani's done well on it, I think.
Perhaps not the location I thought of, but you've
got much more in the house, you know, a bit more exciting.
-There's certainly more inside than I was expecting.
-Yeah. That's right.
Now, when you first went into the house, I was slightly worried,
but by the end of the tour, you seemed to have perked up a bit.
Yeah. Lots of surprises in there. Yeah.
It was certainly a lot nicer than I thought it would be.
We weren't expecting much, to be honest.
OK. It's beautiful.
It's over three floors.
-It is two and a bit bedrooms.
-You couldn't call it a bedroom.
Maximum budget of £250,000. You went first last time, didn't you, Doug?
So, Laura, you go first this time.
-I think it's more than the last one, so I'm going to say 230.
I was going to go 230 as well, so I'm going to go a little bit higher.
I'll go 235.
235. Right then, Doug, it looks like you're closest again.
This property is on the market currently at 239,950.
So it's still under your budget, but it's been finished fantastically.
So that's what you're going to be paying for.
The next house is everyone's favourite part of the show.
-It is the wildcard. Are you excited?
To take part in your own wildcard episode?
-It's this way. Let's go.
Right. Today's wildcard.
It's wilder than usual, Rani, but not for any of the normal reasons.
Well, I'll let you do the explaining to Doug and Laura then,
because this wildcard, it's totally confusing me.
Doug and Laura, walk tantalisingly toward
everyone's favourite part of the programme, the wildcard.
Now, it's wild for many reasons today.
The viewers know one of the reasons, we had a wildcard already and that fell through.
We can't go to see that. Very short notice, we found you this.
And the reason we found you this is because it's like the one that has fallen through.
It's not sold - you could still buy it.
The reason we're here in Chesham old town
is because the wildcard that fell through is in Chesham old town.
And I want you to know what it's like. Have you been here before?
-No, we haven't.
-Do you like the feel of Chesham old town?
-I really like the old-style houses.
-Well, that's good news.
Now, the one that we're going to look at today is there,
-the yellow-doored one.
It's got three bedrooms.
The one you could buy, that we can't get into today,
has got two bedrooms.
So imagine this one minus a bedroom.
-So, Doug, what are your thoughts?
I think it's lovely. I think the town around here looks a beautiful little town.
So hopefully the house is as nice.
Are you ready to go in?
-OK. Imagine it has two bedrooms.
-Remember that. Are you ready?
Get in it.
-Straight into the kitchen.
Just to recap, do you understand what's going on?
-Go on then.
-The property we found,
-the wildcard, fell through.
We've got them another wildcard.
They get a feel of the location and the style of property.
Unfortunately, they can't afford it.
It's got a kind of villagey-cottage feel to it, hasn't it?
With all these shelves behind us here, as well.
-Lovely kitchen, isn't it?
-Yeah. I really like this kitchen.
Yes. It is. I like the curve of it, as well.
-Yeah. It's a nice shape, isn't it?
-Feels kind of homely.
That's the beauty of the old town though.
I think that's what Laura likes about...
That's what she would like about this area.
-Lovely. Look at this.
-All the oak beams.
-Is that oak? OK.
Lovely, that is. I love all this under here.
It's the kind of alcove-y bits.
-There's the door to the garden with...
-A cat flap. Yay.
-That's done it, hasn't it?
That's made them think, "Right, we have to move here,
"we have to move here because of the cat flap."
Wow, look at the bathroom.
Bathroom. Proper bath, again.
I like that bath. Look at the shower.
The shower's lovely, isn't it?
That's sweet. It's big enough, isn't it?
-It is, isn't it?
-Lots of nice shapes...
The beams... Yeah. It's nice.
You've got all the bulging walls here between the beams.
-Maybe it was two houses before.
It's a combination of a 1930s infill, which is there,
and then the whatever building age this bit is,
but they're in the 1930s bit.
Cunning. They've worked that out.
This is another bedroom here, isn't it?
-You could get a double bed in here.
-Nice little window in the corner.
-It's quite bright in here.
Yeah. OK. I guess round here, into the third bedroom that doesn't exist.
Yet. Baby's room. Definitely.
Again, you've got the window over.
-I guess maybe the same window coming through.
Nice and bright again.
I like the way Doug has chosen the smallest room not to exist
because maybe it would have been one of the bigger rooms that didn't exist.
So I think the mystery choice is...
-Just have to work out if we can afford it.
I love the character. I love all the beams and everything
although your head might be a bit of a problem.
Laura and Doug, you've had a good look round the place.
Now, what we gave you in extra bedroom,
we've taken away in the garden.
Yeah. We can see that.
-What do you think of the place?
-Oh, it's lovely.
I love the character and the kitchen was gorgeous.
Everything, like the sinks and things like that.
The character's lovely. It was a bit small head rooms in a few places.
How are you on a narrowboat though?
Narrowboats are taller than some of those beams.
It's got about half an inch above my head, and there's no stairs.
And you're used to that tolerance level, you really are.
OK, then. We might as well guess the price. Doug, you've won.
You've been closest both times.
-Is it all right if Doug goes first again?
We said your maximum budget was 250.
You wanted to spend around 220.
We have gone over your maximum budget.
-We'll be clear about that. What do you think this property's on the market for?
-I don't know.
I think, maybe, 270, maybe.
-I'll go maybe a little bit lower this time. 265.
The price of the property in Chesham old town is £290,000.
Laura, you are nothing if not consistent.
You have lost all three which in a way is a triumph really, I think.
-And Doug, you're a little bit out.
Now, the purpose of this was because to see if you like the style of it.
Now, the property we couldn't get into today is £235,000
and obviously there might be a bit of movement on that.
So that's within your budget. So if you do like this style and character,
it is available within your budget.
So that is something to think about whilst you head off
and make the decision about which one you wish to test drive.
-OK. Good luck with that. We will see you later.
Off you guys go, and whilst they do that,
here's a quick reminder for you guys at home.
Will the location and allotment perfection of property number one
cajole them back for a test drive?
Just down the road from Laura's sister,
it was familiar territory and a bargain for...
Or will the gorgeous brickwork
and bathroom bliss of my property tempt them?
Don't forget that extra bedroom, sorry, hobby room.
And all that for...
Or will they speak to the bank manager and decide on the wildcard.
Gorgeous location, gorgeous interiors,
but eye-wateringly over their budget at...
Laura's mum Lindy's here and where is here?
My property, number one, of course.
This is lovely, darling. Isn't this super?
Yes. It is lovely, Ed.
Oh, Doug's escaped already
and there was me thinking he actually liked my property.
-This would be the baby's room.
-Oh, that's lovely.
Yes. I think that's just about right.
The girls are having a lovely time talking about babies and nurseries.
No wonder Doug has left them to it.
-Ah, here he is.
Welcome to the allotments.
Can't keep a man away from his shed.
Will Doug's carrots measure up to those?
Laura's getting creative here. What lovely cards.
How are you doing there? I think it's lovely here. Lovely view.
They're looking right at home, Ed.
Back at the allotment and Doug's finally getting stuck in.
I think the good life could just be around the corner.
Doug and Laura, firstly, congratulations. You picked my one.
And secondly, and this is probably for Rani's benefit,
are you listening? Why did you go for my one?
The location, I suppose.
I like the garden where it's not quite on the edge of a road.
You've got quite a bit more space, it seems.
It feels more enclosed here.
This is it. Very important. Child on its way.
I can't build this up enough.
To Buy Or Not To Buy, Doug and Laura. That is the question.
We've had a lovely day.
And congratulations. This is it. Well done and good luck with baby.
We'll see you soon. OK. And let us know if you do move in.
-And send us pictures of the baby as well.
-See you later.
Who were they(?)
Well, Ed, I can't believe you actually did it.
You brought Laura and Doug to land safely.
I certainly did. Rani, in many way, in fact actually, entirely,
I'm very much like a property lifesaver,
a property life ring.
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