Simon O'Brien and Jonny Benarr head to Warwickshire to find the perfect bungalow.
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-Hello, and welcome to To Buy Or Not to Buy.
Today, we're in Warwickshire taking our foot off the pedal for a more leisurely paced property search.
Oh, d'you know? There's nothing like growing old.
-You should know.
-Looking forward to retirement, downsizing,
cashing the old pension in, doing whatever you like with your time.
You're not thinking of leaving the show, are you, Tom?
No such luck, Johnny. I'm talking about the prospect of retirement. Now, come on,
-let's get going, young whippersnapper.
-All right, grandad. Calm down.
Cheeky young scamp! But talking of grandparents, today's buyers are just that.
Yes. Meet John and Sue Yardley,
currently residing in their immaculate three-bed semi in Moreton Morrell.
Immaculate because Sue is extremely house-proud, but luckily that's not her only passion.
Thank heavens for that! This is not How Clean Is Your House, you know?
Indeed. Sue and John live a packed life with their chocolate lab Lottie,
and Georgia, the cavalier King Charles spaniel.
Yes, the entire family often head off for weekends away in their super-large caravan,
-and keeping the old lady ticking over is a full-time job for John.
-You can't talk about Sue like that!
-No, the caravan!
-Oh, I see.
Our couple are not just dog lovers, oh no! Sue in particular could give Noah a run for his money.
-Why, does she build boats?
-No, she loves animals,
as you can tell if you take a look at her absolutely fabulous paintings.
We are on the hunt for a new property for you today. What are we looking for?
We're looking for a bungalow.
Single-storey. It's to suit Sue's disabilities.
This is hence the move.
-What is that, Sue? Why do we need to move?
-I suffer with arthritis, I've had it right from a young age, from my teens.
And as the year's gone on, I've got worse and worse.
Paint us a picture, What would you like?
Enough room for a couple of cars. I've got a Land Rover and the wife's got her car.
-If we can get room for a caravan.
-Have you been looking at bungalows?
-Have you had a wander around a few?
-We've looked at five or six, yes.
How have they been? Close to what you're after, or have you been a little bit disappointed?
-I've been disappointed, I have.
They've got narrow entrances where I can't get my scooter at the side of the house.
Sue, just quantify that for me,
because when you say scooter I'm guessing we're not talking Lambrettas.
-A motability scooter.
-Right, OK. OK.
If you've been looking for bungalows,
you might have come across the fact that there's not that many of them about, is there?
They're a fairly rare commodity. Are you prepared to look at properties that might be from deceased estates?
Are you prepared to take on a bit of work for the bungalow?
Not a problem with the work. A bit of DIY is not a problem with us.
Because I'm one to very much take people at their word when they say that...
There's a "but" from Sue.
But there are some bungalows what we've seen what need a lot of money spent on it.
If we use our skills and find you a place which is, say, 30 grand under your budget,
allowing that work to be done, would you still not be keen to do that much work, is that what you're saying?
-We'd be prepared to do the work, Of course.
-If it's the right place and the room, it's the room we're looking for.
-Where is the right place?
We're looking for 8, 10, 12 miles radius of Gaydon, which is the place I work.
OK. So we're looking kind of rural? Kind of...
-Rural areas. Village locations, yes.
-Give us some names, cos I love the names of villages around here.
-That's my favourite, Bishop's Itchington.
It sounds like an affliction, doesn't it? What else?
Fenny Compton's a lovely place to go and live.
How much have we got to play with? What's the budget?
-You have up to £210,000.
-£210,000. Is that kind of your maximum?
-I can see Sue is very authoritative.
"That is it!" OK, fair enough.
OK. We've got all the information we need.
-Yes, good to go.
-Shall we get going?
We'll see you later, guys. You walk your dogs, we'll tread the pavements. Come on.
-A fairly straightforward list of requirements.
The only concern being,
trying to find a spacious bungalow anywhere for £200,000 is a challenge.
I have another concern.
Don't forget, John and Sue have been living in their home for 20 years.
We've got to find a bungalow that has the same feeling.
OK. So I need to find a bungalow that feels like it's been lived in for about 20 years?
No! D'you know what, I give up!
I'm joking! Come back.
Talking of well lived-in, Warwickshire is steeped in history,
-and birthplace of one or two celebrities. But more about them in a mo.
First up in Warwick itself is its main event, Warwick Castle.
One could say the finest medieval castle in the United Kingdom.
Ya, ya, I certainly think one could really say that...
Oh, give me strength!
Warwick is generally jam-packed with old buildings, many of which now house fine dining and wine bars.
But if wine bars aren't your thing, you could visit the racecourse, one of the oldest in the country.
And didn't you mention celebrities, Simon?
I did indeed.
Celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson,
The Good Life's Felicity Kendal, and perhaps most notable of all,
-Ken Loach, director of the famous film, Kes.
-Ah, I love that film.
Yes, I know! So do I, but never mind. They all originate from the Warwickshire area.
Talking of the Warwickshire area, look at how beautiful the surrounding countryside is.
It's not all sumptuous sunflowers though, Johnny.
Did you know that the M6 from Rugby in Warwickshire to Carlisle in Cumbria
is the longest motorway in Britain at just over 225 miles?
-As a matter of fact I did, yes.
-No, you didn't.
-No, I didn't, actually.
But the first motorway that opened in the UK was the M6 Preston bypass,
which is where this charming three-bedroom home resides.
With a newly-fitted kitchen and mature garden,
it's available for £169,950.
Ah, but what about this two-bed bungalow in Wakefield, Yorkshire?
Contemporary with a capital C.
It's only 12 miles away from the highest motorway in the UK,
The M62, reaching 1,220 feet.
Not bad for £209,950. The house, that is. Not the M62.
Oh, right. Glad you cleared that bit up.
Finally there's this two-bed semi-detached bungalow near Watford Gap, on a corner of a cul-de-sac,
for a very reasonable £154,995.
And talking of Watford Gap, Simon, that was the first ever service station to open in the UK,
on November 2nd, 1959, if I remember correctly.
Yes, I think you're exactly right there. Anyway, enough of properties near motorways.
Let's find out more about the humble bungalow.
Right. Time for a bit of history.
A bungalow is not a house that you bungle a roof on.
The term actually originates in India.
A Banglalow, a Bengali peasants' hut.
The man's a genius! Now, when the Raj took root,
more and more of these bungalows were built to house the British Army, and colonial personnel.
Which is how they came to be built in the UK,
when colonial sorts returned from service back to Blighty.
The first bungalow to be constructed in the UK was built in south London in 1860,
but they then went on to be mainly built by seaside resorts to be used as holiday homes.
By 1920 the blueprint was so popular it was exported all over the world,
particularly to the USA, where they remain very sought-after.
Or as my American cousins might call it, "a ranch-style property".
Now, one of the major draws for buying a bungalow,
particularly as far as John and Sue are concerned, is because of reduced mobility.
But on of the other major appeals is the fact they have massive plot sizes,
much bigger than your standard house,
which means they are ripe for further remodelling, developing and extending.
Right, then, I'm going to tell you a story. It's a single storey.
It is a bungalow. That's property one. It's my choice.
It's absolutely fabulous. It's everything that John and Sue want.
It has plenty of parking, enough for the caravan, with some adaption,
and views to die for. That's property one. Beat that.
My choice, property two, I'm taking us to the sought-after location of Wellesbourne.
It's everything they want as well. Low maintenance garden, two bedrooms.
The driveway is not quite big enough for that pesky caravan, but you can't have everything.
But beyond that, I like it.
Now, the wildcard. Is it a bungalow?
Not really, but, yes, I suppose so.
Is it a permanent home?
Well...it kind of is, kind of isn't.
Has it got wheels? Possibly, but you'd never know.
That's the wild card. That's all we're saying, isn't it?
Yes, that is indeed. So let's get cracking at his choice, property number one.
I'm taking Sue and John 10 miles north-east, to the pretty village of Southam.
With plenty of amenities, they may never have to move again.
Whoa! This is my bit. Be quiet, please. Thank you.
-I like it. It's got a good front to it.
And I can see from the side it's extended and everything else. It's tidy.
It's got room for our cars.
It has got room for the cars. There would be one slight issue. That would be the old caravan.
Have you looked at any bungalows that are similar-looking to this, or is this quite new?
This is slightly different, because it's got more space on the side, and the entrance.
-Would that be OK for you?
-That would be great.
-The scooter was an issue, wasn't it?
Inside it needs a bit of TLC. I don't think there's any major works need doing but we discussed that,
so bear that in mind when you look round.
-It's empty. You have to use your imagination and put your own stamp on it, OK?
Right. Without further ado, get in there and enjoy.
-Gorgeous. Absolutely beautiful.
-Thank you very much.
-No, the view!
That's the wow factor.
This room is very bright, John.
-Yes, one of those proper 70s wall-mounted gas fires. You know the ones?
-D'you know what? They're going to be collector's items.
Three-piece suite would go in here, wouldn't it? Chair, settee.
Units. That would have to be altered because I'll trip over that.
-But you could always step that up. You could always put a step out the back there.
That's only cosmetic work. That's just putting another step there.
-Lovely views out there.
-Well, that's bright.
Would this be the second or the...?
It's big enough to be the first room, isn't it, really?
It wouldn't take much to change.
Plaster up there and smooth it.
That's sanding work, isn't it? It's only decorating work.
Good comment, John. Positivity. He's not scared of the work that needs doing.
Ah. This one's smaller.
-It's a box room.
It's too small, isn't it?
-It's light enough, with the window coming in.
-Yes, but you couldn't get a double bed in here.
Oh, that's a shame.
I'm upset now. It was all going so well, wasn't it?
-That is deflation if ever I heard it.
-It certainly is.
-It's one of these walk-in bath things.
But I'd never be able to sit in there because of my legs.
That'd have to come out, and just have a wet room made.
It could be tiled up. You could make this into a wet room, I should imagine.
John is very positive,
-and there's plenty of room for a bath and a free-standing shower.
It's a good space.
A smallish kitchen.
-Ah, but it's got a little bit on the end there.
That'll be the diner, I suppose.
-It needs a lot of work done to it.
-It's got light in the window coming through.
Once more in the kitchen, I'm hearing John's enthusiasm and Sue's pragmatism.
The combination is good, it can work.
It's a nice, light diner.
Think of what you could do with the light in here.
-There you are, you see?
Gorgeous natural light at the back. Real inspiration for Sue's painting.
Look at the views!
It's good. They won't build out there, will they,
-because it looks lovely.
-I wouldn't think so.
There's good points and bad points. There's that one small room,
and if you gutted this out, and made this one kitchen-cum-breakfast room,
that would be the idea.
-Sue has re-found her enthusiasm. Did I not say?
-You did say, yes.
Bedroom two kind of took it down a notch, but it's back.
-Let's go out in the garden and see the boys.
I've brought you back down to the end of the garden to show you this!
-It's beautiful, isn't it?
-Yes, it's beautiful.
But as you know, or as you may not know, you can't guarantee a view,
and I do happen to know there is planning permission to extend this building work over here
to across about a third of the field,
but then down into the dip as far as that corrugated roof there.
So you would lose some of the view, but you would retain, you know,
this gorgeous view here for the foreseeable future.
That's the garden and the view.
Talk to me about the house. What's your overall impressions?
I thought the first bedroom we went into was a good medium sized bedroom,
and I thought we're going to move in again.
but then you looked at the outside wall,
and I knew I was going to walk into a smaller bedroom.
You asked for two or three bedrooms, but what are the other bedrooms for?
Is it for visiting relatives, or for your own benefit?
It's for our own benefit.
-So it is a very practical requirement, then?
And this is the first property of the day. Your maximum budget is £210,000.
For gorgeous views and a small second bedroom,
how much do you think it's on the market for?
-190,000. OK. John?
I'm going to go a bit higher. I'm going to say £198,000.
Susan, you are 1-0 up. Although I'm very happy to tell you,
this bungalow with these gorgeous views is on the market for £174,950.
-That's not bad.
That makes that smaller bedroom look different.
-It's a bit bigger now, isn't it?
-Enough about this place. Johnny?
-Yes, property two. Do you want to check that out?
We're heading south now, to the larger village of Wellesbourne.
It's a very sought-after village...
Yes, Simon. Thank you very much. That is true, there's plenty of competition here.
So, Sue and John, take note.
OK, John and Sue.
Here we are at my choice, property two. What d'you think? First impressions?
-It's tidy and nice.
Yes. Kept well.
It's what it's going to be like inside, and the room size.
But it is a lovely area. It's nice and quiet around here.
Chop chop. Get yourselves inside, see what you think.
-Oh, it's bright.
-Bright in here.
-This is a very small room.
-This is the small one?
-Yeah, very small.
-It was smaller than the last one, wasn't it?
-I think it is a bit smaller.
-I'm sure it was.
Rather than you showing them the biggest room first, they're going,
"I can't wait to see the next one," and they're disappointed,
I'm showing them the small one first, so they can only get better. That's the theory.
Oh, this is bigger.
That's got a lot of cupboard space.
-Are they built in? They are, aren't they?
-These are built in, I'd say.
It's a much better sized room, the wardrobes are fully fitted. That's one less task to worry about,
cos it's a pain when you're moving, shifting furniture.
Is that a three-quarter, or is it a full size bed?
We'd have to get rid of those, because my bed is super king.
You need your reading lamps, don't you?
They're trying to squeeze their three-bedroom semi-detached house into a bungalow,
and that is unrealistic.
-We are listening to downsize syndrome.
-We've got the bathroom.
Not too keen on the green.
And we'd have to change this to a shower anyway.
Yes, it's got to go to a shower anyway. You can't stand the bath.
Because the bath, I'd never get over it.
Could you utilise the tiles?
No, we'd need new tiles.
Oh, we're into the kitchen.
Yes, the cupboards don't match though.
-"The cupboards don't match" - nit-picking.
-What have you got?
Oh, this is different.
It's sizable, isn't it?
It's not bad now.
Johnny, I'm starting to get on to your trickery now,
because after the disappointing kitchen,
they've now come into the lounge, and they have brightened.
-That's sizable, isn't it?
-I could do my art in there. It's got the light.
It's that step, you wouldn't want to carry your food up and down there on your tray, would you?
I'll go flying over, wouldn't I?
Even if they are bungalows,
it doesn't necessarily mean they're perfectly adapted for people with reduced mobility.
They've got to take on an amount of work, regardless of what we show them.
You can see out... Look at the colours out there.
-But the garden's not very big.
-Double doors outside.
Well, we haven't been out there, have we? We don't know.
From what I can see, it don't look very big.
Overall, I didn't think that went too badly.
Not brilliantly, but there's only as much work needed as in your place.
-In fact, there's less.
-This is smaller.
What was it like for you in there?
The building itself is clean and tidy.
if you weren't disabled, and you were a single person.
What did you like about it? Were there some positives?
Yeah, I liked the arch window on the dining room bar.
-Lovely feature, yeah.
-That's a lovely feature.
The main bedroom wasn't too bad.
It's a good size.
But we'd have to take the cupboards out, because my big bed wouldn't fit in there.
As far as natural light's concerned, plenty of that?
Yes, it would be on this side, plenty of light.
This is a lovely property, and for once, I'm going to come out in his defence.
It is a very sought-after area.
I'm going to lead you into guess the price. All right?
Your top budget, £210,000.
You're 1-0 up, you're going first.
-You think I've taken you straight to the top of the budget?
I think it's a little bit below. I think it's 202.
202? You're back in the game, John. Very wily of you.
-It's on the market for just under 200, at £199,950.
-That's not bad.
Let's pull this back together, let's get some positivity going.
You know what part of the show everyone loves. What is it?
-It's the wild card.
-he wild card, which is this way. Come on, folks, here we go.
Today's wild card is on a residential park, nestled in the south Warwickshire countryside.
It's static, but is it stunning?
Right, John and Sue, I felt a little tiny bit of negativity at Johnny's choice,
but we're going to get your right back on track here with everyone's favourite part of the show,
the wild card.
How do you fancy being on holiday permanently?
-If I had the nice weather to go with it.
-Guaranteed round here, absolutely guaranteed.
-We like these, we do like these.
-I've seen them and I like them.
One of the great things about this development is it's all year round.
A lot of these places, you can only live here for 11 months, so that's a real bonus.
The second thing is, I think, from Simon and mine's perspective,
we understand that the move is something that's kind of being forced upon you a little bit,
so we want to give you a property that you CAN move straight into.
We want you to get inside, and also, we'd like you to bear in mind,
if there are any things that you would change about this particular one, don't you worry, we can sort it.
We promise, if you don't like the views, we'll change them.
-We promise that.
I want to know whether this place is scooter friendly from your perspective, or not. OK?
-Because we think it is.
Get in there. Enjoy. We'll see you in a minute.
Thank you very much.
-Look at this, now.
-This is wide.
-Look at the size of this.
-Listen to that.
-That is superb.
John is sounding bright.
Look at this.
We wouldn't have to do nothing in here, John. No decorating.
I like everything about it.
Let's talk about boxes ticked.
-Spacious hallway for a scooter? Nice light? Spacious lounge?
-No work required?
And we've got a dining room area.
That's nice. You could sit in there and do the old drawing.
Oh, can we have it?
Can you have it? Not exactly, but bear with us, because what you could have could be even better.
Oh, I like the units, the colour.
We've got to look for the appliances.
I bet this is the fridge.
Yeah, the fridge I wanted, the fridge-freezer.
I've always wanted one of these.
Oh, utility room!
I've got my utility room.
There you go, oh, this place has just got better and better. Johnny, we are back on track.
I was starting to think we'd kind of lost our edge.
-I never questioned us.
-But we are back.
Hey, this is nice as well.
-Hey, it's a walk-in wardrobe.
-It's a wardrobe for yourself.
This is mine, for all my clothes. You ain't got no room for yours.
-The size of it, you wouldn't think it, would you?
-I'd get my big bed in here.
Oh, here we go, the super king is going to fit.
-You might like this one. Corner bath.
I like the suite.
We could sort the shower out, I'm sure we could sort the shower out.
If this is the only bathroom, it would have to be changed into a shower.
Johnny, Sue sounds disappointed there isn't a free-standing shower in the bathroom.
Well, Sue, just you wait.
Oh, this is nice.
This is my room.
-This is what you're after, is it?
-Look at this.
-This is what you're after.
-Oh, that's perfect.
So you don't need the corner bath taken out.
No, you can keep that bath.
Exactly, there you go! It IS perfect.
You've got a bathroom to satisfy everybody else,
plus the shower that's ideal for you, Sue.
Oh, I do like it. It's fantastic.
Well, that seemed to go well.
I loved it, didn't want to leave it.
That is a very good sign. But we haven't finished yet. We just give, give, give, don't we?
Yes. Now, if you look to the right,
we've got some areas that have been cleared and sited for new static homes to sit upon.
So you could select anywhere you wanted, offering you these fantastic field views, and not only that,
if you picked the ones in the corner,
there are gates into the fields that you're allowed to walk your dogs in.
-I can see the gates.
-There you go, you see?
So it is 1-1, and your maximum budget to spend is £210,000.
How much do think the one you've just looked around would be on the market for?
I'm going to say top 170.
-170, OK. Sue?
-I was going to go 145.
-145? Sue, you are closest, but the one you've just looked round is on the market for £140,000.
-Oh, that's even better.
Yeah. Plenty of scope. Imagine, if you got in early on one of these plots down here,
spent a little bit more, you could just live a dream, couldn't you?
-Incredible, isn't it?
Anyway, plenty to think about, isn't there?
Not just about this place, but we've now shown you three very, very different properties.
You've got to decide which one you would like to spend more time in.
So, go and take yourselves off, put your heads together and decide.
-We'll see you in a bit.
Ooh, things have just got very interesting.
But while they're off making their decision, here's a reminder for you at home.
First up was my two-bed bungalow in the pretty village of Southam.
Lots of updating required, but that didn't faze John,
and let's not forget those gorgeous views, all for £174,950.
OK, but what about my brilliant bungalow in the sought-after area of Wellesbourne?
I don't think they thought it was brilliant.
In their opinion, but it is a great location and has a huge living room,
and was still 10 grand under budget at £199,950.
Finally, the wild card. Everyone loved it, and why wouldn't they?
This brand new static bungalow offers Sue and John everything they desire,
plus they get to pick their ideal plot.
A steal at just 140 grand.
Well, no surprises here.
They've picked Sue's favourite, the wild card static home.
And there's nothing like a bit of R&R in the living room they liked so much.
I think we're going to have a job to get them out of here.
Oh, and Sue's beloved animal pics are out.
Left a bit, left a bit. OK?
Down a bit. Perfect. Time to check out the neighbours.
What's it like living round here?
And there's plenty of dog walks.
Oh, it's beautiful. Just through there, you go through to the fields, and you can go for miles.
Go for miles? We haven't got time for that.
We need to see just how much they love it.
Well, Sue and John, you've decided to test drive the wild card,
and I think there's an element of relief and almost vindication in us
selecting this as a third choice for you,
because the first two didn't really grab you, didn't really get you going,
but this place, you both seemed to fall in love with it straight away.
Can I speak for Sue and myself now in thanking the programme,
but thanks to the pair of you for looking after us, and for finding us a place like this.
It was an option that we weren't considering,
but you and the team have found us a place that has changed our minds.
I shall ask the all-important question. To buy or not to buy?
Initially, we're going to look at buying.
And looking more into it.
Plans, looking at plans.
But whether it be this one or a plot?
Yes, to suit me.
-To suit Sue, yeah.
That is fabulous. You know, we felt the pressure today because of your requirements and that kind of stuff,
it was important for us and the team to get this right.
It's been an absolute pleasure. We're going to get off.
We've got more people to try and help. Come on.
-See you later on.
Today's episode has been somewhat of an emotional journey,
but one that's come to a very satisfactory conclusion.
It does prove that sometimes we can be a touch irreverent,
but when people have real requirements,
we can approach this in a mature manner.
Indeed. So, if you'd like us to open your mind to new ideas,
whatever your requirements, do get in touch with the show.
And we'll make your next move come true.
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