Aston Le Walls To Buy or Not to Buy


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Aston Le Walls

Series that gives buyers the chance to test-drive a property before they buy it. Jonny Benarr and Simon O'Brien go peddling across three counties for today's eco-warrior buyers.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

-Hello, and welcome.

-Today we're in my home county of Northamptonshire.

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-Along the cusp of Oxfordshire.

-And crossing over into Warwickshire. Erm, we've got to go that way!

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-But you said...

-Yeah, I know, but it's...

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-This isn't the place. Why are we stopping?

-Because, Jonny, a little bird

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from the mystery To Buy Or Not To Buy property team

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tells me that today's buyers are would-be eco-warriors.

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So, with that in mind, we are ditching four wheels

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and taking to two to help reduce our carbon footprint.

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When do you come up with these ideas and at what stage were you going to tell me?

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-I'm not exactly dressed for cycling.

-You look fine.

-Is this just until we get to their house?

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Well, no, because they have similar bikes,

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so it's a case of eight wheels looking for three houses...

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-Giving them one unique chance..

-To try one...

-Before they buy one.

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Yep. So, come on, grab that and get on your bike.

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'And our budding eco-warriors in the making are Paul and Debra Cuncannon.'

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'They've just accepted an offer on their family-sized,

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'detached modern dwelling on the outskirts of Banbury.'

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'They moved there ten years ago to be closer to school for their children,

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'Tom, Pete and Camilla.'

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'Now, fast forward ten years and the kids are no longer kids

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'and, with the exception of Tom, who is studying at home, are all away living at university.'

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'So that leaves the outskirts of Banbury surplus to requirements,

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'meaning Mum and Dad can finally put themselves first.'

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'Both green-fingered and keen runners, Paul and Debra want to move somewhere

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'where they can continue to keep fit and get back to the good life with a huge veggie patch.'

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'I've heard that our opening location is key to the impending property search.

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'Hands up if you know the answer! Too slow, Jonny.'

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-Miss! Question Miss! Miss, Miss, Miss!

-Yes, O'Brien?

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Tell us about this search. It's all about this school, isn't it?

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It is, yes. This is where I work.

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And I like my school. I think my school is a lovely school.

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So when we thought about moving away, we decided that I would stay here,

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we'll stay put in this area until I retire, basically.

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What a lovely area it is. South Northamptonshire is spectacular countryside.

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-It is, it's beautiful. We like it.

-And you're ready to proceed, you're sold and good to go. Is that right?

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-Yeah, we sold about a month ago.

-Why are you moving now? What's brought on this process?

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We want to move back out in the countryside, that's the key thing.

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We moved from the countryside, we miss our garden,

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-we miss the views, we miss being away from the town.

-Country living.

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We always like to ask, "what's the dream?"

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When you close your eyes and imagine the property you want to buy into next, what does it look like?

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That's easy. It's stone and it's pretty and it's chocolate-boxy.

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OK. It's got roses round the back door and a lovely big garden looking over fields and sheep and things.

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I'm from Northampton myself, so I know we're fortunate in Northamptonshire

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to have a lot of stone-built properties, all these beautiful villages surrounding us.

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What kind of radius are you looking within and are there any particular villages you like?

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I think we've decided on a radius of about 20 miles

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because we're quite happy to travel a little bit of distance

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because we want to find the right village and the right property.

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Give me some names, some idea of where you want to go?

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-There's...

-Chacombe.

-Chacombe, Weedon Lois,

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-erm, Weston...

-I didn't realise it was a test!

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-Come on, you're the teacher here.

-No cheating, no conferring, please!

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-I'm trying to think.

-A 20-mile radius works.

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There's a lot of beautiful villages in that area. You'd be happy in any of them?

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Yeah. We'd prefer somewhere smaller rather than a big village.

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-It'd be nice if it had a pub.

-Yeah.

-We'd prefer somewhere small.

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It's really hard to find that balance between a place that has enough amenities

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but without it being too big and sprawling.

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-Yeah.

-Conversely, you don't want to be too isolated either, do you?

-No.

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Anything else that springs to mind?

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I think another key thing is a garden. We're fairly keen to get back to growing our own.

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We'd like a reasonable-sized garden. We're both environmental scientists.

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We knew our degrees would come in useful some time! But we've always been very keen on the environment

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and now is our opportunity to do something a bit more and grow our own.

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You seem fairly handy, Paul. Are you up for doing a bit of a project?

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-If you do an eco-home, you're going to get your hands dirty.

-Yeah, we'd absolutely love to.

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Right, then! First one to put their hand up.

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THEY LAUGH

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-Budget?

-Hm. We said up to 370.

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-Right.

-And that's got to be fairly strict, hasn't it?

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-We've got homework to do.

-Yeah, can we go, Miss?

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-Excused?

-Yes, OK.

-Thanks, Miss.

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THEY LAUGH

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You're always showing off. Teacher's pet, putting your hand up first.

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Let me tell you something, Mr O'Brien. This is my neck of the woods,

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which means today, I am going to be top of the class.

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You think so, do you? What you're forgetting is that whenever I develop a property,

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I do it in the most environmentally-friendly way possible, so I'll get the gold star.

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'Anyway, all today's properties will be just a hop, skip and a jump from the tiny village of Aston le Walls.'

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'Very good. Villages and pretty hamlets are the order of today, and as I well know,

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-'there is no shortage of those here.'

-'Chipping Warden, Lower Boddington, Priors Marsden,

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'Farnborough and Hanwell, to name but a few, all offering a country-living lifestyle

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'but are only a stone's throw away from two large towns, Banbury and Daventry,

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'and the all-important, Aston le Walls.'

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'Aston le Walls is a small village in South Northamptonshire, close to the border with Oxfordshire.'

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'It has a population of just over 330, no shops or pub.'

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'Just a beautiful church, a primary school, and a village hall. You don't get that in many parts these days.'

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'So, all in all, an extremely popular part of the UK to live,

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'as commuting to the two biggest cities, London and Birmingham, are both just over an hour away

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'on the trusty M40 or the train.'

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'Where else in this glorious country could our buyers go to find their environmentally-friendly dream?'

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'First up is this eco-house in Canterbury,

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'stunningly clad with cedar,

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'complete with solar panels and rain water harvesting for £625,000.'

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'Or down in Essex on the outskirts of Harlow, there's this eco detached villa.

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'Your utility bills would be a snip due to its large glazed areas and solar collectors fitted to the roof.

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'And the price is a snip, too. On for £399,995.'

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'Finally, down in St Ives, we've this state of the art eco-pad.

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'It has heating and hot water from ground source heat exchanges

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'and it's finished to the highest specification.

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'All that style for only £299,950.'

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'But before we carry on with our property search,

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'here's a few eco hints for you at home.'

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A few years ago, the government announced that all new-build homes will be zero carbon-rated by 2016.

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Quite a mean feat, but if like Paul and Debra, you're not interested in living in a new build

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but would still like a more eco-friendly existence,

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there are big and small changes you can make to your property with some very eco-friendly products.

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Let's talk insulation. Over 50 percent of the heat from our homes

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is lost through the walls and ceilings.

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The very latest product to combat this is called Hemcrete.

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It's made from natural stuff, lime bound together with hemp.

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You can get it in block form, you can use it to fill cavities,

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or you can even get it to spray on like a render,

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and the best thing about it is by using a plant-based product,

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you actually lock carbon into the walls.

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We've all got a woolly jumper tucked away in our wardrobes for those cold, bitter nights,

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but I bet you've never considered using wool to insulate your home.

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Sheep's wool insulation might not seem like the most glamorous product,

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and at over £7 a metre, it's not the cheapest,

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but it is fabulous to work with and by using it,

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you'll also be supporting the good old British farmer.

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There are more obvious things you can do.

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Most homes have these foam-lagged water tanks,

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but if yours isn't, for about £12, you can buy an insulating jacket.

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Why not buy two? You can't insulate these things enough.

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You'll be surprised how much you'll save on hot water.

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If you can't find the timber you need for an extension or loft conversion

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from your local reclamation yard, then make sure it is FSC certified.

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By using Forest Stewardship Council approved wood,

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you're saying no to the destruction of our wild woods and rainforests

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and saying yes to sustainable sources of wood. It's not that hard to find now, either.

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Most DIY superstores now stock it.

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You can even give the interior of your home an eco-finish.

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There are clay paints available that don't contain any harmful chemicals and allow your walls to breathe.

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And, with 108 colours available, unlike Simon, you won't have to compromise on style.

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I don't know about saving energy, but looking at these houses today, I've certainly burnt a bit.

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-Speak for yourself. I'm a young buck. Didn't even phase me.

-Oh, you liar!

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-How have you got on?

-Not too bad. This is my neck of the woods

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and I think I've picked the winner with property number one. It's absolutely gorgeous.

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From the outside, it doesn't look too big, so they'll be pleasantly surprised when they go in.

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The finish is of the highest standard. I think they'll love it. I'm confident. That's my choice.

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OK. As long as they like a semi-detached, that'll be great. Mine is well and truly detached.

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It's in plenty of land. Apart from that, it is absolutely nothing to do with what they wanted.

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But I know Paul and Debra have the imagination and vision

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to make this place the perfect environmentally-friendly home.

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-My choice, property two. The wild card, please.

-OK.

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Today's wild card is a picture-perfect, chocolate-box property

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that combines elements of both of our properties. From the outside, it's absolutely gorgeous,

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traditional cottage, but on the inside...

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It needs a bit of work doing. But we know that our buyers aren't scared of that kind of stuff.

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-That's why we picked it. It's gorgeous.

-Indeed.

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If they can make the inside look half as good as the outside,

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they'll be left with a property anybody would want.

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-Back on these!

-Oh, the bikes. Right, my choice, property one.

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'I really don't like exercise, do I?

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'Now, if my property was a box of chocolates, it would be smooth and dark on the outside...'

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'There you go, fattening things. That's why we need exercise!'

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OK, guys, we're kicking off with my choice, property number one.

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When you think about life in a village and that chocolate-box cottage charm

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you probably envisage a house with exposed beams,

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-a bit of exposed stonework, maybe traditional fireplaces?

-Yeah.

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We've got none of that here, unfortunately.

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I'm joking, it's lovely. It's been refinished to a very high standard

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so you won't have to worry too much about doing any work in there.

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-How does it strike you from the outside?

-It looks good.

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-It's a pretty cottage.

-It looks pretty. It does look pretty.

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-There seem to be some reservations there?

-I can't see it!

-It looks quite small.

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-It's very difficult to see.

-This hedge helps a degree of privacy, let's just say that.

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-Yes, it certainly is.

-Enough of the outside, enough of the surroundings. Jonny?

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-Get inside and have a look around.

-Enjoy!

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-Wow!

-Oh, this is a lovely room.

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It is, isn't it? It's bigger than you think, isn't it?

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-It is, actually.

-Outside, it looks tiny.

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-Deceptively spacious is a term I would use.

-It is an estate agent term you would use.

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Is that a proper fireplace? Yeah, it's got logs.

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Looks all connected up. That's quite good.

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It's a good impression. I quite like the room.

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-Do you like it?

-Yes I do.

-OK. Good.

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Let's move on, see what else we've got.

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OK, this way. Ooh!

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This is nice, isn't it?

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This is quite a big kitchen and there's lots of rooms off there.

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Oh, that's a lovely dining room.

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-It's bigger than you think from the outside, isn't it?

-It is bigger. It goes back, doesn't it?

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-It's quite deep.

-This is the kitchen area.

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It's long and narrow, but there's a table in there.

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I like the work surfaces. I like the granite.

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-It is a nice size, isn't it?

-It's a lovely kitchen.

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It's not huge but it's big enough and it's got a table to eat.

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Well, that's fine. It's not huge but it's big enough.

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It's only going to be two of them most of the time.

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-Right, so, dining room.

-It looks really oldy-worldy, doesn't it?

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It's very cottagey, I think.

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-Nothing behind there.

-Yeah, it looks good.

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Oh, and there's another sitting area which is really good because it's...

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Yeah, I thought it was a bit strange coming straight off the front door into the lounge.

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This is a nice area to sit, isn't it?

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-This is where you realise how big this house is.

-Yeah.

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It looks like a tiny two-up, two-down from the front. But it steps back a long way.

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That's lovely, as well.

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-It looks private. The garden, looks really private, which is nice.

-And that's important.

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Even though this house is tucked in amongst lots of other properties,

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-we're not overlooked here at all.

-No, total privacy.

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-Ah!

-That's a nice big toilet! Nice big downstairs loo.

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-Now, that is lovely.

-You could have a party in here.

-I like that.

-Yeah.

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-Now who's the teacher's pet, eh?

-I told you, this is my neck of the woods, sunshine.

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You are such a teacher's crawly-crawly pet-pet-pet-pet.

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Right, let's go and have a look upstairs.

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Well, this is a nice stairway.

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-Shall we go round to the left, see what's in here.

-OK.

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-Ooh, that's lovely!

-I like it.

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I like the floors. Have you seen these?

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What's so good is, all the decoration and everything is all beautiful, isn't it?

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It's all, sort of, our taste.

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-It is, isn't it? Even the furniture.

-Yeah, it's beautiful.

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-Have you seen the floor?

-Yes.

-It's really good.

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-That bedroom has lovely, wide floorboards.

-Ah! Let's talk green issues.

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The original boards in the main part of the bedroom are elm,

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but in the little dressing area, they're actually reclaimed oak,

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cos you can't get elm these days. All the elm trees have gone from the UK.

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But by using reclaimed oak, it's seamless. They really fit very well.

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New boards would never have matched up as well, and you've saved cutting a tree down.

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Nice views out over the garden.

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-Yeah, it's lovely. It's a really lovely room.

-It is.

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-I really like it.

-Yep, I like it a lot.

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-It's really good.

-Let's go and see...

-Let's see what else there is.

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A-ha! It's a bathroom.

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Oh, that's quite nice, isn't it?

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-It's lovely.

-I like the tiles.

-Yes, I like the tiles.

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Yes. Very good. It's good.

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-Lovely.

-Again, quite bright.

-It's nice and light. I like all the spots.

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That's surprising, considering it's a cottage and they can feel quite dark.

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A-ha.

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Obviously, very pink.

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-It's lovely.

-It's a decent size.

-And it's light. It's light and bright.

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Right.

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-Have you seen these windows? They're pretty, aren't they?

-They're lovely.

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Along the landing and in a few of the bedrooms,

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they've got gorgeous conservation skylights with the cast iron frame, they're perfect.

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We are in a conservation area. They're very strict about what skylight you can use.

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Oh. Oh, that's quite small, isn't it?

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-This is a dinky room, isn't it?

-It is, yeah.

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That's a tiny little bed.

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It's like... What does it remind me of?

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Like Goldilocks' bed, isn't it?

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It is a small bedroom, but you did say you only really needed three rooms,

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-so that could be reserved for a spare or a little bit of a office.

-A very small visitor.

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This has a double bed in.

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-Oh, this is lovely, as well.

-Oh, that is nice.

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-Looking out over the garden.

-Not too much wardrobe space or storage space.

-No.

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-So would this be...

-This would be the spare room.

-A guest room.

-Yeah.

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Come on, look at the positives, not the negatives.

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A spare bedroom for when your kids visit, you don't need wardrobe space.

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So, what's your impression overall?

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I like it a lot. I'm surprised, actually.

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I'm pleasantly surprised, cos I wasn't expecting, when we pulled up, to like it as much as I do.

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I thought it looked small from the outside, but it's much better when you get in.

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-Seems like you quite liked that property.

-Yeah, it was great.

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It surprised us, really. On the outside, it looked really small,

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but it's got bigger and bigger.

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You've seen the main garden, we've just travelled through that, but this is the area

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that will hopefully appeal to you and Debra.

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-The vendors previously used this as their vegetable plot, their allotment.

-OK.

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So I thought this would be an ideal space for you to grow your own organic veg.

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Definitely. It's about the right size. Pretty perfect.

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-Excellent! So this place has got potential for you.

-Yep.

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It's guess the price time. Let's see if we can keep this on course. Follow me.

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We'll move on to guess the price. Your budget is £370,000.

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How much for this beautiful old house that Jonny has found you?

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Ladies first, Debra.

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I'm really, really not sure,

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but I'm going to go...

0:17:320:17:35

..385.

0:17:360:17:38

I'd probably say a little bit more, maybe.

0:17:380:17:43

390, 395.

0:17:430:17:46

OK, well, I'll pleasantly surprise you, but don't get too carried away.

0:17:460:17:49

It's offers in excess of £375,000.

0:17:490:17:53

-Right.

-So, really, that's probably the minimum they're looking for.

0:17:530:17:57

However, your position would probably swing it for these reasons.

0:17:570:18:01

This place was sold last year. However, they lost their sale because the chain collapsed.

0:18:010:18:06

So, because you are in a position where you can get going quite quickly, that will have some value.

0:18:060:18:11

Furthermore, just how the market has shifted, last year this was on for £450,000.

0:18:110:18:17

-So you wouldn't have even considered it then.

-Mm.

0:18:170:18:19

-So, something to think about, yeah?

-Definitely.

-Right.

0:18:190:18:23

I think we've started very well. Can I beat that?

0:18:230:18:25

I think I'll take you in a completely different direction which will be this way. Come on!

0:18:250:18:30

'Never mind a new direction, I think you're leading them up the garden path.'

0:18:330:18:37

'Shush now, Jonny, it might not be chocolate-box, but it's choc full of potential and they will love it.'

0:18:370:18:42

OK, folks, do come and join me at property two.

0:18:420:18:46

Now then, I'm going to call this place Simon's own personal wild card.

0:18:460:18:52

It's wild for a couple of reasons. First of all, the village.

0:18:520:18:56

I guess you know this village quite well.

0:18:560:18:58

In fact, I guess, also, you probably know every single person who lives in the houses around us.

0:18:580:19:04

-Almost.

-Yeah. Because your school is just the other side of that.

0:19:040:19:08

-Yep.

-So let's talk about that.

0:19:080:19:11

We want to reduce our carbon footprint. Let's cut out the commute altogether! Let's walk to work!

0:19:110:19:17

-Or cycle.

-You don't need to cycle, it's that close.

-Brilliant.

0:19:170:19:21

So the location's gone down well. The house might be a bit more challenging.

0:19:210:19:26

-What do you think?

-Not keen on bungalows generally.

-Fair enough.

0:19:260:19:31

Let's have a chat about it. This property is very much a shell, OK?

0:19:310:19:35

You're going to have to open up your imagination. That's what we want to be hearing.

0:19:350:19:39

Because it's literally a blank canvas.

0:19:390:19:42

And as it is, it's not really going to be quite big enough,

0:19:420:19:45

so think about how you could develop the property.

0:19:450:19:48

Paul, you said earlier you're quite up for a challenge. Simon has taken you at your word.

0:19:480:19:52

Go and let your imaginations go. On your bikes.

0:19:520:19:55

Away you go.

0:19:550:19:57

See what Simon's found us.

0:19:580:20:00

Well, this is... This is different.

0:20:000:20:04

-Mm. Empty.

-The furniture's better than ours.

0:20:040:20:07

-I don't think I'm going to get the same reception as we did for your place.

-No.

0:20:070:20:11

This looks like the lounge.

0:20:110:20:14

If you want a project, it's just bare, isn't it?

0:20:150:20:19

It's just imagining what you could do.

0:20:190:20:22

It certainly doesn't compare to the last place, which was pretty well finished.

0:20:220:20:27

-We could've just moved in.

-This will need a huge amount of work, which is not a problem.

0:20:270:20:31

-Looks very...

-Not a bad size, but we'd have to find ways of creating space.

0:20:310:20:37

This is a bungalow, so we've got to find a way of going up.

0:20:380:20:42

OK, they want to think about ways to create extra space.

0:20:420:20:44

You could go into the loft. Or use some of the outside space?

0:20:440:20:48

There's a lot of outside space, but I don't want to touch that. I'll explain later.

0:20:480:20:52

OK, so...

0:20:520:20:54

I assume this is a bedroom.

0:20:540:20:56

-I don't know.

-It probably is.

0:20:560:20:59

It's small. It's difficult, isn't it?

0:20:590:21:01

It makes it a lot harder to imagine what it would be like with furniture in.

0:21:010:21:05

I'm trying to imagine a single bed in here. You've got a bit of room...

0:21:050:21:09

I think you've got to almost look at starting again with this.

0:21:090:21:12

Do you know what? I love Paul and Debra, because I was really scared showing them this place

0:21:120:21:17

after seeing your perfect chocolate-box place.

0:21:170:21:20

-The bar was set pretty high.

-It was. And I thought they might go, "Oh, no!"

0:21:200:21:24

I can hear brightness. They're not scared.

0:21:240:21:26

-OK.

-Right, OK.

-Definitely kitchen.

0:21:260:21:31

-Not so much of a kitchen.

-No.

0:21:310:21:34

Again, space-wise,

0:21:340:21:38

we've just got a find a way of creating a load more space.

0:21:380:21:42

Once again, the kitchen is quite a small size.

0:21:420:21:45

Despite the fact that we can go up into the roof for the bedrooms,

0:21:450:21:48

I think you would need to increase the overall size. A downstairs extension would be required.

0:21:480:21:53

OK, I'll give you a tiny bit of space at the back to extend the kitchen, but no more.

0:21:530:21:58

I want this outside space for something.

0:21:580:22:00

-It's...

-It's got loads of potential.

-It has.

0:22:000:22:03

I think you've just got to have the vision to see what could be possible.

0:22:030:22:08

-Yep, I can...

-Put those heat exchange pumps in there.

0:22:080:22:13

-All right, Paul has confused you by mentioning heat exchange pumps.

-Yep.

0:22:130:22:17

I know what he's talking about, you don't. Let's play to your strengths.

0:22:170:22:21

-Bungalows, from an estate agent's point of view, talk to me.

-OK.

0:22:210:22:24

Bungalows hold their value incredibly well.

0:22:240:22:27

Oh, this is the bathroom.

0:22:270:22:30

-Tiny little bathroom.

-Is there enough room in there for two?

0:22:300:22:33

-There's a bath in there.

-Just needs...

0:22:330:22:35

-Needs a little bit of work on it.

-Yeah.

0:22:350:22:38

OK, that's fine.

0:22:380:22:40

A lot of people buy into bungalows for the fact that you can develop a first floor.

0:22:400:22:45

All the accommodation is on one storey, which means you've got a really large footprint.

0:22:450:22:50

If you then replicate that by going up a floor,

0:22:500:22:53

you've got a much bigger property than you could've hoped to have purchased.

0:22:530:22:57

I assume this is another bedroom.

0:22:570:23:00

-OK.

-Or was.

0:23:000:23:02

-Erm, OK.

-Erm, what do you think about size?

0:23:020:23:05

It's probably not a bad size for a bedroom,

0:23:050:23:07

but we've just got to get our head round the bungalow cos we'd need to build up

0:23:070:23:12

and try and put the bedrooms upstairs.

0:23:120:23:15

Talking of bungalows, a lot of people do have fantastic imagination when it comes to converting them.

0:23:150:23:20

One of the best I ever saw, as you came in the front door,

0:23:200:23:23

you had a staircase that swept up almost into a gallery landing to the upstairs.

0:23:230:23:27

The downstairs was completely open-plan.

0:23:270:23:29

The most contemporary property I've ever seen, but from the outside, completely unassuming.

0:23:290:23:34

-Another similar size room.

-It is.

0:23:340:23:37

So there are two bedrooms that are the same kind of size

0:23:370:23:41

-and then the smaller the other side.

-Yeah.

-So it's three.

0:23:410:23:44

But it's the size of the overall place that we've got to have a look at.

0:23:440:23:48

One of the strengths that this property's got over mine,

0:23:480:23:51

despite how aesthetically pleasing mine was, is that this is detached.

0:23:510:23:55

-It sits in its own plot, and that's a real bonus out here.

-Thanks!

0:23:550:23:59

-It's got scope.

-Yeah, it has, it's just it's...

0:23:590:24:04

-It's obviously a major bit of work.

-Yeah, it is and it depends...

0:24:040:24:08

That's fine, cos we could put all the environmental stuff in there.

0:24:080:24:12

-Depends what they're asking for it, how much we could do.

-Yeah.

0:24:120:24:15

Now, before we go any further, Paul or Debra,

0:24:180:24:22

could you please explain to Mr Benarr, what's a heat exchange pump,

0:24:220:24:26

which links into why I didn't want to extend this place outside into the garden.

0:24:260:24:30

OK, well, the simplest way of explaining it is...

0:24:300:24:34

-Do go with simple.

-It's a bit like a fridge. A fridge works by taking heat out of the food space

0:24:340:24:40

and the back of the fridge is really hot.

0:24:400:24:42

It's taking the heat out and it's all in the back of the fridge.

0:24:420:24:46

We do the same on a piece of land like this, put pipes underneath

0:24:460:24:49

and take the natural heat of the ground and put it into the house.

0:24:490:24:54

And the heat exchange pumps can heat the house, hot water,

0:24:540:24:57

-for most of the year without having to tap into electricity, so it's very efficient.

-Incredible.

0:24:570:25:02

That's the science behind it. Let's talk practical. You can now get grants to do this of up to £1,200.

0:25:020:25:08

It costs a lot more than that,

0:25:080:25:11

but the main thing is, it can save you 75 percent of heating your house.

0:25:110:25:17

-So that's geothermal heat?

-Yeah, it's all around.

0:25:170:25:19

So all you need is... You wouldn't even need a piece this big, half this lawn would do that size house.

0:25:190:25:25

Other options here, the main ones, we've got an east-facing roof,

0:25:250:25:29

a west-facing roof and a small south-facing roof. Solar power.

0:25:290:25:33

Photovoltaic for electricity and passive for hot water are possibilities.

0:25:330:25:38

And the other one, of course, the big one which everyone forgets

0:25:380:25:41

because it's not sexy, insulation.

0:25:410:25:44

-Yeah.

-If you're going to rip a place like this to bits, you get the chance to bring it right up to spec.

0:25:440:25:50

-You could run this place on next to nothing if you put those three simple methods in.

-Absolutely.

0:25:500:25:56

-Sounds good.

-It's the house that keeps on giving.

-It is!

0:25:560:26:00

-Now it's time for the house to take.

-Ooh.

0:26:000:26:04

Everything we've talked about there doesn't come cheap, does it?

0:26:040:26:09

-With or without grants.

-Right, it's 1-0 to you, isn't it?

-Mm-hm.

0:26:090:26:14

So the maximum budget is £370,000.

0:26:140:26:17

How much do you think for this project that Simon's provided,

0:26:170:26:20

-or Simon's wild card, as it's now been dubbed?

-Yes.

0:26:200:26:23

-The price of this as it stands now?

-Yep.

0:26:230:26:25

I'm hoping it's going to be 250.

0:26:250:26:30

-250, OK. Debra?

-I think less.

0:26:300:26:33

210, 220 maximum.

0:26:330:26:35

Not too bad. It's one-all.

0:26:350:26:39

-OK.

-But it is still way under-budget. I still think there's plenty to play with here.

0:26:390:26:43

It's on the market for £285,000.

0:26:430:26:46

85 grand under your budget. Right.

0:26:460:26:49

And with stamp duty in place, the way you guys are, because you're sold,

0:26:490:26:54

you could probably look to swing a deal back towards that 250-mark. So not a bad prospect.

0:26:540:27:00

-Yep.

-Something to think about?

0:27:000:27:02

-Yeah.

-Let's go to property three, the proper wild card. It's this way. Mind the tree.

0:27:020:27:07

'I really should look where I'm going. OK, here we are at our third and final property.'

0:27:090:27:14

-'Sorry, what? I was just thinking, "Simon's wild card".'

-'Let it go, it's never going to happen.'

0:27:140:27:19

OK, Paul, Debra, here we are at the actual wild card.

0:27:190:27:22

-Look at this place.

-Wow.

-I don't want to wax lyrical about it. What do you think?

0:27:220:27:27

It's beautiful. Absolutely. Thatched cottage, eh?

0:27:270:27:31

-I'm not quite sure what I'm looking at.

-You wanted this chocolate-box, picture-perfect property.

0:27:310:27:36

-That has got to be right up there.

-It's everything that's thatched.

0:27:360:27:41

-Looks good.

-It looks like there's two front doors.

-It's got two front doors.

0:27:410:27:45

-But it is one property.

-OK.

-It was previously two buildings.

0:27:450:27:48

-So now you know what you're looking at, what are you thinking?

-It looks lovely.

0:27:480:27:52

-Absolutely beautiful, isn't it?

-Yeah.

-It's good.

0:27:520:27:55

Now then, why is it the wild card? I'll give you some clues about what's inside.

0:27:550:27:59

You wanted that chocolate-box house. It is that.

0:27:590:28:02

But you also weren't scared of getting stuck into a project. It is that, as well.

0:28:020:28:07

Let's put it this way - this place was modernised in 1739.

0:28:070:28:12

-That's a fact.

-Just after half-past five.

0:28:120:28:16

-Is there running water?

-We think it's been around since the 14th century.

0:28:160:28:19

But it was definitely modernised in 1739, all right?

0:28:190:28:22

And it shows. It's really updated in there.

0:28:220:28:25

It's the bits from the 14th, 15th century that are a bit old-fashioned.

0:28:250:28:29

Right, that's the outside. Honestly, go and enjoy yourself in there,

0:28:290:28:33

let your imaginations run wild and see if you can get the shape of this place in your heads.

0:28:330:28:38

-All right?

-It's going to be an adventure for you.

-OK.

-Enjoy.

0:28:380:28:42

-Shall we ditch the helmets and don the headphones?

-Yes.

-Let's do that.

0:28:420:28:47

Ooh, right, OK. We're straight into the kitchen.

0:28:480:28:51

-Wow. I think that looks great.

-This is different, isn't it?

-It is.

0:28:510:28:55

Right, here we go. We are off. Straight into the kitchen.

0:28:550:28:58

That is the room that definitely needs work straight away.

0:28:580:29:01

The whole place does, but Paul and Debra have the imagination for this place.

0:29:010:29:05

I think it's a great space for a kitchen, isn't it? What would you do to update it?

0:29:050:29:10

-What do you think we need to do? Everything?

-New units.

0:29:100:29:14

Yeah, just something in keeping with the character of the cottage,

0:29:140:29:18

It's obviously very old and I think it needs

0:29:180:29:21

something that would suit the character.

0:29:210:29:25

-I'm quite keen to go and explore more.

-OK. Let's have a look.

0:29:250:29:28

-Shall we have a wander up here?

-See what's up here.

0:29:280:29:32

-OK. Gosh.

-Wow. Right.

0:29:320:29:35

Do you think this is the main living room?

0:29:350:29:38

I think it must be, yeah.

0:29:380:29:41

It's lovely. It's got loads of character. I love that fireplace. It's beautiful.

0:29:410:29:45

It's going to need a fair bit of work.

0:29:450:29:48

Modernising but keeping in character.

0:29:480:29:51

I like that, though. Paul says it needs work, but he doesn't say it with any fear.

0:29:510:29:55

No. There's no reservation. It's like, "This will be an excellent challenge."

0:29:550:30:00

-Right, let's go and have a look in here. Wow.

-OK.

0:30:000:30:03

-Look at this. I wasn't expecting to find stairs there, were you?

-No.

0:30:030:30:07

I thought it was back down to the kitchen.

0:30:070:30:10

-Oh.

-What have we got in here?

0:30:100:30:13

It's a bedroom and en suite.

0:30:130:30:15

Oh, we've got a tiny bath.

0:30:150:30:19

-I've never seen a bath like that before.

-No, nor me.

0:30:190:30:22

It is, also, one of the quirkiest en suites you'll ever see.

0:30:220:30:25

The quirkiest en suite I've ever seen.

0:30:250:30:27

And the vendors also said there is the scope to get a toilet under those stairs to make it a full en suite.

0:30:270:30:33

Wow. Let's have a look in... Cupboard space.

0:30:330:30:37

Gosh, everything... I'd love to know how old it is, cos it's really...

0:30:390:30:43

Yeah, with the windows, I bet it gets a bit draughty,

0:30:430:30:46

but it probably keeps the heat because of the thick walls.

0:30:460:30:49

Paul's worried about this place being a bit draughty and losing heat. But don't worry.

0:30:490:30:54

In actual fact, thatch compares with any modern equivalent

0:30:540:30:58

when it comes to insulation. It is brilliant stuff.

0:30:580:31:00

-What do you think?

-I think it's unlike anything else I've ever seen.

0:31:000:31:05

-Yeah. That was only halfway up the stairs.

-Are we going to go further up?

0:31:050:31:09

-I think we will.

-Oh, OK. Oh, this is a nice space.

0:31:090:31:15

-It's great.

-This is lovely.

0:31:150:31:17

-Now, that looks good.

-Yeah.

-Look at this.

0:31:170:31:20

-Looks a bit worrying, the way that's bowing there.

-Yeah.

0:31:200:31:24

It's stood there for hundreds of years, I'm sure it's not going to fall down now.

0:31:240:31:28

That is... It's an absolutely wild place.

0:31:280:31:32

-It's like going round a museum.

-It's incredible.

0:31:320:31:34

I think we'd need to update it.

0:31:340:31:37

-The master of the understatement, Paul. "It might need updating."

-Little bit.

0:31:370:31:41

-Mind your head.

-What are you thinking so far?

0:31:410:31:44

You're finding it a bit overwhelming, aren't you?

0:31:440:31:47

It's...very, very different.

0:31:470:31:51

Very different.

0:31:510:31:53

-OK, so...

-Okey dokey.

-Kitchen number two.

-Kitchen number two.

0:31:530:31:59

Is this kitchen for you and that kitchen's for me?

0:31:590:32:02

Because you've got two kitchens and two staircases,

0:32:020:32:05

-this place actually feels smaller than it is.

-Yeah.

0:32:050:32:08

It just basically needs someone starting again on the inside.

0:32:080:32:11

-Oh!

-Oh, the other front door.

0:32:110:32:13

-The other front door.

-His and hers front doors.

0:32:130:32:17

-OK. And...

-Ah!

0:32:170:32:18

There is a toilet. I was a bit worried there'd be a bucket in the garden.

0:32:180:32:22

In the downstairs loo, the cistern should be listed!

0:32:220:32:25

-Yeah.

-Wooden box, lead-lined, must be over 100 years old.

0:32:250:32:28

Oh, right, this is a little...conservatory.

0:32:300:32:33

-Oh.

-It's nice and bright.

0:32:330:32:36

-It is nice and bright. And that leads out into the...

-Good use of space.

0:32:360:32:40

That looks like a well, is it? That's one of my dreams, getting a water supply.

0:32:410:32:47

Now, in actual fact, even though that well is filled in, it still serves a very practical function.

0:32:470:32:53

It does, indeed. Because it's a thatched roof, there's no guttering,

0:32:530:32:56

so as the water runs away, it can be soaked away using that well.

0:32:560:32:59

-Do you think that's the stairs?

-I think that's the second stairs.

0:32:590:33:03

-Oh.

-Mind your head.

-You need a map to get round this place.

0:33:030:33:07

-It's full of surprises.

-It is.

-Oh, gosh, and we've got another living room.

-Oh, yeah.

0:33:070:33:12

-I wasn't expecting that. I was expecting bedrooms.

-Nor me.

0:33:120:33:15

-This is mad. So we've got another living space.

-Yeah.

0:33:150:33:20

Debra is just completely confused now. Absolutely blown away.

0:33:200:33:25

I wonder why it's not a bedroom.

0:33:250:33:28

Maybe a couple of people live in the place and this is one space

0:33:280:33:32

and the other person lives over the other side. I don't know. Shall we go on through here?

0:33:320:33:37

-And another little bit.

-Hey, no bed.

0:33:370:33:40

-Oh, what's up there?

-Oh, goodness. It's a rope ladder for more space up there.

0:33:400:33:46

-Perhaps there's a bed up there.

-This is blowing my mind, this.

0:33:460:33:50

-Even me.

-I think this is just...

-Wild.

-..exceptionally crazy.

0:33:500:33:56

Exceptionally crazy by any standards.

0:33:560:33:59

The layout of this place is so confusing. What you want to do with this

0:33:590:34:03

is just forget everything you see in front of you, just rip it up and start again on the interior.

0:34:030:34:08

It's not listed. The outside is, but do what you want in there.

0:34:080:34:11

And a bathroom in here. So this is the only bathroom. This is the main bathroom.

0:34:110:34:16

-We had that funny bath.

-Unless you've got a...

-A very short person.

0:34:160:34:21

So, compared to the other two properties we saw earlier, what do you think? How are you feeling?

0:34:210:34:26

-How am I feeling? Bewildered.

-With this one?

-Yeah.

0:34:260:34:30

-Totally bewildered.

-Yeah.

0:34:300:34:32

-It's just completely different. It's just...

-It is, isn't it?

0:34:320:34:36

It's ancient and it's...

0:34:360:34:39

But is it chocolate-box, which is what we asked the guys to find.

0:34:390:34:43

I mean, it is that, picture-postcard stuff.

0:34:440:34:47

It's definitely chocolate-boxy, but it's very unconventional.

0:34:470:34:51

It's a bit too quirky for you, isn't it? I can tell.

0:34:510:34:53

I think you'll agree the term wild card certainly fits, especially Debra.

0:34:560:35:00

Oh, yes, definitely.

0:35:000:35:02

Shell-shocked was the term you used.

0:35:020:35:04

-I certainly was.

-Paul's at the opposite end of the scale.

0:35:040:35:07

You got in there and you were like a kid in a candy shop.

0:35:070:35:10

It was great. A bit like living in a museum.

0:35:100:35:13

It's odd, because you both had the vision when we looked at the bungalow.

0:35:130:35:16

You could see that. But it was the layout here.

0:35:160:35:19

It's the space, how you'd use it. The space is there, but it's disjointed.

0:35:190:35:23

That is the point about this place, you'd have to remove the layout that is there now from your mind,

0:35:230:35:28

rip it up and start again. Only the outside is listed, so you could do whatever you wanted in there

0:35:280:35:33

to try and make a functioning, three-bedroom house.

0:35:330:35:36

-But that would cost a few bob.

-Yeah, definitely.

0:35:360:35:39

Talking of money, I'll tell you what else doesn't come cheap with your chocolate-box cottage - that thatch.

0:35:390:35:45

The good news is, it's only just been done. There are 35 years left in that old thing.

0:35:450:35:49

But when it does need replacing, it doesn't come cheap.

0:35:490:35:52

25, 30 grand at today's prices.

0:35:520:35:55

-Yeah.

-That's something you take on with this dream.

-That wouldn't put us off.

0:35:550:35:59

-No, because it's 35 years.

-Yeah.

0:35:590:36:02

Plenty of time to save. THEY LAUGH

0:36:020:36:04

-Save straw.

-Exactly, yeah. The other great thing about this property

0:36:040:36:08

is its location within the village.

0:36:080:36:10

The lawn we find ourselves on some would see as a potential building plot,

0:36:100:36:14

as they would with this meadow over here.

0:36:140:36:17

But they are protected. There are covenants which mean they can never be built on.

0:36:170:36:21

-It is so rarely that we come across a property where the view is guaranteed.

-Mm-hm.

0:36:210:36:26

That's the case here. So there you go.

0:36:260:36:28

So, how much for a view like this?

0:36:280:36:31

It is one-all in guess the price. Everything to play for.

0:36:310:36:34

Who's going to get the gold star? Maximum budget, £370,000.

0:36:340:36:39

Ladies first. What do you think? It's going to be a tricky one.

0:36:390:36:42

I'll go for 380.

0:36:420:36:46

380. Now, do I do 379 or 381?

0:36:460:36:48

-THEY LAUGH

-Erm... 380?

0:36:480:36:51

I reckon 365.

0:36:510:36:54

Well, teacher, put your dunce's cap on.

0:36:540:36:56

-Ooh!

-Paul wins. You're not far off at all, mate.

0:36:560:37:00

But you'll be pleasantly surprised to know I can save you five grand on that.

0:37:000:37:04

It's on the market for £360,000. Still quite close to the budget, though.

0:37:040:37:07

-Yeah.

-It needs a bit of work, as well.

-It does.

0:37:070:37:10

And if we're honest, there's not much room for negotiation.

0:37:100:37:13

Because they spent so much money last year getting that roof done,

0:37:130:37:17

we talked about how much money it cost to do it, they're not prepared to deviate too far.

0:37:170:37:22

-Plenty to think about.

-Yep.

-Absolutely.

0:37:220:37:24

We've shown you three very different properties which, it's fair to say, have utterly confused you.

0:37:240:37:29

-Yep.

-Yep! Well, you've got to get your heads together now

0:37:290:37:33

-and decide which one you'd like to spend more time in. Go and do that, we'll see you in a bit.

-OK.

0:37:330:37:39

It's going to be a tight one today. It could go either way. While they make their decision, here's a recap.

0:37:390:37:45

'Well, Simon, I think they were pretty taken with my choice.

0:37:450:37:48

'This chocolate-box house was absolutely full of character, had room for an allotment out back

0:37:480:37:53

'and is on the market for offers in excess of £375,000.'

0:37:530:37:56

-'They really seemed to see the potential in Simon's wild card!'

-'Stop calling it that!'

0:37:560:38:01

'Oh, OK. Loads of room to install all their environmental gadgets

0:38:010:38:05

'and on for 285K.'

0:38:050:38:07

'And then, of course, there's the real wild card.

0:38:070:38:10

-'It's thatched, has two front doors.'

-'Two kitchens, two staircases.'

0:38:100:38:13

'And even its own well. And on the market for only £360,000.'

0:38:130:38:19

Say it with me, Jonny. The wild card, the wild card, everyone loves Simon's wildcard. Eh?

0:38:210:38:27

New part of the show on the way, my friend! That was a surprise.

0:38:270:38:31

And even more of a surprise, Camilla's joined us.

0:38:310:38:34

-Yes, I have.

-Right, then, before we talk about why you chose this place, Camilla, what do you think?

0:38:340:38:39

-Erm, it looks a bit small. It's a bungalow.

-It's got potential.

0:38:390:38:43

-Maybe potential.

-It's home.

-Yeah, maybe. We'll see.

0:38:430:38:48

Now then, our eagle-eyed surveyor has given this place the once-over.

0:38:480:38:52

As we always say, it's not a legally binding survey and if you proceed with this place or any place,

0:38:520:38:58

get all your full surveys and searches done. He came up with some interesting stuff.

0:38:580:39:02

First of all, he's found a couple of cracks.

0:39:020:39:05

He does strongly recommend getting a structural survey done. You'll see them as you go round.

0:39:050:39:11

-But, all in all, not too bad.

-He thinks it could just be historical settlement cracks,

0:39:110:39:15

which you'd expect in this age of property. The one thing we were trying to push is to increase

0:39:150:39:21

the living space, you do need to go up into that roof

0:39:210:39:23

to put your bedrooms up there, so downstairs is purely for entertaining.

0:39:230:39:28

However, due to the proximity of your neighbours, you may be restricted with windows. Dormers might be out.

0:39:280:39:34

You could have some skylights. But during the planning process,

0:39:340:39:38

-they will tell you what you can and can't have.

-Before you go in,

0:39:380:39:41

it's all very well putting in heat exchange pumps and solar power and all those fancy bits and pieces,

0:39:410:39:47

but what this place does is give you the opportunity to really update its insulation.

0:39:470:39:53

Loft space, wall space, cavities, even floor space.

0:39:530:39:56

If you're going to pull the place to bits, that is the thing to focus on. But you know that.

0:39:560:40:01

Right, we've talked insulation. Get in there and see if Camilla warms to the place as much as you did.

0:40:010:40:06

-In you go. Enjoy.

-Thank you.

-Don't forget your watering can, Camilla.

0:40:060:40:10

-There you go.

-And your trowel. Excellent. Look at that green-fingered family.

0:40:100:40:15

-What shall we do?

-Go on a bike ride?

-Yeah! Back on the bikes!

0:40:150:40:18

'And speaking of green fingers, Paul is straight into gardening mode. Good for you.'

0:40:220:40:27

'Whilst Mum shows Camilla around the house.'

0:40:270:40:31

'I think Camilla's giving Debra some food for thought on the old interior design,

0:40:320:40:36

'but she's a pretty stylish girl.'

0:40:360:40:38

'How's green-fingered Dad getting on outside? Actually, they're blue fingers, but despite that,

0:40:380:40:44

'this eco-living really does have a "fuchsia." Look, there's one.'

0:40:440:40:47

'Once all those pretty plants have been potted, it's off for a jog around the village itself.'

0:40:490:40:53

'How healthy is this? We had a bike ride, they had a run.

0:40:530:40:56

'Time to meet back and discuss how it all felt.'

0:40:560:40:59

Well, Paul and Debra, before I get your reactions to having spent a bit more time here,

0:40:590:41:04

Camilla, you met this property with a lukewarm reception.

0:41:040:41:08

Having spent a bit more time here with your watering can and your parents, do you think it's OK?

0:41:080:41:13

Yeah. I was a little bit apprehensive, but there's scope, there's potential,

0:41:130:41:18

knock a few walls down...

0:41:180:41:21

Chip off the old block, you are. I like that. You're completely unfazed, as you two were.

0:41:210:41:26

A lot of people, if we showed them this place, would've gone, "This is not what we asked for,

0:41:260:41:30

"we wanted the chocolate box." It certainly isn't that.

0:41:300:41:33

No, it's not. I think we...

0:41:330:41:37

Our vision is very open-ended. We're kind of...

0:41:370:41:42

I said chocolate box. That would be kind of like the dream home.

0:41:420:41:46

But, actually, I'm open to all suggestions. Everything's possible.

0:41:460:41:51

Yeah, and there is potential, cos it's a big plot

0:41:510:41:54

and we can get the environmental stuff maybe, so...

0:41:540:41:57

OK, well, it's big question time for you guys. To buy or not to buy?

0:41:570:42:01

Well...

0:42:020:42:04

We wouldn't... It's a definite maybe.

0:42:040:42:07

-THEY LAUGH

-I see!

0:42:070:42:10

We won't say, "Yes, we'd buy" because there's too many questions to be answered.

0:42:100:42:14

-Yep.

-So we need to be sure we can go out that way

0:42:140:42:18

-and the full dormers across, the foundations will hold it.

-Yep.

0:42:180:42:23

-And costs.

-And within the budget.

0:42:230:42:26

So there's a few questions we need to answer.

0:42:260:42:29

-So, Miss, you've got plenty of homework to do.

-I have, yes.

0:42:290:42:32

But I think, just before you two go off, I've got something to give to Simon.

0:42:320:42:38

-Hang about!

-Ahhh!

0:42:380:42:40

HE LAUGHS Oh, look, I'm getting out of here! I'm on my bike.

0:42:400:42:44

-Good luck with everything, you guys.

-Thanks, Miss! Thanks, Miss! Bye!

0:42:440:42:49