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.
Browse content similar to Aston Le Walls. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
-Hello, and welcome.
-Today we're in my home county of Northamptonshire.
-Along the cusp of Oxfordshire.
-And crossing over into Warwickshire. Erm, we've got to go that way!
-But you said...
-Yeah, I know, but it's...
-This isn't the place. Why are we stopping?
-Because, Jonny, a little bird
from the mystery To Buy Or Not To Buy property team
tells me that today's buyers are would-be eco-warriors.
So, with that in mind, we are ditching four wheels
and taking to two to help reduce our carbon footprint.
When do you come up with these ideas and at what stage were you going to tell me?
-I'm not exactly dressed for cycling.
-You look fine.
-Is this just until we get to their house?
Well, no, because they have similar bikes,
so it's a case of eight wheels looking for three houses...
-Giving them one unique chance..
-To try one...
-Before they buy one.
Yep. So, come on, grab that and get on your bike.
'And our budding eco-warriors in the making are Paul and Debra Cuncannon.'
'They've just accepted an offer on their family-sized,
'detached modern dwelling on the outskirts of Banbury.'
'They moved there ten years ago to be closer to school for their children,
'Tom, Pete and Camilla.'
'Now, fast forward ten years and the kids are no longer kids
'and, with the exception of Tom, who is studying at home, are all away living at university.'
'So that leaves the outskirts of Banbury surplus to requirements,
'meaning Mum and Dad can finally put themselves first.'
'Both green-fingered and keen runners, Paul and Debra want to move somewhere
'where they can continue to keep fit and get back to the good life with a huge veggie patch.'
'I've heard that our opening location is key to the impending property search.
'Hands up if you know the answer! Too slow, Jonny.'
-Miss! Question Miss! Miss, Miss, Miss!
Tell us about this search. It's all about this school, isn't it?
It is, yes. This is where I work.
And I like my school. I think my school is a lovely school.
So when we thought about moving away, we decided that I would stay here,
we'll stay put in this area until I retire, basically.
What a lovely area it is. South Northamptonshire is spectacular countryside.
-It is, it's beautiful. We like it.
-And you're ready to proceed, you're sold and good to go. Is that right?
-Yeah, we sold about a month ago.
-Why are you moving now? What's brought on this process?
We want to move back out in the countryside, that's the key thing.
We moved from the countryside, we miss our garden,
-we miss the views, we miss being away from the town.
We always like to ask, "what's the dream?"
When you close your eyes and imagine the property you want to buy into next, what does it look like?
That's easy. It's stone and it's pretty and it's chocolate-boxy.
OK. It's got roses round the back door and a lovely big garden looking over fields and sheep and things.
I'm from Northampton myself, so I know we're fortunate in Northamptonshire
to have a lot of stone-built properties, all these beautiful villages surrounding us.
What kind of radius are you looking within and are there any particular villages you like?
I think we've decided on a radius of about 20 miles
because we're quite happy to travel a little bit of distance
because we want to find the right village and the right property.
Give me some names, some idea of where you want to go?
-Chacombe, Weedon Lois,
-I didn't realise it was a test!
-Come on, you're the teacher here.
-No cheating, no conferring, please!
-I'm trying to think.
-A 20-mile radius works.
There's a lot of beautiful villages in that area. You'd be happy in any of them?
Yeah. We'd prefer somewhere smaller rather than a big village.
-It'd be nice if it had a pub.
-We'd prefer somewhere small.
It's really hard to find that balance between a place that has enough amenities
but without it being too big and sprawling.
-Conversely, you don't want to be too isolated either, do you?
Anything else that springs to mind?
I think another key thing is a garden. We're fairly keen to get back to growing our own.
We'd like a reasonable-sized garden. We're both environmental scientists.
We knew our degrees would come in useful some time! But we've always been very keen on the environment
and now is our opportunity to do something a bit more and grow our own.
You seem fairly handy, Paul. Are you up for doing a bit of a project?
-If you do an eco-home, you're going to get your hands dirty.
-Yeah, we'd absolutely love to.
Right, then! First one to put their hand up.
-Hm. We said up to 370.
-And that's got to be fairly strict, hasn't it?
-We've got homework to do.
-Yeah, can we go, Miss?
You're always showing off. Teacher's pet, putting your hand up first.
Let me tell you something, Mr O'Brien. This is my neck of the woods,
which means today, I am going to be top of the class.
You think so, do you? What you're forgetting is that whenever I develop a property,
I do it in the most environmentally-friendly way possible, so I'll get the gold star.
'Anyway, all today's properties will be just a hop, skip and a jump from the tiny village of Aston le Walls.'
'Very good. Villages and pretty hamlets are the order of today, and as I well know,
-'there is no shortage of those here.'
-'Chipping Warden, Lower Boddington, Priors Marsden,
'Farnborough and Hanwell, to name but a few, all offering a country-living lifestyle
'but are only a stone's throw away from two large towns, Banbury and Daventry,
'and the all-important, Aston le Walls.'
'Aston le Walls is a small village in South Northamptonshire, close to the border with Oxfordshire.'
'It has a population of just over 330, no shops or pub.'
'Just a beautiful church, a primary school, and a village hall. You don't get that in many parts these days.'
'So, all in all, an extremely popular part of the UK to live,
'as commuting to the two biggest cities, London and Birmingham, are both just over an hour away
'on the trusty M40 or the train.'
'Where else in this glorious country could our buyers go to find their environmentally-friendly dream?'
'First up is this eco-house in Canterbury,
'stunningly clad with cedar,
'complete with solar panels and rain water harvesting for £625,000.'
'Or down in Essex on the outskirts of Harlow, there's this eco detached villa.
'Your utility bills would be a snip due to its large glazed areas and solar collectors fitted to the roof.
'And the price is a snip, too. On for £399,995.'
'Finally, down in St Ives, we've this state of the art eco-pad.
'It has heating and hot water from ground source heat exchanges
'and it's finished to the highest specification.
'All that style for only £299,950.'
'But before we carry on with our property search,
'here's a few eco hints for you at home.'
A few years ago, the government announced that all new-build homes will be zero carbon-rated by 2016.
Quite a mean feat, but if like Paul and Debra, you're not interested in living in a new build
but would still like a more eco-friendly existence,
there are big and small changes you can make to your property with some very eco-friendly products.
Let's talk insulation. Over 50 percent of the heat from our homes
is lost through the walls and ceilings.
The very latest product to combat this is called Hemcrete.
It's made from natural stuff, lime bound together with hemp.
You can get it in block form, you can use it to fill cavities,
or you can even get it to spray on like a render,
and the best thing about it is by using a plant-based product,
you actually lock carbon into the walls.
We've all got a woolly jumper tucked away in our wardrobes for those cold, bitter nights,
but I bet you've never considered using wool to insulate your home.
Sheep's wool insulation might not seem like the most glamorous product,
and at over £7 a metre, it's not the cheapest,
but it is fabulous to work with and by using it,
you'll also be supporting the good old British farmer.
There are more obvious things you can do.
Most homes have these foam-lagged water tanks,
but if yours isn't, for about £12, you can buy an insulating jacket.
Why not buy two? You can't insulate these things enough.
You'll be surprised how much you'll save on hot water.
If you can't find the timber you need for an extension or loft conversion
from your local reclamation yard, then make sure it is FSC certified.
By using Forest Stewardship Council approved wood,
you're saying no to the destruction of our wild woods and rainforests
and saying yes to sustainable sources of wood. It's not that hard to find now, either.
Most DIY superstores now stock it.
You can even give the interior of your home an eco-finish.
There are clay paints available that don't contain any harmful chemicals and allow your walls to breathe.
And, with 108 colours available, unlike Simon, you won't have to compromise on style.
I don't know about saving energy, but looking at these houses today, I've certainly burnt a bit.
-Speak for yourself. I'm a young buck. Didn't even phase me.
-Oh, you liar!
-How have you got on?
-Not too bad. This is my neck of the woods
and I think I've picked the winner with property number one. It's absolutely gorgeous.
From the outside, it doesn't look too big, so they'll be pleasantly surprised when they go in.
The finish is of the highest standard. I think they'll love it. I'm confident. That's my choice.
OK. As long as they like a semi-detached, that'll be great. Mine is well and truly detached.
It's in plenty of land. Apart from that, it is absolutely nothing to do with what they wanted.
But I know Paul and Debra have the imagination and vision
to make this place the perfect environmentally-friendly home.
-My choice, property two. The wild card, please.
Today's wild card is a picture-perfect, chocolate-box property
that combines elements of both of our properties. From the outside, it's absolutely gorgeous,
traditional cottage, but on the inside...
It needs a bit of work doing. But we know that our buyers aren't scared of that kind of stuff.
-That's why we picked it. It's gorgeous.
If they can make the inside look half as good as the outside,
they'll be left with a property anybody would want.
-Back on these!
-Oh, the bikes. Right, my choice, property one.
'I really don't like exercise, do I?
'Now, if my property was a box of chocolates, it would be smooth and dark on the outside...'
'There you go, fattening things. That's why we need exercise!'
OK, guys, we're kicking off with my choice, property number one.
When you think about life in a village and that chocolate-box cottage charm
you probably envisage a house with exposed beams,
-a bit of exposed stonework, maybe traditional fireplaces?
We've got none of that here, unfortunately.
I'm joking, it's lovely. It's been refinished to a very high standard
so you won't have to worry too much about doing any work in there.
-How does it strike you from the outside?
-It looks good.
-It's a pretty cottage.
-It looks pretty. It does look pretty.
-There seem to be some reservations there?
-I can't see it!
-It looks quite small.
-It's very difficult to see.
-This hedge helps a degree of privacy, let's just say that.
-Yes, it certainly is.
-Enough of the outside, enough of the surroundings. Jonny?
-Get inside and have a look around.
-Oh, this is a lovely room.
It is, isn't it? It's bigger than you think, isn't it?
-It is, actually.
-Outside, it looks tiny.
-Deceptively spacious is a term I would use.
-It is an estate agent term you would use.
Is that a proper fireplace? Yeah, it's got logs.
Looks all connected up. That's quite good.
It's a good impression. I quite like the room.
-Do you like it?
-Yes I do.
Let's move on, see what else we've got.
OK, this way. Ooh!
This is nice, isn't it?
This is quite a big kitchen and there's lots of rooms off there.
Oh, that's a lovely dining room.
-It's bigger than you think from the outside, isn't it?
-It is bigger. It goes back, doesn't it?
-It's quite deep.
-This is the kitchen area.
It's long and narrow, but there's a table in there.
I like the work surfaces. I like the granite.
-It is a nice size, isn't it?
-It's a lovely kitchen.
It's not huge but it's big enough and it's got a table to eat.
Well, that's fine. It's not huge but it's big enough.
It's only going to be two of them most of the time.
-Right, so, dining room.
-It looks really oldy-worldy, doesn't it?
It's very cottagey, I think.
-Nothing behind there.
-Yeah, it looks good.
Oh, and there's another sitting area which is really good because it's...
Yeah, I thought it was a bit strange coming straight off the front door into the lounge.
This is a nice area to sit, isn't it?
-This is where you realise how big this house is.
It looks like a tiny two-up, two-down from the front. But it steps back a long way.
That's lovely, as well.
-It looks private. The garden, looks really private, which is nice.
-And that's important.
Even though this house is tucked in amongst lots of other properties,
-we're not overlooked here at all.
-No, total privacy.
-That's a nice big toilet! Nice big downstairs loo.
-Now, that is lovely.
-You could have a party in here.
-I like that.
-Now who's the teacher's pet, eh?
-I told you, this is my neck of the woods, sunshine.
You are such a teacher's crawly-crawly pet-pet-pet-pet.
Right, let's go and have a look upstairs.
Well, this is a nice stairway.
-Shall we go round to the left, see what's in here.
-Ooh, that's lovely!
-I like it.
I like the floors. Have you seen these?
What's so good is, all the decoration and everything is all beautiful, isn't it?
It's all, sort of, our taste.
-It is, isn't it? Even the furniture.
-Yeah, it's beautiful.
-Have you seen the floor?
-It's really good.
-That bedroom has lovely, wide floorboards.
-Ah! Let's talk green issues.
The original boards in the main part of the bedroom are elm,
but in the little dressing area, they're actually reclaimed oak,
cos you can't get elm these days. All the elm trees have gone from the UK.
But by using reclaimed oak, it's seamless. They really fit very well.
New boards would never have matched up as well, and you've saved cutting a tree down.
Nice views out over the garden.
-Yeah, it's lovely. It's a really lovely room.
-I really like it.
-Yep, I like it a lot.
-It's really good.
-Let's go and see...
-Let's see what else there is.
A-ha! It's a bathroom.
Oh, that's quite nice, isn't it?
-I like the tiles.
-Yes, I like the tiles.
Yes. Very good. It's good.
-Again, quite bright.
-It's nice and light. I like all the spots.
That's surprising, considering it's a cottage and they can feel quite dark.
Obviously, very pink.
-It's a decent size.
-And it's light. It's light and bright.
-Have you seen these windows? They're pretty, aren't they?
Along the landing and in a few of the bedrooms,
they've got gorgeous conservation skylights with the cast iron frame, they're perfect.
We are in a conservation area. They're very strict about what skylight you can use.
Oh. Oh, that's quite small, isn't it?
-This is a dinky room, isn't it?
-It is, yeah.
That's a tiny little bed.
It's like... What does it remind me of?
Like Goldilocks' bed, isn't it?
It is a small bedroom, but you did say you only really needed three rooms,
-so that could be reserved for a spare or a little bit of a office.
-A very small visitor.
This has a double bed in.
-Oh, this is lovely, as well.
-Oh, that is nice.
-Looking out over the garden.
-Not too much wardrobe space or storage space.
-So would this be...
-This would be the spare room.
-A guest room.
Come on, look at the positives, not the negatives.
A spare bedroom for when your kids visit, you don't need wardrobe space.
So, what's your impression overall?
I like it a lot. I'm surprised, actually.
I'm pleasantly surprised, cos I wasn't expecting, when we pulled up, to like it as much as I do.
I thought it looked small from the outside, but it's much better when you get in.
-Seems like you quite liked that property.
-Yeah, it was great.
It surprised us, really. On the outside, it looked really small,
but it's got bigger and bigger.
You've seen the main garden, we've just travelled through that, but this is the area
that will hopefully appeal to you and Debra.
-The vendors previously used this as their vegetable plot, their allotment.
So I thought this would be an ideal space for you to grow your own organic veg.
Definitely. It's about the right size. Pretty perfect.
-Excellent! So this place has got potential for you.
It's guess the price time. Let's see if we can keep this on course. Follow me.
We'll move on to guess the price. Your budget is £370,000.
How much for this beautiful old house that Jonny has found you?
Ladies first, Debra.
I'm really, really not sure,
but I'm going to go...
I'd probably say a little bit more, maybe.
OK, well, I'll pleasantly surprise you, but don't get too carried away.
It's offers in excess of £375,000.
-So, really, that's probably the minimum they're looking for.
However, your position would probably swing it for these reasons.
This place was sold last year. However, they lost their sale because the chain collapsed.
So, because you are in a position where you can get going quite quickly, that will have some value.
Furthermore, just how the market has shifted, last year this was on for £450,000.
-So you wouldn't have even considered it then.
-So, something to think about, yeah?
I think we've started very well. Can I beat that?
I think I'll take you in a completely different direction which will be this way. Come on!
'Never mind a new direction, I think you're leading them up the garden path.'
'Shush now, Jonny, it might not be chocolate-box, but it's choc full of potential and they will love it.'
OK, folks, do come and join me at property two.
Now then, I'm going to call this place Simon's own personal wild card.
It's wild for a couple of reasons. First of all, the village.
I guess you know this village quite well.
In fact, I guess, also, you probably know every single person who lives in the houses around us.
-Yeah. Because your school is just the other side of that.
-So let's talk about that.
We want to reduce our carbon footprint. Let's cut out the commute altogether! Let's walk to work!
-You don't need to cycle, it's that close.
So the location's gone down well. The house might be a bit more challenging.
-What do you think?
-Not keen on bungalows generally.
Let's have a chat about it. This property is very much a shell, OK?
You're going to have to open up your imagination. That's what we want to be hearing.
Because it's literally a blank canvas.
And as it is, it's not really going to be quite big enough,
so think about how you could develop the property.
Paul, you said earlier you're quite up for a challenge. Simon has taken you at your word.
Go and let your imaginations go. On your bikes.
Away you go.
See what Simon's found us.
Well, this is... This is different.
-The furniture's better than ours.
-I don't think I'm going to get the same reception as we did for your place.
This looks like the lounge.
If you want a project, it's just bare, isn't it?
It's just imagining what you could do.
It certainly doesn't compare to the last place, which was pretty well finished.
-We could've just moved in.
-This will need a huge amount of work, which is not a problem.
-Not a bad size, but we'd have to find ways of creating space.
This is a bungalow, so we've got to find a way of going up.
OK, they want to think about ways to create extra space.
You could go into the loft. Or use some of the outside space?
There's a lot of outside space, but I don't want to touch that. I'll explain later.
I assume this is a bedroom.
-I don't know.
-It probably is.
It's small. It's difficult, isn't it?
It makes it a lot harder to imagine what it would be like with furniture in.
I'm trying to imagine a single bed in here. You've got a bit of room...
I think you've got to almost look at starting again with this.
Do you know what? I love Paul and Debra, because I was really scared showing them this place
after seeing your perfect chocolate-box place.
-The bar was set pretty high.
-It was. And I thought they might go, "Oh, no!"
I can hear brightness. They're not scared.
-Not so much of a kitchen.
we've just got a find a way of creating a load more space.
Once again, the kitchen is quite a small size.
Despite the fact that we can go up into the roof for the bedrooms,
I think you would need to increase the overall size. A downstairs extension would be required.
OK, I'll give you a tiny bit of space at the back to extend the kitchen, but no more.
I want this outside space for something.
-It's got loads of potential.
I think you've just got to have the vision to see what could be possible.
-Yep, I can...
-Put those heat exchange pumps in there.
-All right, Paul has confused you by mentioning heat exchange pumps.
I know what he's talking about, you don't. Let's play to your strengths.
-Bungalows, from an estate agent's point of view, talk to me.
Bungalows hold their value incredibly well.
Oh, this is the bathroom.
-Tiny little bathroom.
-Is there enough room in there for two?
-There's a bath in there.
-Needs a little bit of work on it.
OK, that's fine.
A lot of people buy into bungalows for the fact that you can develop a first floor.
All the accommodation is on one storey, which means you've got a really large footprint.
If you then replicate that by going up a floor,
you've got a much bigger property than you could've hoped to have purchased.
I assume this is another bedroom.
-Erm, what do you think about size?
It's probably not a bad size for a bedroom,
but we've just got to get our head round the bungalow cos we'd need to build up
and try and put the bedrooms upstairs.
Talking of bungalows, a lot of people do have fantastic imagination when it comes to converting them.
One of the best I ever saw, as you came in the front door,
you had a staircase that swept up almost into a gallery landing to the upstairs.
The downstairs was completely open-plan.
The most contemporary property I've ever seen, but from the outside, completely unassuming.
-Another similar size room.
So there are two bedrooms that are the same kind of size
-and then the smaller the other side.
-So it's three.
But it's the size of the overall place that we've got to have a look at.
One of the strengths that this property's got over mine,
despite how aesthetically pleasing mine was, is that this is detached.
-It sits in its own plot, and that's a real bonus out here.
-It's got scope.
-Yeah, it has, it's just it's...
-It's obviously a major bit of work.
-Yeah, it is and it depends...
That's fine, cos we could put all the environmental stuff in there.
-Depends what they're asking for it, how much we could do.
Now, before we go any further, Paul or Debra,
could you please explain to Mr Benarr, what's a heat exchange pump,
which links into why I didn't want to extend this place outside into the garden.
OK, well, the simplest way of explaining it is...
-Do go with simple.
-It's a bit like a fridge. A fridge works by taking heat out of the food space
and the back of the fridge is really hot.
It's taking the heat out and it's all in the back of the fridge.
We do the same on a piece of land like this, put pipes underneath
and take the natural heat of the ground and put it into the house.
And the heat exchange pumps can heat the house, hot water,
-for most of the year without having to tap into electricity, so it's very efficient.
That's the science behind it. Let's talk practical. You can now get grants to do this of up to £1,200.
It costs a lot more than that,
but the main thing is, it can save you 75 percent of heating your house.
-So that's geothermal heat?
-Yeah, it's all around.
So all you need is... You wouldn't even need a piece this big, half this lawn would do that size house.
Other options here, the main ones, we've got an east-facing roof,
a west-facing roof and a small south-facing roof. Solar power.
Photovoltaic for electricity and passive for hot water are possibilities.
And the other one, of course, the big one which everyone forgets
because it's not sexy, insulation.
-If you're going to rip a place like this to bits, you get the chance to bring it right up to spec.
-You could run this place on next to nothing if you put those three simple methods in.
-It's the house that keeps on giving.
-Now it's time for the house to take.
Everything we've talked about there doesn't come cheap, does it?
-With or without grants.
-Right, it's 1-0 to you, isn't it?
So the maximum budget is £370,000.
How much do you think for this project that Simon's provided,
-or Simon's wild card, as it's now been dubbed?
-The price of this as it stands now?
I'm hoping it's going to be 250.
-250, OK. Debra?
-I think less.
210, 220 maximum.
Not too bad. It's one-all.
-But it is still way under-budget. I still think there's plenty to play with here.
It's on the market for £285,000.
85 grand under your budget. Right.
And with stamp duty in place, the way you guys are, because you're sold,
you could probably look to swing a deal back towards that 250-mark. So not a bad prospect.
-Something to think about?
-Let's go to property three, the proper wild card. It's this way. Mind the tree.
'I really should look where I'm going. OK, here we are at our third and final property.'
-'Sorry, what? I was just thinking, "Simon's wild card".'
-'Let it go, it's never going to happen.'
OK, Paul, Debra, here we are at the actual wild card.
-Look at this place.
-I don't want to wax lyrical about it. What do you think?
It's beautiful. Absolutely. Thatched cottage, eh?
-I'm not quite sure what I'm looking at.
-You wanted this chocolate-box, picture-perfect property.
-That has got to be right up there.
-It's everything that's thatched.
-It looks like there's two front doors.
-It's got two front doors.
-But it is one property.
-It was previously two buildings.
-So now you know what you're looking at, what are you thinking?
-It looks lovely.
-Absolutely beautiful, isn't it?
Now then, why is it the wild card? I'll give you some clues about what's inside.
You wanted that chocolate-box house. It is that.
But you also weren't scared of getting stuck into a project. It is that, as well.
Let's put it this way - this place was modernised in 1739.
-That's a fact.
-Just after half-past five.
-Is there running water?
-We think it's been around since the 14th century.
But it was definitely modernised in 1739, all right?
And it shows. It's really updated in there.
It's the bits from the 14th, 15th century that are a bit old-fashioned.
Right, that's the outside. Honestly, go and enjoy yourself in there,
let your imaginations run wild and see if you can get the shape of this place in your heads.
-It's going to be an adventure for you.
-Shall we ditch the helmets and don the headphones?
-Let's do that.
Ooh, right, OK. We're straight into the kitchen.
-Wow. I think that looks great.
-This is different, isn't it?
Right, here we go. We are off. Straight into the kitchen.
That is the room that definitely needs work straight away.
The whole place does, but Paul and Debra have the imagination for this place.
I think it's a great space for a kitchen, isn't it? What would you do to update it?
-What do you think we need to do? Everything?
Yeah, just something in keeping with the character of the cottage,
It's obviously very old and I think it needs
something that would suit the character.
-I'm quite keen to go and explore more.
-OK. Let's have a look.
-Shall we have a wander up here?
-See what's up here.
Do you think this is the main living room?
I think it must be, yeah.
It's lovely. It's got loads of character. I love that fireplace. It's beautiful.
It's going to need a fair bit of work.
Modernising but keeping in character.
I like that, though. Paul says it needs work, but he doesn't say it with any fear.
No. There's no reservation. It's like, "This will be an excellent challenge."
-Right, let's go and have a look in here. Wow.
-Look at this. I wasn't expecting to find stairs there, were you?
I thought it was back down to the kitchen.
-What have we got in here?
It's a bedroom and en suite.
Oh, we've got a tiny bath.
-I've never seen a bath like that before.
-No, nor me.
It is, also, one of the quirkiest en suites you'll ever see.
The quirkiest en suite I've ever seen.
And the vendors also said there is the scope to get a toilet under those stairs to make it a full en suite.
Wow. Let's have a look in... Cupboard space.
Gosh, everything... I'd love to know how old it is, cos it's really...
Yeah, with the windows, I bet it gets a bit draughty,
but it probably keeps the heat because of the thick walls.
Paul's worried about this place being a bit draughty and losing heat. But don't worry.
In actual fact, thatch compares with any modern equivalent
when it comes to insulation. It is brilliant stuff.
-What do you think?
-I think it's unlike anything else I've ever seen.
-Yeah. That was only halfway up the stairs.
-Are we going to go further up?
-I think we will.
-Oh, OK. Oh, this is a nice space.
-This is lovely.
-Now, that looks good.
-Look at this.
-Looks a bit worrying, the way that's bowing there.
It's stood there for hundreds of years, I'm sure it's not going to fall down now.
That is... It's an absolutely wild place.
-It's like going round a museum.
I think we'd need to update it.
-The master of the understatement, Paul. "It might need updating."
-Mind your head.
-What are you thinking so far?
You're finding it a bit overwhelming, aren't you?
It's...very, very different.
-Kitchen number two.
-Kitchen number two.
Is this kitchen for you and that kitchen's for me?
Because you've got two kitchens and two staircases,
-this place actually feels smaller than it is.
It just basically needs someone starting again on the inside.
-Oh, the other front door.
-The other front door.
-His and hers front doors.
There is a toilet. I was a bit worried there'd be a bucket in the garden.
In the downstairs loo, the cistern should be listed!
-Wooden box, lead-lined, must be over 100 years old.
Oh, right, this is a little...conservatory.
-It's nice and bright.
-It is nice and bright. And that leads out into the...
-Good use of space.
That looks like a well, is it? That's one of my dreams, getting a water supply.
Now, in actual fact, even though that well is filled in, it still serves a very practical function.
It does, indeed. Because it's a thatched roof, there's no guttering,
so as the water runs away, it can be soaked away using that well.
-Do you think that's the stairs?
-I think that's the second stairs.
-Mind your head.
-You need a map to get round this place.
-It's full of surprises.
-Oh, gosh, and we've got another living room.
-I wasn't expecting that. I was expecting bedrooms.
-This is mad. So we've got another living space.
Debra is just completely confused now. Absolutely blown away.
I wonder why it's not a bedroom.
Maybe a couple of people live in the place and this is one space
and the other person lives over the other side. I don't know. Shall we go on through here?
-And another little bit.
-Hey, no bed.
-Oh, what's up there?
-Oh, goodness. It's a rope ladder for more space up there.
-Perhaps there's a bed up there.
-This is blowing my mind, this.
-I think this is just...
Exceptionally crazy by any standards.
The layout of this place is so confusing. What you want to do with this
is just forget everything you see in front of you, just rip it up and start again on the interior.
It's not listed. The outside is, but do what you want in there.
And a bathroom in here. So this is the only bathroom. This is the main bathroom.
-We had that funny bath.
-Unless you've got a...
-A very short person.
So, compared to the other two properties we saw earlier, what do you think? How are you feeling?
-How am I feeling? Bewildered.
-With this one?
-It's just completely different. It's just...
-It is, isn't it?
It's ancient and it's...
But is it chocolate-box, which is what we asked the guys to find.
I mean, it is that, picture-postcard stuff.
It's definitely chocolate-boxy, but it's very unconventional.
It's a bit too quirky for you, isn't it? I can tell.
I think you'll agree the term wild card certainly fits, especially Debra.
Oh, yes, definitely.
Shell-shocked was the term you used.
-I certainly was.
-Paul's at the opposite end of the scale.
You got in there and you were like a kid in a candy shop.
It was great. A bit like living in a museum.
It's odd, because you both had the vision when we looked at the bungalow.
You could see that. But it was the layout here.
It's the space, how you'd use it. The space is there, but it's disjointed.
That is the point about this place, you'd have to remove the layout that is there now from your mind,
rip it up and start again. Only the outside is listed, so you could do whatever you wanted in there
to try and make a functioning, three-bedroom house.
-But that would cost a few bob.
Talking of money, I'll tell you what else doesn't come cheap with your chocolate-box cottage - that thatch.
The good news is, it's only just been done. There are 35 years left in that old thing.
But when it does need replacing, it doesn't come cheap.
25, 30 grand at today's prices.
-That's something you take on with this dream.
-That wouldn't put us off.
-No, because it's 35 years.
Plenty of time to save. THEY LAUGH
-Exactly, yeah. The other great thing about this property
is its location within the village.
The lawn we find ourselves on some would see as a potential building plot,
as they would with this meadow over here.
But they are protected. There are covenants which mean they can never be built on.
-It is so rarely that we come across a property where the view is guaranteed.
That's the case here. So there you go.
So, how much for a view like this?
It is one-all in guess the price. Everything to play for.
Who's going to get the gold star? Maximum budget, £370,000.
Ladies first. What do you think? It's going to be a tricky one.
I'll go for 380.
380. Now, do I do 379 or 381?
I reckon 365.
Well, teacher, put your dunce's cap on.
-Paul wins. You're not far off at all, mate.
But you'll be pleasantly surprised to know I can save you five grand on that.
It's on the market for £360,000. Still quite close to the budget, though.
-It needs a bit of work, as well.
And if we're honest, there's not much room for negotiation.
Because they spent so much money last year getting that roof done,
we talked about how much money it cost to do it, they're not prepared to deviate too far.
-Plenty to think about.
We've shown you three very different properties which, it's fair to say, have utterly confused you.
-Yep! Well, you've got to get your heads together now
-and decide which one you'd like to spend more time in. Go and do that, we'll see you in a bit.
It's going to be a tight one today. It could go either way. While they make their decision, here's a recap.
'Well, Simon, I think they were pretty taken with my choice.
'This chocolate-box house was absolutely full of character, had room for an allotment out back
'and is on the market for offers in excess of £375,000.'
-'They really seemed to see the potential in Simon's wild card!'
-'Stop calling it that!'
'Oh, OK. Loads of room to install all their environmental gadgets
'and on for 285K.'
'And then, of course, there's the real wild card.
-'It's thatched, has two front doors.'
-'Two kitchens, two staircases.'
'And even its own well. And on the market for only £360,000.'
Say it with me, Jonny. The wild card, the wild card, everyone loves Simon's wildcard. Eh?
New part of the show on the way, my friend! That was a surprise.
And even more of a surprise, Camilla's joined us.
-Yes, I have.
-Right, then, before we talk about why you chose this place, Camilla, what do you think?
-Erm, it looks a bit small. It's a bungalow.
-It's got potential.
-Yeah, maybe. We'll see.
Now then, our eagle-eyed surveyor has given this place the once-over.
As we always say, it's not a legally binding survey and if you proceed with this place or any place,
get all your full surveys and searches done. He came up with some interesting stuff.
First of all, he's found a couple of cracks.
He does strongly recommend getting a structural survey done. You'll see them as you go round.
-But, all in all, not too bad.
-He thinks it could just be historical settlement cracks,
which you'd expect in this age of property. The one thing we were trying to push is to increase
the living space, you do need to go up into that roof
to put your bedrooms up there, so downstairs is purely for entertaining.
However, due to the proximity of your neighbours, you may be restricted with windows. Dormers might be out.
You could have some skylights. But during the planning process,
-they will tell you what you can and can't have.
-Before you go in,
it's all very well putting in heat exchange pumps and solar power and all those fancy bits and pieces,
but what this place does is give you the opportunity to really update its insulation.
Loft space, wall space, cavities, even floor space.
If you're going to pull the place to bits, that is the thing to focus on. But you know that.
Right, we've talked insulation. Get in there and see if Camilla warms to the place as much as you did.
-In you go. Enjoy.
-Don't forget your watering can, Camilla.
-There you go.
-And your trowel. Excellent. Look at that green-fingered family.
-What shall we do?
-Go on a bike ride?
-Yeah! Back on the bikes!
'And speaking of green fingers, Paul is straight into gardening mode. Good for you.'
'Whilst Mum shows Camilla around the house.'
'I think Camilla's giving Debra some food for thought on the old interior design,
'but she's a pretty stylish girl.'
'How's green-fingered Dad getting on outside? Actually, they're blue fingers, but despite that,
'this eco-living really does have a "fuchsia." Look, there's one.'
'Once all those pretty plants have been potted, it's off for a jog around the village itself.'
'How healthy is this? We had a bike ride, they had a run.
'Time to meet back and discuss how it all felt.'
Well, Paul and Debra, before I get your reactions to having spent a bit more time here,
Camilla, you met this property with a lukewarm reception.
Having spent a bit more time here with your watering can and your parents, do you think it's OK?
Yeah. I was a little bit apprehensive, but there's scope, there's potential,
knock a few walls down...
Chip off the old block, you are. I like that. You're completely unfazed, as you two were.
A lot of people, if we showed them this place, would've gone, "This is not what we asked for,
"we wanted the chocolate box." It certainly isn't that.
No, it's not. I think we...
Our vision is very open-ended. We're kind of...
I said chocolate box. That would be kind of like the dream home.
But, actually, I'm open to all suggestions. Everything's possible.
Yeah, and there is potential, cos it's a big plot
and we can get the environmental stuff maybe, so...
OK, well, it's big question time for you guys. To buy or not to buy?
We wouldn't... It's a definite maybe.
We won't say, "Yes, we'd buy" because there's too many questions to be answered.
-So we need to be sure we can go out that way
-and the full dormers across, the foundations will hold it.
-And within the budget.
So there's a few questions we need to answer.
-So, Miss, you've got plenty of homework to do.
-I have, yes.
But I think, just before you two go off, I've got something to give to Simon.
HE LAUGHS Oh, look, I'm getting out of here! I'm on my bike.
-Good luck with everything, you guys.
-Thanks, Miss! Thanks, Miss! Bye!