Property series. Intrepid property hunters Simon O'Brien and Jonnie Irwin brave the jungle of the property market as they head to South Wales.
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As our intrepid property hunters stalk their prey
through the bricks and mortar jungle,
we wait, ready to pounce.
What are you doing?
Just bringing a jungle vibe to today's To Buy Or Not To Buy.
This, my friend, is Swansea, not the Serengeti.
OK. Swansea. So we're not crocodile hunters?
No, we're not! But we can hunt for houses like a lion after a gazelle.
So, if it's home-seeking you're after,
you've come to the right place.
So you're back with us now, are you?
Back in a rainforest within a pyramid in South Wales.
I am, Jonnie, like a nervous magician,
waiting in the wings to bestow my property guru-ness on today's show.
I'm not sure about that. But you have to admire his gusto, folks.
And welcome to another property hunt through the jungle which is the housing market.
Simon and I will be swinging from the housing vines
and going in search of those precious property gems.
If we can avoid the usual pitfalls and snakes of the treacherous market,
we may help today's brave buyers take another foot on the property ladder.
Before they do that, they get the chance to sample one of our three property gems
and step out onto the plain as we give them the unique opportunity to try before they buy.
WILD ANIMAL CALL
What is that?
Sorry - I've not paid for this.
Leg it, Simon! Come on!
Braving today's property hunting safari
are Jean and Ray Simms who are both happily retired
and living in Ray's home town of Castleford, West Yorkshire.
Ray relishes his free time and loves to craft his culinary skills
and tend to his garden,
whilst Jean regularly flexes her artistic flair
creating elaborate cake decorations.
Let's hope they can have their cake and eat it
as they want to take their trusty caravan on a pilgrimage
back to Jean's motherland of South Wales to find their new home.
So, Ray, your beloved wife, Jean,
is dragging you away from Yorkshire.
But you're still smiling! What's going on?
Well, you've got to smile!
Life's too short not to smile!
-Jean, a move closer to home?
-I used to live just four miles up the road in Mumbles.
-Oh, very nice!
I think Catherine Zeta's got a place there, hasn't she?
-Yes, she has, yes.
-You look younger than Michael Douglas!
You sweet-talker, you!
So are we looking, then, in Swansea?
-OK. So give us a clue.
-And what are we looking for?
-A house with a big kitchen.
A nice garden we can potter about in.
What would you say would be the most important room in the house?
-I would say the kitchen.
-Who's the big cook here?
-We both cook, yes.
-I'm the best!
-Ooh! We'll see!
-He's the savoury and I'm the sweet!
You've both got quite a bit of family.
-Daughters and sons between you, how many?
-I have three.
-Crikey. Are we looking for a lot of bedrooms for them to visit?
-Three to four.
-So you like them all along, but not all at once!
Plus we have the caravan for additional accommodation if we get overrun.
-But that means do we need somewhere to store the caravan?
Hopefully a drive big enough to put the caravan on.
-We're not looking for a terraced house, then.
-Semi-detached? Detached? What's your preference?
We prefer detached, but wouldn't say no to a semi.
What about style of house? Age.
-Again, I don't particularly like new builds.
Then again, I wouldn't like something too cottagey or too old.
This isn't a small house we're after, is it?
Semi-detached or detached. Three to four bedrooms.
Big kitchen. Space for the caravan and garden to include a vegetable patch.
-But how much money have you got?
-A maximum of 250.
-OK. It's not a bad budget.
-No. I think we have all the information we need. Let's head for the hills.
-See you later.
-See you later!
Right, Jonnie. Lovely couple. Decent budget. This should be a good day.
They do want a lot for their money.
The big thing for us today is pronouncing the names of the towns!
-You are right!
I'm going to find an expert. I think an estate agent might help.
OK. It's a nice day. I'll go and find out what I can about this lovely city.
Swansea. Wales' second largest city
settled on its own five-mile sweep of bay with as many named beaches as there are weeks in the year.
Mumbles Lighthouse serves as a gateway to the Gower Peninsula
which is blessed with countless miles of unspoilt coastal panoramas,
golden beaches and lush rolling countryside.
Just a short hike from Swansea Bay is the Vale of Neath.
This is waterfall country which stretches across the wooded valleys
from Neath to the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Visitors have been drawn here for centuries to marvel at cascading beauties like these,
the striking Melincourt Falls.
But away from this Welsh wonderland what could Jean and Ray's 250k buy
in other coastal havens around the UK?
In sunny Skegness, this spacious four-bed detached home
has more than enough space for their caravan.
Inside is a whopping 21-foot lounge and a conservatory that should entice anyone.
In Truro, Cornwall, this well-proportioned three-bed semi
has extensive ground floor living space packed with original features.
Right on budget and on the market for...
Finally, in Hurstpierpoint near Brighton,
a four-bed semi-detached peach like this
with a kitchen/breakfast room, lounge and diner
will set you back a lovely...
Emma, thanks for seeing me today.
I'm keen to find out exactly how the property market is behaving in South Wales.
Jonnie, to be honest, we're seeing great improvements in the market at the moment.
It has been a difficult time, but things are certainly picking up.
"Do not go gentle into that good night."
Good advice for any house-hunter, penned by the legendary poet Dylan Thomas
born here in Swansea in 1914.
To celebrate the great man, Swansea is home to the Dylan Thomas centre
which houses a permanent exhibition of his life and works.
There's also Dylan Thomas Square, with a theatre named after the scribe
and this inspirational statue.
It's not just locally that he's celebrated.
So important was this poet's work
that there is also a plaque bearing his name in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey.
We are currently seeing high levels of stock coming in.
A lot of properties coming onto the market.
In 1804, the Swansea to Mumbles railway was built
to carry limestone from the quarries of the Mumbles to Swansea and the world beyond.
It carried the world's first paying rail passengers
on the day the British parliament abolished the transportation of slaves from Africa.
Over the next 156 years, it trundled along, using first horse power,
then steam locomotion and finally trams
before grinding to a halt in 1960.
But it still holds the world record...
..for the longest serving railway.
You do get a lot more for your money centring around Ammanford,
Ystradgynlais area and just a bit further west into Carmarthenshire.
-They sound like the areas for us. Can we see some details?
Why do I always find you in the strangest of places?
There are two reasons I brought you here.
-One, because it's beautiful.
And two, when you're looking for properties, you have to take a step back
because you can't see the wood for the trees.
Do you know what I've been surprised about? The budget, 250 grand,
I can't believe what you can get for your money!
Just look at Property One today, my choice.
It is beautiful. It's detached, it's in immaculate condition
and the location is one of the nicest locations I've ever seen.
-What did they say they didn't want?
Well, if they like yours, they'll like mine, cos I've got a new build as well!
-Sometimes you have to go with your instincts.
-My instinct says I ignored everything they want.
-But it's got an acre of land. That's my offering.
The Wild Card. We'll keep it our little secret, but I think they will be singing its praise.
-That's the Wild Card. Shall we start the tours?
-Let's go for yours.
-If they like that, they might like mine!
My choice, Property One, is an immaculate four-bed detached family home
in picturesque Ammanford.
It's blessed with stunning views, a snug conservatory and a colossal kitchen,
not to mention ample outside space to park their beloved caravan.
OK, you lovely couple, Property One is my choice,
in the lovely village of Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen.
-There you go!
-There you go!
But I do have to say at this point
-you did say specifically you didn't want to see any new builds.
I took that on board and ignored it. What do you think?
First impressions, wow!
Oh, you're let off there, mate!
We do try and take on board your wants.
But sometimes when you find a property that is just this good,
you have to ignore it.
It is new, but very rarely will you find a place
-where the views from every room are as good as they are from this place.
-When you're inside,
-what should we listen out for if you like it? What word?
-Yeah. Very good.
-Very good in Welsh.
-Or else I'll be speechless!
-Right. The outside, I think, went "da iawn".
-That's very da iawn.
-Great. Let's hope the inside is too. Get in there and enjoy it.
Oh, this is lovely! It's a nice size hall.
Oh, this is lovely!
Look at the views there! That's something we didn't ask for!
That's an extra tick in the box.
See? I've invented a box to tick!
It feels like home and this is the first house.
Ladies and gentlemen, you tuned in expecting to see your favourite, To Buy Or Not To Buy.
Sounds like it'll be finished in five minutes!
Look at this!
-This is beautiful!
This potentially could be one of the best house tours I've listened to!
Unfortunately, it's not a house that I chose!
To use your words, Jean, this is to die for.
It is gorgeous.
I love this family sitting area.
Wow! A conservatory!
Oh! Sorry, that "wow!" was so loud,
and so excitable, I need to take the headphones off.
Turn down your TV sets, cos there's high-pitched wows coming your way!
-Look at that view, Jean!
-Yes. We could spend our days in here. What more could you ask for?
Very rarely will you find a conservatory with views like that.
Right across to the Brecon Beacons. Beautiful.
-Oh, that's a lovely bedroom.
-Again, beautiful views.
Wake up on a morning to those views, Jean, eh?
Yeah, it's lovely.
-Have a look at another bedroom.
-It's a massive bathroom!
That is beautiful. You could have a dance in here.
Oh, wow! This is the master bedroom.
Look at this!
And an en-suite, Ray!
She loves this place. A pleasure to watch.
You wouldn't want to get up! You'd want to sit in bed and look at that.
-This is another good size.
-Isn't it just?
-I feel at home here.
-It's one of those houses that...
-Feels like it's wrapped its arms around you.
Ray and Jean, how did that go? I've got no idea, really. Did you like it?
I think you could say that! It's absolutely beautiful, isn't it?
-We both love it, don't we?
Behind us is a beautiful view to the Brecon Beacons.
What they've cleverly done is kept this piece of garden here
-so that view will never be obscured.
There's that cleverness of thought and real love for this house that the current owners have.
-Listen. You love it.
But can you afford to buy it?
The question is, how much is this wonderful house on the market for? Who's going first?
-I think ladies first!
-That's not that much of a gesture, is it, Ray?
Well, I really think it's over our budget.
I think it's on for...269.
269 from Jean. How about Ray?
I would say slightly more, actually.
I'd go for...270.
When you say "slightly more", you mean, "ever so slightly more"!
-A grand is a grand, eh?
-Absolutely. I see what you've done there.
It is over your budget. If you gave me £260,000, I would give you five pounds change.
-What do you think of that?
-Who do I make the cheque out to?
-Not just yet! Not just yet!
-We may as well!
-We've got a programme to make!
Simon and the property hunting team have raised the bar to Herculean heights.
But Property Two is 20 minutes' drive away.
Let's get the car and go there.
Built six years ago by the current owner, my choice is a gorgeous three-bed detached home
on the outskirts of the Brecon Beacons.
It has astonishing vistas and over an acre of scenic grounds.
Need I say more?
So the theme today seems to be,
if you said you don't want something, give it to them!
-This is something you said you don't want - a modern house.
-This is even newer than Simon's. It's only six years old.
So, what do you think of her?
-I like the brick.
-I like the brick, too.
-I like the brick! Ray?
-I like the brick, too!
We're all brick lovers today! What about the style of the property?
It's unusual. I suppose the bedroom windows get the best of the view.
That view, going right over that way, is the Brecon Beacons.
-So a similar position to Simon's house,
-but a very different offering.
It looks like a good-sized garden.
-It's got a whole acre!
-Good God! We can't afford it, then!
You're not cooing like you did at Simon's.
I'm quiet. I won't cause trouble!
Well, we may coo afterwards.
All right! Coo inside, if you can! Go inside and let us know what you think.
Wow, this is big!
And it's a kitchen/diner.
-This is a lovely size, this is.
-Yes, a nice-sized kitchen.
They don't sound as upbeat as they did in your house.
-They should be more upbeat because it is beautifully finished.
-I think so.
This is nice.
-The disadavantage - the stairs are in the room.
-I like the floor.
-I like the floor. That's wood.
That's not laminate, that's wood.
-That's not just wood there, that is Swedish oak.
Oh, that's a lovely bathroom! A slipper bath.
-That is lovely.
-Don't worry, Jean. There is a shower.
Oh, there is!
Look at that!
Oh, yeah. Hidden away.
-That's a nice shower.
-Like a power shower.
Yeah, that is nice.
-Ooh, that's nice.
-This must be the master bedroom, this.
-There's beautiful views again.
-Oh, that is nice.
And you can see it from bed.
Oh, that is nice.
-I like that feature window. That's quite unusual.
-This is not your bog standard new build. It's interesting.
-Every room is different.
And you have the view out over the mountains.
Again, a nice view.
-The floor is superb.
-It's beautiful. Lovely.
Ray and Jean, it sounded like you liked it. Did you?
Uh, yeah, it was quite a nice house.
But I think it lacked a bit of something.
I'm going to come to Jonnie's defence. Because this is a beautiful house.
-It's real quality.
I don't think it's quite got the wow factor that the other house had.
-Money can change everything!
OK, right, then. It's one-nil at the moment to Jean.
-Your budget, £250,000.
-How much for this house
which is admittedly a bit smaller than the other one...
-..but with an enormous amount of land.
I'm going to say 248.
I think it is...
245? Well, look.
It's on for 269,995.
It's probably because of the land. The land is valuable.
You're one-all. You've pulled it back. Now everybody's favourite bit.
Can the Wild Card compare with Simon's first offering?
-Shall we find out?
Today's ecclesiastical Wild Card is a former Baptist chapel
built in the early 1900s of stone hewn from its actual location.
Beautifully converted in the 1990s,
the chapel now boasts three great-sized bedrooms.
I'm absolutely positive that Ray and Jean will worship this heavenly abode.
Right, Ray and Jean. Today's Wild Card, in the lovely village of Abercrave.
-Is that right, Jean?
-I'm doing all right!
-Said like a Welshman!
why is it the Wild Card?
-With the other two, we just didn't listen to what you wanted.
We have with the Wild Card, which makes it wild today!
It is this lovely converted chapel. First impressions, please?
-It's certainly very different.
It look very, very interesting. It'll be nice to see inside.
A traditional Welsh building.
We've passed it and often said we'd love to look at it, but never done it.
What about that road, then? NOISY TRAFFIC
See what it's like inside.
Shall we see what you think?
-In you go!
Let's look inside, Jean.
-That's the whole idea.
Oh, this is nice.
The lounge. Stripped floorboards, Ray.
-Oh, yeah. I wonder if they're the originals?
-I don't know.
-I like these double doors.
I like this. Look, Ray.
-This is nice.
-Yes, this is... Yeah.
With this being a converted chapel, they've taken advantage of it once being all one space.
The ground floor flows beautifully.
You could be cooking here, Ray, and I could be sitting there.
-This is nice.
Considering I don't like beams, these are nice.
It's quite a nice... Nice, light landing, actually.
-Nice windows here.
You'd be lying in bed looking at somebody coming up the drive.
I'd be able to see through them without bending!
There's an en-suite.
This is quite large, Ray.
Not one lovely. Come on, it's lovely!
It's brewing. The "lovely" kettle is on!
-Oh, now, this is nice.
-And this has an en-suite as well.
-Oh, I see.
It's an unusual shape room. I do actually quite like it.
-More character than a square room.
-Which is the master?
-See, which is the master?
-This is nice. A little girl's room.
And another en-suite!
Three bedrooms, three en-suites.
It's quite surprising, actually.
It's surprised me.
From outside you wouldn't think it had this number... Especially en-suites.
-It's far bigger than I thought it would be.
We were out in the garden, listening for the word "lovely".
We didn't hear it. But there were lots of "very nices".
-So how did it go?
-It's what you asked for. This is the funny thing.
-I know, but Simon, you changed our minds!
Something that might sway you, though, or may not, is the price.
Who's going first? It's one-apiece.
I'll be the gentleman and I'll go first.
Makes a change, doesn't it?
I think this might be a bit under budget.
I'm going to say 245.
OK. 245, Ray.
I'm going to say 239.
Jean, you win.
-Well done, Jean.
Got some very pleasant news for you.
It was on the market at £230,000.
But to force a sale, it's been dropped to 215.
-What do you think?
Not a lot, by the sounds of it!
-It's lovely, though, a fantastic house.
-It certainly is.
-It's been tastefully and cleverly converted.
Now you've got the opportunity to go and think about the biggest decision of your life.
-See you in a minute.
-I wonder which one it will be?
Whilst they make this monumental decision - I wonder which one? -
here's a reminder of the ups and downs of today's Welsh valley house-hunt.
What can I say?
Jean and Ray simply fell in love with my property. The style, decor, size and the views
left them breathless with praise.
I can't help but think if we'd shown them my property first,
they'd have adored the unique bedrooms and acre of land.
As for the Wild Card, it's not often you find such a beautifully converted historical building
with two amazing floors of character and charm, and well under budget.
But which will receive Ray and Jean's highest praise
and their test drive honour?
It was never in doubt.
Your property was plush, Jonnie, and the Wild Card was lavish,
but my gem rules supreme.
Touche, Simon. And with no further ado,
our buyers should meet the present owners.
Allow me to do the introductions.
Ray, Jean - Jean, Harry.
We don't want really to sell the house because we love it ourselves.
But we're downsizing.
So with the introductions out of the way,
Ray and Jean check out the lush outside ground
and measure up for their treasured caravan.
It's time for the family to cast their opinion.
Whilst Ray takes them on a guided tour...
..Jean goes all Delia with one of her cracking creations.
Who's for cake?
-Come on, then!
There's plenty of icing on the cake.
I love it!
Will this property be the cherry on the top?
Someone here seems pretty pleased with themselves.
-Have you had a good time?
-We certainly have.
A time I'll remember all my life. Yeah, it's been...
The house is so warm, it wraps its arms around you and gives you what we Welsh call a cutch.
-A cutch! Ah!
-Don't you know?
What do the family think? That's what this move is all about.
The family love it. They're upstairs now picking bedrooms for when they come and visit!
The whole of today has always been comparing everything about this house.
So let's ask the big question. The ultimate question.
To buy or not to buy?
Well, my wife's fallen in love with it and so have I. So I think it's "to buy".
You are really keen on this place.
I've rarely witnessed people falling in love so much with a house.
Head over heels with this place.
They have a saying in my family. They tease me. I always say something is "to die for".
This house is to die for.
-To die for to buy for!
-There's a new show there!
On that note, we'll leave you to bask in the loveliness of this property.
Say it once more, Jean. "It's lovely."
-You two have been lovely too.
-Good luck in your new home, and keep in touch.
Thank you both very much. Bye!
Another resounding victory for the property hunting team,
myself, and even you played your small part, Jonnie.
That's very kind of you, Simon.
If you're sat at home and need a hand with a property gamble,
roll a dice, take a chance and get in touch with us.
-See you then.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd