Property series. It's an uphill struggle for Simon O'Brien and Jonny Benarr as they attempt to find the perfect pad for a rock climber in the Peak District.
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We go to extreme lengths on To Buy Or Not To Buy
to find our buyers their perfect home, and today's no exception.
Yes, we're hunting high and low as usual to find the perfect property.
Go on, Jonny, all the way to the top.
You could say we're scaling new heights.
-Why don't you get yourself up here, old fella?
-OK, I will.
-No, don't let go of the rope!
Today's buyer not only wants to get a foothold on the property ladder,
she also loves climbing mountains.
Which is why we're in northwest Sheffield
on the edge of the Peak District -
although this is a climbing wall, obviously.
She's looking for a place to practise her hobby on her doorstep -
on top of the porch, up the drainpipe and round the chimney stack.
So there's no point hanging around, we should probably crack on.
-Race you down.
Today's house buyer is Laura Coates, who works in exhibition management.
So she's an exhibitionist(?)
Er, no. She's currently renting in Sheffield city centre,
but wants to move out of town towards the Peak District National Park.
That's so she has an easy commute into work, but at weekends
can explore the park, hunting high and low.
And we really do mean high and low -
as Laura's hobbies are climbing and caving.
Both of which will be on her doorstep when she moves.
Helping Laura search is stepmum Karen.
And I get the feeling we could have a lot of ups and downs today.
This is the first episode for a long time
we've been looking for a house for two gorgeous sisters.
-Oh, you silver-tongued devil, you!
They're not sisters, we're joking. But you are very, very close friends, aren't you?
-Yes, we're very close friends.
-Laura and Karen - stepmum, stepdaughter.
-Also my stepmother, yes.
-You are primely positioned to assist Laura today on the house front.
Right then, let's start it off. Laura, what are we looking for?
Erm, I'd like a characterful property.
I'd like two or three bedrooms, ideally.
I desperately need some storage space.
This ties in with all your hobbies and things, you are very much the outdoors girl.
Yeah, I do a lot of climbing and caving.
It's the potholing...
Karen, you know everything about her. Do you understand anyone who wants to go down a small hole for fun?
No. Not at all.
You say character - is there any kind of period you prefer?
To be quite honest with you, as long as it's not a new build and...
I'd love, like, a little wood-burning stove,
-I like the old cellars...
-Of course you do, you love potholing!
She can't wait to get down some dark, dank place again.
That'd be handy for your all storage.
Exactly, that'd be perfect - a cellar or something.
OK. This is going well.
-So just not modern is all we want.
Any particular areas you've got an eye on?
Yeah, I like the Peak District side of Sheffield.
So you're looking at Oughtibridge further to the north,
down through Loxley, Worrall, that sort of area.
So basically you just want a back garden with just a rope,
leading off to a peak?
-That would be perfect.
-The back garden would be your playground.
It's not just because you're a fan of the show that you're here -
because of the work you do you've struggled to find what you're after.
Yeah, I spend a lot of the year overseas with work,
so if a property's come up I'm a bit stuck
when I'm at the other side of the world.
A bit tricky on the viewing. Anything else spring to mind?
Sheffield's quite a difficult place to park, so off-street parking would be great.
Erm... And somewhere to have people round for dinner as well.
When you're away for so long, when you do come back
-you want to spend your time with your friends.
I think Karen's got Christmas pencilled in as well, Christmas dinner, so...
It would be nice to have a Christmas off.
That's all you're here for - to make sure that next Christmas it's round to her place!
I like it, I like the thinking.
So how much money... Your maximum budget for this property purchase?
Maximum budget, 160.
That seems reasonable. I think we've all the information we need. Let's go while we're ahead.
OK, Simon, so we know exactly what our mountain climber wants.
Yeah, but I have to say, Jonny, on this budget, to find a characterful property in the
gorgeous area she's looking for, it's going to be an uphill struggle. There's no time to hang around.
That is an excellent pun-based sentence.
My one concern is...why do you always rope me into these things?
And I thought I was bad!
Today, we're in northwest Sheffield right on the edge of the Peak District National Park.
Established in 1951, it was Britain's first national park,
and its stunning beauty attracts up to 22 million day visitors a year.
People come here for the walking and cycling it offers, and like Laura, for the caving and climbing,
which is some of the best, not just in this country, but in the world.
Sheffield is England's fourth largest city,
and a third of it lies within the Peak District National Park itself.
No other UK city can boast having a national park within its boundary.
Today, we're house hunting in three villages in the suburbs - Loxley, Stannington and Oughtibridge,
all of which are within an easy Sunday stroll of the boundaries of the park.
So let's have a look at what Laura's budget could buy you near to the other national parks around the UK.
Within Loch Lomond National Park,
you could purchase this semidetached cottage in the village of Tarbet.
It has three bedrooms, a living room with a conservatory
and gardens to the front and rear.
It's on the market for...
This attractive three-bedroom cottage can found in Pontsticill,
on the borders of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
It has two reception rooms, and a lawned front garden
with superb views of the surrounding countryside.
It's on the market for offers in the region of...
Situated within Exmoor National Park is this two-bedroom converted stable.
It has an open-plan living room, kitchen area
and stunning views of Exmoor. It's on the market for...
And as a result of being within Exmoor National Park, this property
currently has planning consent for use as a holiday home only.
So, the question is, what are the implications of buying and living within a national park?
38,000 people live within the Peak District National Park -
and with scenery like this, who can blame them?
Planning policies designed to keep the beauty of the parks unharmed
means that buyers can purchase with confidence,
knowing it's highly unlikely their lovely views
will be disturbed by any unsightly developments.
But living within a national park does come at a premium,
with houses inside the boundaries costing significantly more than those outside -
indeed, 58% more than the average for England and Wales.
With second homes also popular in these areas,
especially with the rise of the staycation and the finite number of properties available,
house prices have really held their own, despite the downturn.
Which means that buying a new home is now out of reach
for many local people, particularly first-time buyers.
To ease this housing problem, the Peak District National Park Authority specified that
any permissions granted for the building of new homes
should ensure that not only are those properties affordable,
but generally for the exclusive purchase of the local people -
and they were the first national park authority to do so.
And many properties within national parks now have local occupancy
clauses attached to them, which means that only people living or working
within the park can buy them - as well as those lucky folk
with strong long-standing ties to the area.
Jonny, how have you got on in this gorgeous part of the world?
-I shall tell you...
-In fact, I will start.
I have scoured the district, and today I truly think I have peaked with my choice, Property 1.
It is everything the ladies wanted - just have a look at that.
A gorgeous, stone, characterful property -
and, also, if Laura goes for Property 1, I will save her an awful lot of effort.
-Why is that?
-Because she won't have to climb up a vertical cliff face
to enjoy the views, she'll just have to open the curtains.
Because the views from Property 1 are beautiful.
-That's property one. Beat that.
-That sounds amazing.
The bar's been set pretty high, but Property 2
is also fairly fantastic, I think.
In the gorgeous village of Stannington
this is a lovely traditional end-of-terrace stone cottage,
but inside is this great fusion of
contemporary features and character elements,
and the Rivelin Valley is what you can see from this property.
OK, Jonny, the wildcard - now, what can we tell them about the wildcard?
The wildcard is following the traditional route of not being quite what the buyers asked for.
Yeah, they did say they preferred an older property -
it is a modern property, but I quote from the estate agents,
"This lovely home retains certain charm and character,
"having gas central heating and uPVC double glazing."
But don't let that fool you! It's gorgeous, take a look at it.
That is charm written all over it. That's the wildcard.
From one property with charm and character to another.
Property 1, my choice.
My Property 1 is in the village of Loxley.
It's a traditional terraced cottage with, did I mention, loads of charm and character.
It has its own outside space, and beautiful countryside views.
OK, ladies, Property 1 today is my choice.
I've brought you to the lovely village of Loxley. Do we know the area?
I do, I know it well.
-Is that a good thing?
-It's very good, yes.
I'm glad you said that, cos I think it's a good thing.
OK, we're still in commutable distance of the city,
but the countryside is just around the corner as well.
-That's where you wanted to be, more or less, isn't it?
-Yes, spot on.
Good - location, Jonny, I'm doing all right. Now, let's talk house.
Here she is. This gorgeous stone cottage.
First impressions, please?
Looks like there's a lot of character inside. Older property...
-Is this the kind of thing you had in mind when we were talking properties earlier?
-Is this the thing Laura likes?
-Yes, it looks very good.
-I can hear a "but".
-Well, it's on a busy road.
-Is that what this is(?)
I told you she wouldn't like it.
And I'm hoping there's a bit more outside space round the back, maybe.
Because you haven't got that off-road parking out here.
What a mistake to make!
Oh, thanks for your backup(!) Go on, in you go!
I like the floor.
It's nice, isn't it? The fireplace is quite nice too.
It's quite homely, it's erm... it's lived in.
I just think the room size is a little small.
Especially when you're coming straight in from the roadside.
-You can hear the road.
-Quite loud, isn't it?
Oh dear, oh dear. The sound of traffic is seeping through those double-glazed windows.
-This is small, isn't it?
This is very small, actually, yeah.
I'm assuming this is where... The dining table's tucked underneath -
you can bring that out whenever you need to sit down and eat.
You've got a small utility room.
It's nice, it's cute. I'm just worried that it's not big enough.
I mean, how much space in a gorgeous Victorian cottage does a girl need?
Quite nice, these stairs as well.
Yeah. They're actually quite steep -
I suppose that's because there's such high ceilings downstairs.
-You climb for a hobby.
How can you be worried about steep stairs?
Well, the bathroom's quite a good size actually.
That's a huge bath. You could do a few laps of that, couldn't you?
Oh, this looks quite nice. It's quite cute.
Now, that space IS cute - but you know what,
in a house this size...
-It's a little wasted.
I assume this is a bedroom.
-Got an original fireplace.
-Yeah, that's cute, isn't it?
I don't think you'd get a double bed in here.
No, I think you'd be struggling, wouldn't you?
That's probably why they've got the futon in here.
I tell you what, nothing but positive vibes flowing with this property, eh(?)
You were so confident, weren't you?
You were sat there, waxing lyrical about how your house was going to win...
OK. So this er... must be the main bedroom.
Another feature fireplace, which is good.
-It's a bit claustrophobic, do you not find?
-I don't know,
it's got two windows on either side of the room - makes it bright.
Probably cos I'm tall.
You've got a good view across the valley.
Yeah, the views are quite good. It's the location you're looking for
but obviously it's just the room sizes, I think, that you might struggle with.
Before we talk about your reaction to the inside of the house - what about this garden?
Yeah, I do like the garden actually. There's a nice patio, barbecue area at the top there.
If only you could find this kind of space inside...
Stop it, you!
OK. Let's talk about that for a moment.
Two double bedrooms. I know you said...
Don't you wrinkle your nose at me, young lady!
I've just got a lot of stuff, I just can't see it all fitting in there.
-Well, that's fair enough.
Will the price convince you any further? I am not sure.
Maximum budget, 160,000 today.
Karen, you can go first. What do you reckon for this place?
Well...happily I've done SOMETHING right,
because it's actually on the market for £130,000, offers around.
Wow, OK. I didn't expect that.
That's got you smiling, hasn't it?
-I mean, £30,000 under's a huge chunk.
It's just the noise factor as well on the roadside.
Let's go and have a look at Property 2.
Follow him. Off you go.
We're in Stannington for my choice, Property 2. Again, a traditional stone-built house,
but I think this one is not only deceptively spacious,
but also has a very stylish interior.
OK - Laura, Karen, here we are at my choice, Property 2.
Now, before I begin, there is a saying that goes, people that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
With that, I apologise to Simon for mocking his Property 1 for being right next to a main road.
Oh, right. Like this place, which is right next to...
It's the Stannington Road - because we are in the lovely village of Stannington.
-Is this an area you're familiar with?
-I don't know it very well, but I have a few friends round here.
It looks good from the outside, a better size than house number 1.
-Karen, what about you?
-Same again really,
but just looking at the off-street parking and the busy main road. Till we go inside, we can't really...
-Hurts, doesn't it?! Doesn't it hurt?
In you go, quick, quick, before anyone else turns up to view it.
Coming in the back door...
Seems strange, though, rather than the front.
-This is a nice kitchen.
-This is nice.
This is really nice, actually.
-I love that cooker.
-Yeah, I do too.
That is a lovely feature.
That and the gorgeous chimney breast with exposed brickwork. Superb.
It's quite bright as well. And you can see the light coming through those windows.
You could have one of those extendable tables and then shut it down.
You could probably just about get six round there.
Yeah, that's going to be adequate for her entertaining requirements.
I assume. I've got no idea how many friends she's got.
Oh, OK. You've got a fridge here...
Oh... It's going down, I didn't realise that.
You've got plenty of storage down here.
You've got quite a big space down here, Laura. You could keep all your...
Oh, this is a decent size, isn't it?
Yeah, get some racks up, get my ropes out, It's a great space.
It is the ideal storage area for you. Not only is there plenty of space
that's the same dimensions as the lounge, it's also dry.
That's why you can't get in the front door, actually.
Yeah, there's not a lot of seating space.
Nice fireplace, though. And quite neutral, isn't it?
-Just a shame it's not a little bit bigger, isn't it?
I think possibly you could work this space,
-Rearrange it round.
You could actually rearrange the room so you get in the front door, for example.
Yeah, but would you want to?
Let's have a look...
It's quite spacious up here, it's not narrow.
No, it looks good to me.
This looks like it's a double.
This is a good size bedroom, isn't it?
There's not much to do in it, really,
There you go. That room is perfect. There's nothing more to be said.
This is the... Looks like the bathroom, obviously.
It's quite narrow, but... it's nice, it's nicely decorated.
I like this blue, it matches the erm...the kitchen units downstairs.
It's well co-ordinated, cos look at the back of the door there,
-that's nicely finished off.
-Yeah. It's very nicely decorated.
Oh, this must be the second bedroom.
You could get a single bed in here, or...
Yeah, you could probably. Or you could use it as a study.
Maybe a bit of office space or something, yeah.
Unless of course you're planning on starting a family - in which case, Laura, that nursery is ideal.
-Oh, OK, this is...
-It's nice, isn't it?
-This is a decent size, isn't it?
And you've got good headroom, it's...
like an attic bedroom.
The traffic don't sound too bad up here.
No, it's quite well insulated, actually.
-You can see all the way up Rivelin Valley, it's a good view.
And again, you won't have to do any decoration cos it's more or less...
-I really like it.
Well, that finished on a high.
Well, it would. They're in the attic.
No, I meant because...
Now, unless my ears deceive me, that was quite an improvement on Property 1.
-What did you like?
The room sizes were bigger.
Three bedrooms, the cellar space, which is great for the storage -
and just the fact it's just done so perfectly, I wouldn't need to change it.
I think it's a well-presented house.
Obviously it's a busy road again, and there's the size of the lounge...
Other than that, it's really nice.
Guess the price tag. 1-0 to Laura at the moment. Come on, Karen,
this is your chance to shine. Your budget, £160,000.
Who's going to go first this time...? Laura.
I think it's probably towards the top end of my budget,
so I'm going to say...155?
-I think around about 149,500.
OK. Right, well...
you win. It's 1-1, you're back in it. But we can come down considerably -
this place is actually on the market for 129,950.
-What do you think of that?
Very surprised. Yeah.
-That's phenomenal, isn't it?
To get three bedrooms and that finish, I think that's brilliant.
So - we've now shown you two properties. Lots of character, and both way under budget.
-We are saving you money.
-Loads of money.
Perhaps we can change that now. The wildcard is this way! Come on.
He's ever so excited!
Today's wildcard is in Oughtibridge,
just a stone's throw from the National Park.
We've gone for a cottage with bundles of charm and character, but this one is modern.
It's spotless inside, and we think Laura will love the space it offers.
OK, ladies, the wildcard.
Now, why is it the wildcard?
Well, you specifically said, Laura, you wanted an old property, a period property, a characterful property.
Have a modern property.
What do you think of the outside?
It's cottagey-looking, so... yeah, nice.
They've done it in this nice traditional stone. It's mews-style...
-Karen, what do you think?
-First impression, I like the area.
It's more rural than the other ones, so...
Yes, cos we are in an area you specifically mentioned earlier -
-How did that go?! Thank you very much.
Which is brilliant, we hope, for you, cos the Peak District is just over the hill.
So the question is, with your heart set
on an old property, what will you think of it in there?
-Only one way to find out, isn't there?
Get in there and enjoy, ladies - we'll be listening in.
Oh, this is nice, isn't it?
It's a good size hallway, isn't it?
Oh, I like these features with the beams and that.
I wasn't expecting that actually, no.
It's a huge room. It's open, it's nice.
And you've got the light coming through, which is good, isn't it?
Well, reaction to the first room incredibly positive -
she's forgotten about the fact that this house was only built recently.
Some storage under the stairs.
I wonder how big it is...? Let's have a look.
Oh, it's a downstairs loo.
-That's excellent, isn't it?
-It is, yeah. An extra bonus.
Ooh, I like this.
This is lovely.
And it's quite spacious as well.
It's so deceptive from the outside, it looks smaller than it is.
The rooms are a really nice size.
It's an excellent kitchen full of integrated appliances, including a fridge freezer and a dishwasher.
I love it.
Bathroom. It's quite small, but it's..
got a shower over the bath there. And it's finished nicely as well.
Whereas the bathroom at my choice was compact,
this one's got that bit more space, it's a bit roomier.
-Not as big as Property 1.
-No. Well, you could swim in that one.
Oh, this is a good size.
-Oh, it's lovely, yeah.
-And the view from the garden's nice.
It's neutral as well, so you could put anything in here, couldn't you?
-The second bedroom.
You could use it as a study or something like that.
There's good storage for my kit, my climbing and caving kit.
OK. While we're talking mountain climbing, let's test your knowledge.
Where are the Andes?
-No - on the end of the wristies!
I thought the other one was the master bedroom, maybe it's this one.
-It's lovely, isn't it?
-I do like this, the decor is beautiful.
Ooh, there's lots of space in there.
I like how these doors feature throughout the property as well.
I can't believe it. I just... There's three bedrooms.
Lovely kitchen. South-facing garden.
So! That was a bit of a surprise, wasn't it?
-Very much a surprise, yes.
-Karen, what were you thinking?
Yeah, I think it's very good.
It's got loads of original features inside,
and the space inside's very good.
It really does have that cottagey vibe inside.
We certainly got the impression that you could see yourself living here.
Absolutely. I was picturing where I could possibly put my furniture.
-That's a good sign.
-This is good.
Right. Our final guess the price. Budget, £160,000...
1-1, ladies - who's going first this time...? Karen.
I personally think it's going to be over my budget,
what with the parking - and it's beautifully presented.
I'll go for a bit more, say 160?
Well, you are the closest. You do win. Congratulations...
But alas, it is over budget - but not by too much.
It's on for £165,000,
which is well within sort of negotiation of what your budget is.
So we've been a little cheeky going over budget -
-what do you feel about that?
-Well, I'm in a good position, I'm ready to go, so er...
maybe that'll be favourable.
I think it will be very favourable indeed.
But you don't have to make a decision about any of the three properties just yet.
Take yourselves off, put your heads together, and we'll see you in a while.
See you in a bit.
It's not going to be Property 1, that's for...
-Stop it, you.
-It's a fact.
-It could be.
While they're off making that difficult decision...
..here's a reminder of all three properties for you at home.
Will she choose my Property, No.1 -
the traditional terraced cottage in Loxley?
It has bundles of character,
but is it a bit on the small side for all that climbing gear?
On the market for...
Or, will Laura choose to try out mine, Property 2?
The larger-than-expected end terrace in Stannington,
with the cellars to store her climbing and caving kit.
She loved the decor. Who wouldn't? But will the main road put her off?
It could be hers for...
Or will she go for today's wildcard,
right near where she wanted to be in Oughtibridge?
It might have been modern, but it had loads of charming character.
Will its location and spotless interior tempt Laura?
It's the wildcard!
I'm really glad we chose this property. I think it'll turn out well.
It's really nice.
What she's doing?
She's certainly come fully equipped to get into all those nooks and crannies.
Yes, Laura just can't keep away from dark corners.
Hey, Laura, what are you doing? There's a switch here.
With this property she can practise both her hobbies any time.
She's a lean, mean, climbing machine, that one.
I don't think we could have found a house more appropriate for her.
Lo and behold, the wildcard has won out once again.
So, what it was it about this place,
what was it that grabbed you with this property?
Well, it's a beautiful house.
The decoration's fantastic. the living room's great,
I've never seen such a big living room.
Was it also the garden we had landscaped for you as a rock climber?
The garden's brilliant, and it's a right suntrap as you can see.
It is a suntrap, and it is
right on the edge of those mountains that you love so much.
-I think Laura's enjoyed being at the house, and we really like it.
Right then, I'm fairly optimistic...
as I ask this question, to buy or not to buy?
Well, I think there's a few negotiations to be had, but to buy.
-Karen, you must be chuffed too.
-Most definitely, yes.
It's great you've connected with the property,
and everybody on the To Buy team is thrilled with the results.
-And now I'm afraid everyone on the To Buy team must move on, Jonny.
Ladies, it's been an absolute pleasure.
-Good luck for the future, and happy climbing.
-Thank you. Bye-bye.
-So, for the O'Brien-Benarr combination, another successful To Buy.
-Yes, thank you for that.
Metaphorically speaking - ain't no mountain high enough that Simon and I cannot overcome.
So if you'd like us to help you achieve
the pinnacle of property perfection, then do get in touch with the show.
OK, Jonny - take a peak.
After we finished filming, Laura put in an offer on the wildcard,
and we're happy to tell you it was accepted. We wish her all the best.
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