Property series. Ed Hall and Rani Price meet a pair of house hunters looking for that elusive ideal property in Sittingbourne. Can they produce the goods?
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Help, help, help. Help, help, help.
What's going on?
One of today's house hunters is a retired train driver.
And this is how we find out?!
Ed, thank you so much for saving my life.
I think you'll find it'll be worth it.
That's all right, Rani. You'll be thanking me more for that
and for finding today's house hunters the property of their dreams in Kent.
Seriously, we're still going to help them find a home
after what he did to me?
Yes, he tied you to a train track, Rani,
but we're in the housing game, OK?
Don't let a small thing like a man tying you to a train track
hold you back from doing what you do best, OK? We should still do it.
Ed, he tied me to a train track.
Oh, choo, choo(!)
Go on, of course I'll help Derek and Kathy.
It's not like he really tied me to a train track.
-Who would help him find a house then?
-It's a very good point.
I could have helped but it's not much fun doing it alone.
Having driven trains for over 30 years,
Derek's decided to put on the brakes and let off steam.
Derek and Kathy are keen to downsize and put some cash in reserve.
But this is a bit of a balancing act. They need a place smaller than their current four-bed home...
But big enough to stop them going off the rails.
Please tell me that's the last train reference.
I hope so. I really hope so.
Welcome to the show. Derek, former train driver, I'm assuming your train was exactly like this.
-I'm afraid not, no.
-This is like a busman's holiday for you.
It is, it is 45 years on the railway and I come to this.
You worked on the trains for years, but we've put that behind us now
and that's why we're looking for a new house and a whole new start for you guys.
Our boys have all grown up, we want to downsize, so that's what we're looking for now.
-OK, downsizing. How many bedrooms do you have at the moment?
-And we're looking to lose...?
-That's not much of a downsize, is it, really? Come on!
It's an easy thing to say, "downsize".
We've tackled many a downsize and you have hit the classic thing
of not really wanting to downsize much.
What are the things you can't do without, from having a four-bedroomed house?
And don't say four bedrooms!
-We've looked at flats with big balconies which we don't mind,
but we really would like a garden.
Realistically, if you are going to downsize you will have to lose space in your lovely home now.
When Kath says she'd like three bedrooms, I mean, two good-size bedrooms...
I want somewhere to put my exercise bike and the computer.
So a boxroom would be ideal.
What else could we lose from our home?
-We could easily lose a dining area, if we had room in the kitchen.
All right. So styles of property, you are prepared to look at apartments?
Would you look at houses? Are you still into the idea of houses? Do you want bungalows?
I don't really want a bungalow.
Don't want a bungalow.
OK, you don't have to have a bungalow!
-You want two floors. You want it to feel like a house, still.
-That wouldn't bother me.
-You're the easy one.
I know. Very easy.
Derek, he's our man.
What about areas? You're in Sittingbourne.
Would you like to stay within Sittingbourne or would you like to move further afield?
-Within...20 minutes of Sittingbourne.
-20 minutes, half an hour.
-So if we're needed to baby-sit we could get back to help out...
-You have grandkids here?
Are there places you've had a look at and fancy the idea of living in?
What names have you got?
Iwade, a nice village, which is expanding.
How much money have we got?
170. Would you go any higher, or are we saying 170?
-I've got you up £10,000!
-It didn't take much!
-We'd prefer 170.
170 is comfortable.
You could look at 180, maybe haggle back. That's the plan.
Well, that's not bad, is it?
OK, £180,000. Two-and-a-half bedrooms and a bit of outdoor space.
It's achievable. Shall we fire this up and head off on the house hunt?
-I'll go and do it.
-Go on then, Derek. Get down there!
We're going to get Derek to do this.
He has never driven one of these before,
it might take a couple of minutes. We'll see you in a bit.
Ed, they're downsizing, they want to keep some money in the bank.
£170,000 would have been enough, why would you push them to 180?
Because we're very near to London. Very near to London, right?
£180,000, I think, is reasonable.
Probably not even enough for a three-bedroom house, what they want.
A downsize with 170, might be too much of a downsize.
Rani, I'm concerned.
You know what? I think I should learn more about this area.
OK, well I'm going to talk to an estate agent about £180,000.
Steeped in history, Sittingbourne started out as a Roman settlement
and later became an ideal place for those on the Canterbury pilgrimages to stop off for a pint.
Even Henry V downed a jar or two in the Red Lion after Agincourt.
But in more modern times the town became famous for its massive paper mill that dominates the skyline.
Once the biggest producer of newsprint in the world, it sadly printed its last reel in 2007.
Which has meant industry's declined in Sittingbourne
and residents tend to commute further afield to places like London for work these days.
But does the easy one-hour commute to London make Sittingbourne an expensive place to live?
Hold on to your horses, Rani, we're about to find out.
But first, what can you get for 180 grand around the rest of the UK?
In Maidstone, Kent there is this three-bed modern end-of-terrace.
It has a kitchen-diner, living room
and good-sized gardens at back and front.
Up for sale for £180,000.
Heading ever so slightly closer to the M25,
there is this three-bed terrace in Gravesend with a lounge,
diner and kitchen-breakfast room.
It's on the market for £179,995.
And inside Greater London you can get this three-bed semi-detached
complete with kitchen-diner, lounge, garden and patio area,
all for £175,000.
So while I find out what Sittingbourne is all about,
Ed's heading to Kathy's favourite village, Iwade,
to speak to estate agent Becca.
Lots of people do downsize to the village
because it's a nice community.
You have elderly people, you have families living here.
In the First World War, Sittingbourne was used
as a navigation point by German pilots
to get their bearings into London.
No need for gas masks these days, though.
-Derek and Kathy have £180,000.
They kind of want to spend £170,000 ideally.
To be honest, around here, in their price range,
easily, they can get a terrace, an end-of-terrace
and, to be honest, if they go for older properties,
there is a few older roads in Iwade, where you get more value for money.
This place is full of good historic pubs and bars.
As well as Henry V stopping at the Red Lion, Queen Victoria stayed at the Rose Inn.
If they want something with less work,
they're better going for a new property
that's all done for them and they can move straight in.
And Rod Hull, famous for his work alongside Emu, lived near Sittingbourne.
It's also rumoured that Sir Bob Geldof is close by too.
It must be posh then!
Were you right, do they need £180,000?
Earlier on I was nervous. I thought they'd need more than £180,000.
But Rebecca has given me her guarantee.
She has shaken on it and she says Kathy and Derek will be fine.
The first property is in Iwade.
It's a modern house, six years old, wooden frontage. Looks very in-keeping with the area.
I think this will be the downsize of their dreams.
Very good. Now, well, I'm keeping them within Sittingbourne,
a place called Church Milton, not really a downsize at all.
Loads of space. I think they'll be very happy here.
Anyway, the wildcard. Everyone loves the wildcard.
Now the wildcard, we have gone the radical gamble.
Kathy, she likes the older property.
So we have gone for a little bit of beauty - there she is.
Just a picture of the back of the house on the estate agent's details.
So these are the properties that Rani and myself, are plumping for.
Where should we start today's journey?
-Only fair to start at number one.
-My one, the one with a wooden front.
Property number one is in Kathy's favourite village of Iwade -
a cute, wooden-fronted and very modern semi-detached in a semi-rural area.
Just what they asked for.
You're sounding very confident, Ed.
And why not, Rani? This IS their new home.
Kathy and Derek, Derek and Kathy, walk towards a property which I believe is THE property.
This is what a downsize is all about. It's over there.
It is the weather-boarded beauty.
We are in Iwade. I think Iwade was near the top of your list for places.
-It was one of them, yes.
-What do we think about the house?
I could be a wimp and ask you first, Derek, about the downsize
because I think you are easier to please, but I'm brave.
I'm that confident, I'll go to Kathy.
Kathy, what do you think about the size and the concept and everything?
I like it. Yes. I like the fact that
you can see the greenery out the back.
It's all-present. So we're good. Derek, of course you love this?
I'm not sure about the cladding.
-That worries me.
-The building is only six years old.
You have ten years on your buildings' guarantee.
-Kathy wants a bus stop, Derek wants a pub.
Derek is allowed a pub.
You've got a coach that goes to London, if you want to do that,
a train station down the road.
-So you have everything sorted. Are you happy?
-Very much so.
-All boxes ticked?
-Three, two, one, into that house.
Nice garden, Ed, but where's the view of the countryside?
If you stand up on tippy-toes, that way.
-How tall do you think I am?
-Not that tall.
It's a nice-sized kitchen.
-This is ideal for us, just the two of us, isn't it?
-I like the spotlights.
-I think spotlights are a nice thing to have.
Some people don't like them in kitchens cos you cast a shadow over the area you're chopping.
-A nice hall as well.
-You like a hallway, don't you?
-I do like a nice hall.
They do like the hallway.
Oh, hall, not Hall.
If they hadn't said "way" that joke would have worked perfectly.
-This is a nice size.
-It's a good size, isn't it?
-It is, isn't it?
-I like the patio doors out, as well.
The French window. This is ideal for us.
Big enough to put a few flowers in for Erin to run around in...
and for me to sit in, of course.
Hang about. Now I'm inside Kathy's mind. Kathy likes gardening.
And this would be fine for my bike.
Yeah, yeah and as an office.
-Yeah, it's a good size, isn't it?
-The computer there and my bike there would be fine.
It's a bit tight. I think you'd have to have your bike there, Kath.
I think the size of that bike is probably going to fill up the whole of that small room.
It's just going right in the centre.
-No, it is going on the right-hand.
-Right in the centre.
-Right in the centre.
-I'm imagining the right-hand corner would be fine.
-This is even better.
-It is, isn't it?
Yeah. A little girl's room.
-Keep it like this for Erin.
-That does look nice up there, doesn't it?
-It is nice, isn't it?
That's nice. Nice and new, isn't it? The shower over the bath.
That's the only thing. But it's nice.
Again, it's a good size.
Yes, there is no window in THAT bathroom,
but in the en-suite there is a window and in the downstairs toilet there is a window.
Statistically, there are more windows in washing facilities than there aren't.
This is a good size, this is...
Might need another wardrobe.
That's my wardrobe. I don't know where you are putting your clothes.
Exactly! I'll be in the other room.
Oh, they have a shower unit.
-Brilliant! Oh, it's quite a good size as well.
Oh, this is a real bonus.
And a window.
-Rani, do you remember where we are?
I think we should now go and play guess the price.
Very clever that, thank you.
So, the house as a whole, what do you think?
-Yeah, very nice.
-Like it. It's the sort of thing we're looking for.
How much is this property worth, though?
Ahh! You said your maximum budget was £180,000 at a real push.
Are you competitive?
-I hope so.
-Kathy, how much do you think this property is on the market for?
-How about you, Derek?
Kathy, you are the closest, but you are a bit underneath the price.
It is £174,495.
So what do you think about the price of that, then?
Yeah, it seems pretty good. I mean, it's what we were looking for.
Seems like a done deal, Rani.
I don't think it is a done deal because you still have to see
-property number two and the wildcard.
-You don't have to!
-You do have to, I insist. Would you like to see property two?
-Let's go this way.
-They don't know which way to go!
-Oh, it's fine.
While Ed may well have impressed with his quirky little number almost in the country,
my solid and safe choice
not a million miles from Derek and Kathy's current home
is sure to be a winner.
-Near where they already live?
-Yes, but far enough to be a fresh start, don't you worry, Ed.
OK, Kathy and Derek, welcome to property number two.
Now this one is my choice.
I've brought you to Church Milton, which is just round the corner from Sittingbourne.
So do you know this area at all?
-We live just round the corner.
-Just around the corner from where you are.
Which is perfect! So with that in mind,
within this estate there is a doctor, a pharmacy, a grocer, a pub,
which will probably be your local pub now.
Not giving you a new pub or anything. A bus stop just down the road.
The great thing about this place, it's got a Residents' Association.
You pay £3 for the year and that gets a summer barbecue, fireworks display
and Father Christmas comes to visit. Do you know about this?
-Yeah, we're members.
-THEY ALL LAUGH
What does Rani not know about the area?
-Take a look at the property.
-A pretty property.
Does it look like you're downsizing a lot?
-Does it look spacious?
-No, it does look spacious.
-Very much so.
OK, well, go into the house that you're pretty much familiar with -
it's kind of a smaller version - and see what you think.
I will be very intrigued.
Also, do you know about the park that's opening up down there?
-They know everything!
Three, two, one, go in the house.
-It is a nice hall.
This is a nice lounge, isn't it?
-This is just the right size.
-It's got our fireplace as well, perfect.
-Nearly got our suite as well.
Did you hear that? Did you hear that?
I always say, "Never buy a house based on a sofa,"
but they are going to buy this based on that sofa.
-And that fireplace.
-And that fireplace.
A dining room as well.
-It is a good size, isn't it?
I like patio doors out to the garden. Very, very nice.
Now I don't want to blow the programme,
but we are in the back garden in the afternoon,
prime sun spot. This is lovely.
A similar size to the other one.
-A nice size for us as well.
-Nice cabinets as well.
They're mentioning things as they go. They like the cupboards,
-the kitchen is already done to their taste.
-There is more emotional investment from them here.
This looks like the smallest room. And it's not bad size, is it?
This is a good size for us. We would get my exercise bike in quite easily.
-The computer would sit in the corner there.
I think this is the second bedroom. It is a good size.
It is a good size.
Nicely decorated as well.
Not too much to do to it, you know?
-Decoration. I think this is more Derek and Kathy.
They like all the little touches.
-This is a good size.
-Shower on the taps.
You'd need to put in an electric shower,
-but it is good enough for us anyway, the size we want, isn't it?
Oh, she shouldn't be saying that, "Good enough for us."
It should be good enough for everyone.
It should be good enough for the Queen.
-This is the master bedroom.
-Yes, this is a nice size as well.
-A double wardrobe there.
Now this is a proper master bedroom.
Well, is it? Is it any more proper than my one?
-It's a good size. They like it.
-Has it got an en suite?
Ooh, en suite.
I didn't expect that!
-All right, mine had that as well.
It's got a window as well. Lovely. This is really nice.
The other thing I would do there, if possible is put a full one in there.
Yeah, a double one across there.
Very good poker faces, Kathy and Derek.
I have no idea if they like this house more or less than mine.
I think they probably like my one more.
-I'm quite a good poker player and I think they definitely like this one more.
-Price will solve it.
I thought you sounded like you liked it. Am I wrong to think that?
-No, no, I loved it.
It's a very nice house, lovely decorated. You wouldn't hardly have to do a thing.
-Well, you've got lovely neighbours nearby, haven't you?
-They are moving, actually.
-Oh, are they(?)
Shall we play guess the price then? So, at the moment, Kathy, you're in the lead.
Now we had £180,000 to spend in guessing the price.
We didn't really want to spend it all,
but what do you believe this is on the market for...Derek?
Well, after the mistake at the last one, I'm going to say 175.
You're not winning this one. It's actually Derek!
£175, you said. This property is on the market at £180,000.
-Right at the top of your budget,
but you have to say the finish in there is fantastic.
-It would want to be, Rani Price!
-It is spacious and it is a lovely area,
as you know because you have lived here for the last, what, 15 years?
How does that make you feel?
See if they're open to an offer.
-I like it.
-All right. You see?
There is one more property to go to and it is everyone's favourite.
It's the wildcard. Are you excited?
-We shall get to it, I believe, this way.
It's that time again, folks, when we test our buyers' patience
with a property that might be a little left-field, shall we say?
In today's case, the wildcard might not be so far from what Derek and Kathy have in mind.
It might look a bit too old for their tastes on the outside.
But the interior is gorgeous, with the conservatory of Kathy's dreams.
Kathy and Derek, the wildcard. Everyone loves the wildcard
and here we are at the wildcard.
Now we have gone for character.
Built around the 1900s. We are in Sittingbourne, pretty much nearish to the centre of Sittingbourne.
So you're near the trains, near the local shops, you have a plethora of pubs.
What do you think about where we are, the house? What do you reckon?
I'm going to you, Kathy.
-I like it.
-You like it?
-This is the sort of house...
I mean, I like new ones, but I do like this sort of house.
-So a bit of character is good for you.
-What about you, Derek?
I prefer new ones, generally.
I wouldn't normally look at this sort of house.
You were the easy one! You were supposed to be the easy one, Derek!
OK, but now you can see it...
It's not gone anywhere since 1900,
and you were bothered by the woodwork, not underselling my one,
but here there is very little to worry about, do you think?
-No, it's true.
-I've talked you round in seconds!
-You have, actually!
-So, Kathy, you're excited to go in, aren't you?
-I do as I'm told.
-Good, because you will have us to answer to as well!
Three, two, one, into the wildcard.
-The angry fingers come out again.
I told them about the wildcard being not as popular.
-It'll be lovely. It'll be fine.
-know that, but they don't.
Rani, am I wrong to be concerned about the wildcard?
-Not this one. This one is a winner.
-But they are all winners, really.
-This one really is a winner.
-But Derek didn't like it!
-He WILL like it.
-Oh, this is nice.
-It is bigger than what you imagine, isn't it?
It is, isn't it? Lovely. I really like that.
-The fireplace is gorgeous.
-I like that, it's really nice.
I like the fact that it's...
We could get a three-seater one along here and one armchair.
And an armchair in there.
-I think Derek is being wooed by the wildcard.
-Do you think?
-I think so.
-I think they're impressed with the size.
They should be, it is a lovely size.
This is nice - a good-sized dining room as well.
Yeah, I really like this.
Well, Kathy has continued her positive journey
and is digging the house.
Oh, there is a breakfast area as well.
I like these units, but I don't like this side.
-No, I don't mind that.
Yeah, a nice breakfast area, so you can just sit out here.
Yeah. I like this.
-They do like it.
-It is positive.
Kathy is leading Derek to order, maybe we could possibly read into it that Kathy likes it a lot.
-Coming into a conservatory.
-My favourite - a conservatory.
Something we've always wanted, isn't it?
Plenty of space for Erin to run around as well.
-They could ramble around this garden!
A little bit of greenery, nice open space for Erin to play in.
-Quite steep stairs.
-They are, aren't they?
Steep stairs, Ed?
Well, I was worried, I was worried about them.
-A nice bathroom. A Jacuzzi bath and a decent showers as well.
-You've got your study now, Kath.
-This is perfect.
-It would be perfect.
-Plenty of room for my bike.
Kathy is going to have to carry her exercise bike up them stairs.
Kathy ain't! Derek's carrying it up there!
Oh, this is a good size.
-Plenty of room for a double bed in here.
-For if anybody stays.
-And wardrobe space.
Storage, cupboards in both bedrooms. Fact.
And a nice big double bedroom.
Oh, this is a good size, Kath.
-Oh, I do like this.
-This is massive.
I've not heard Kathy use that word before, "massive",
in any room and she said that in this room.
That's the thing about Victorian houses, they are such good sizes.
She knows about houses, does Kathy.
Your Victorian house, it may give a steep stair,
but it is very generous in the bedroom department.
It's nicely painted and decorated, which is what I like, no wallpaper.
This is lovely.
Listening to you two going around the house,
not once did I hear you say, "This is tiny, this is definitely downsizing".
-A lot of space, do you think?
-Yes, pleasantly surprised inside.
I like the house inside. It's nice.
-I was just pleased that we managed to get Derek to look at an older property.
He wouldn't even go in the front door of an old property.
He's realised that it's not as bad as he thought.
You see, sometimes it requires a full BBC camera crew to do that.
-Guessing the price. Now where are we? We are neck-and-neck.
So this is for the winner.
So we had a maximum budget of £180,000.
Kathy, what do you think it is on the market for?
£167,500. OK. Derek?
-Kathy, you're closest. You've won, but you are not that close.
Have the victory of guess the price,
but the actual price is £184,995 for the house.
Now it's been on for about a year. Might be open to offers, which is why we showed you.
-So there we go.
-Over your budget,
but it's got a lot more space, so it wouldn't have to feel like a complete downsize.
I know you kind of want to downsize just to save a few pennies.
You could still do that and keep the space. So that's the upshot.
You're now at the point where you have to make the biggest decision of your adult lives,
that being, of course, which one you wish to test drive.
Don't tell us now, wander off. Have a think about it.
Maybe go into Sittingbourne and enjoy its many facilities.
We'll see you later on.
Go that way and we'll see you later.
OK. Whilst they do that, here's a quick recap for you at home.
So will property one with its cute front and location near the country
be enough to sweep Derek and Kathy away?
It's for sale on the beautiful price of £174,495.
Or will the lure of being close to their current property
see them go for my choice?
Right up their street - almost -
it's on the market for 180 grand.
And then there's the wildcard,
with its classic exterior and updated interior.
It's closer to town,
but there's plenty of amenities on their doorstep.
It's slightly over Derek and Kathy's budget
Well, would you believe it?
They've gone for my dream train... I mean home, property number two.
You cannot be serious!
It's a stone's throw from where they currently live!
Well, it was obviously the right side of the tracks
and look, Kathy's got Derek properly trained.
He's started measuring up already.
4 foot, 8 inches. I think you'll find that's standard gauge.
Are you going loco again, Ed?
-Oh and look, cribs.
-This isn't MTV, Rani, we are a proper, property show!
No, they're playing cribs - get with it!
I can be down with the kids, Rani.
Anyway, I wouldn't throw all your chips in just yet.
It looks to me like they're still making up their minds.
Well, a walk by the gorgeous lake right on the doorstep
should help them to clear their minds and make them see sense.
See sense? They can probably see their old home from here.
I have to say, I'm very pleased you have chosen property number two, MY choice. It was a good choice.
They were all good choices, but I'm shocked.
Well, the thing is, it is a completely different area(!)
How did you find it?
Was that the draw,
moving so far away from your current location?
We both thought it was a really nice pretty house and it suits what we need perfectly, you know.
-It really does.
-We're here, are you ready for it?
The audience are waiting. They are intrigued.
It was the top end of your budget.
To buy or not to buy on this property?
Um, it all depends on the sale of our house now.
If that goes through, then yes, it would be to buy.
we will take that as a to buy.
So that is a to buy and you both agree with that and feel happy with that.
And was it the £3 residents'fee that swung it for you,
-to get Father Christmas round?
-That did help!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd