Series that gives buyers the chance to test-drive a property. Ed Hall and Jonnie Irwin help two legal eagles looking to move across the Pennines to the suburbs of Manchester.
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Good morning and welcome to To Buy Or Not To Buy.
The property programme that gets to turn dreams into reality.
-Jonnie, could you tell our viewers how we do that?
-It's simple, really.
We show these lucky house hunters three properties,
-only one of which they get the chance to try before they buy.
-It is amazing, isn't it?
Today, you find us on the outskirts of the UK's unofficial second city.
Yes, we are near Manchester, the world's first industrialised city,
home to two premiership football clubs
and the birthplace of indie rock, and that is official.
Yes, Oasis, the Stone Roses and the Smiths all come from around these parts,
but we're not going to turn the programme into a musical house-hunting show.
No, we're not, going to. We can't.
What we're here for is to solicit a house for today's buyers.
I've got to stop you there. Because we're not looking for a house. We're look for a home.
We've got to be very, very, very, very, very factually correct today
-or we could end up in court.
-I don't think you need to worry too much, Ed,
because if we do get into trouble, I know just the couple we can call upon.
Today's buyers are Robert and Montsy Skiner. Robert is a barrister and Montsy is a solicitor.
They live in Rotherham, but are desperate to move across the Pennines.
There's anything wrong with Rotherham - it's the commute, your honour.
Yes, the dreaded two-hour journey Montsy has to make each way
every day to get to her Manchester office.
But it is not just the travel, there are other factors to consider, too.
Yeah. We've been together for nine years.
Married for three-and-a-half.
It's about time we think to start putting plans into action,
so jobs are just about getting sorted.
Next thing is house and then hopefully,
a year-and-a-half, two years down the line, start a family.
This is very nice. Are we going for the traditional, is this a house forever now?
What we want is a house that's probably a little bit too big for us,
that we can grow into and not have to move for another ten or 15 years.
We're picking the environment of Manchester as our location. Have you honed it down any more?
We've looked around the whole of the M60 corridor.
We spent a couple of months driving here every Saturday, coming off at every junction,
looking at the neighbourhood, looking at the area, trying to find places we like.
Worsley seemed to tick most of the boxes.
You've done a lot of leg work. Looking at the size of this house -
How big does this new home have to be in order to grow into it and to last you hopefully forever?
We're looking for really a minimum of four bedrooms because the way
obviously we want our family to develop, we're looking at a couple of kids.
A spare room for people coming over to stay or for me to use as a home study.
In terms of style, character, do we want it to be modern, do we want it to be old?
Are we bothered in any way?
I would like an older property with larger spaced rooms and a bit more character.
Although obviously character features aren't necessarily a deal breaker.
Is there any dream that you've got that you would really like the property to have?
It's mainly just the good sized rooms and a nice garden.
I do quite like a nice garden because it's just to sit out there in the summer
when you've got home from work is really nice, and especially planning for the future.
For children to play. Of course. You mentioned a couple of things there.
You have got to envisage the fact that you've got children around in the future. What are no-nos?
Having a busy main road right in front or behind the house is always going to cause difficulties.
But there's right on a main road and there's set back from a main road, conceptually very different things.
-What's the maximum we can spend today?
-OK. Ed. That's good.
-I'm happy with that. That's a good amount of money there.
I think that's it. We're going to head off.
Wish us luck and hopefully we will stop your two-hour journey.
-See you later.
Thank you, bye.
Well, to a layman you would think that we've got a lovely day ahead, wouldn't you?
We're looking for a new family home for a young couple.
However, let us not forget this couple are legal experts.
Everything we do today has to be by the book.
I'm very nervous, I will be honest, because if we get this wrong, we could be legally responsible.
-We could all be sued for doing this programme. We could be. We could.
-Is that the royal we,
-you me, the viewers at home...
-They are watching it, they are responsible as well.
Cross your fingers - we need something very clever today. What are you going to do?
Get some information, talk to an expert, perhaps an estate agent.
I don't know what I'm going to do, but it will be very legally binding
and very clever. See you later.
Worsley is in the borough of Salford in Greater Manchester.
Lying about six miles west of the city centre, the town is famed for its historic waterway,
said to be the forerunner of the modern canal system.
The average property price here in Greater Manchester is £109,443
compared to the national average of £161,554.
Worsley is ideal for a quick getaway.
Links to the M60 and the M62 motorways are only a few moments away.
Our budget here in Manchester is £375,000,
but what will that get you in other cities also with great footballing traditions?
Well, in Birmingham, if open-plan living is what you're after,
then this two bedroom canal-side penthouse apartment
will set you back £275,000.
And in London, only for Arsenal fans, I hasten to add,
you can relive the glory days
by netting yourself one of these apartments.
On Merseyside, home of Everton and Liverpool football clubs,
this three-bedroom thatched cottage
will make your pockets lighter by £375,000.
Time to meet an estate agent.
Our couple have driven around this whole area.
They're looking to relocate and they like Worsley because it looks nice,
but it also seems to be in the centre of everything they want.
It is convenient for the city centre. The local Trafford Centre, the ski slopes,
everything is on our doorsteps, so area-wise and for commuters, it is ideal.
The Bridgwater Canal was commissioned by the third Duke of Bridgwater
and began construction in 1759.
And the canal is where they did the first trials of steam-powered boats,
the steam-powered boats that were the forerunners
of the paddle steamers that we see on the Mississippi today.
So this one looks like it is semi-detached which is fine.
-Period, they especially like, so...
-That should fit the bill.
The building of the Bridgwater Canal enabled the transport of coal
from the mines here in Worsley to the centre of Manchester.
Halving the price of coal overnight and changing the landscape of Britain forever.
So are you an expert on the area of Worsley, would you say?
I would say myself and the viewers have potentially got an A-level in Worsley right now.
-How have you got on?
-I've got on even better. I met a man called Owen who imparted so much about the area
-and what we can afford, I'm confident we can do it today.
-What have you got?
Well, property number one, you know they asked for three to four bedrooms?
Five bedrooms, people.
Semi-detached, the only potential downside I can see from this house is,
well, it has very good access.
It is on a main road.
Mine was taken on a sunny day. Mine is the kind of house you would have drawn as a child.
An ideal house. I think this will be for them.
That's all I'm going to say.
The wild card is particularly wild today. Give it a quick flash.
There it is. Now the picture doesn't do it justice, does it?
-What I would say is the only word used by the secret property hunting team was this - Malibu.
It reminded them of a residence one might find in Malibu. If that doesn't make it wild, what does, Ed?
Let's keep Malibu for the end of the programme. Where shall we start?
My one, property number one.
My choice of property is an absolute beauty.
-A bit like me, I would say.
-Shallow, tired looking?
More on the inside than the outside, is what I meant.
Remember what I said about lying.
Now, Robert, cast your mind back to now regrettably the question I asked you about the no-nos.
Legally speaking, does this constitute a main road?
I don't think it is a main road at all.
It is a road, but I wouldn't say it is a main arterial route.
That's enough for me. Well, after coming down this...road.
-We arrive at property number one, which for most part is a pretty standard pre-war semi.
-It looks good. I mean, it is impressive from the outside.
I can't wait to get in and see what it is like on the inside.
OK. Do you want to go in?
-That's a relief. Off you go.
Clearly a family house, isn't it?
-It is very nice. I quite like the entrance way.
-It is gorgeous.
This is a nice room, isn't it?
Yeah. It's...a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be from the outside.
-It is, and the fireplace.
-Looking around, there is certainly going to be a room
for a few little ones when they eventually come around, isn't there?
Plenty of seats for everyone to sit in.
Hang about! I think Robert is already suggesting he wants to test drive this property straightaway.
That road outside seems to be a distant memory.
-In fact, I will not talk about it again.
-This is really nice.
-Walk through to the second.
-It is nice and there are doors here for you to close.
It would be nice if we had people over, we could use both rooms
-and then if we didn't, we could close the doors and just keep it to ourselves, really.
The kitchen is smaller than I expected considering the rest of the house.
-Yeah. I think it is big enough for what we need to do though.
-Oh yeah, definitely.
To sort of cook and prepare all the meals for both of us that we have to do.
It's quite nice, a separate dining room which is always a bonus.
-Yeah, it is nice.
-It looks out onto the garden as well which would be lovely
-in the summer.
-This is quite unusual, stairs both ways.
Another interesting look around here.
Oh, it is just a bathroom right at the top of the stairs, it is massive.
-That is a big bathroom.
-Much bigger than I was expecting it to be from outside as we walked up the stairs.
-There is no shower in here, is there?
-The shower over the bath, but no stand-up shower.
Now then, there is no shower there,
but have we got something for you, Montsy.
The world's greatest shower ever.
Oh a bedroom, although there is nothing in it.
Yeah. It might be quite a nice...
It is a good-sized room.
-We could use it as a guest bedroom maybe.
-This must be the master bedroom.
-Yeah, I think I would keep it as the master bedroom.
-It is nice, isn't it?
-It certainly looks...
-It certainly looks the part.
There are at least three rooms by the looks of it, which is a surprise,
I thought there would be just one.
-Oh wow, this is quite...
-Another double bed.
It is certainly a double bedroom with plenty of space.
Oh, I like it. An extra shower room.
-Set away from the rest of the house.
-That explains why there is no shower in the main bathroom.
-That looks a very fancy shower, don't you think?
-With all those jets.
-Fancy shower, it is more than fancy, Montsy.
-It has a stereo in it, Montsy, and a seat.
Another double bedroom.
So, how many is that then? It is massive upstairs, isn't it?
Much, much bigger than I thought it would be from the outside.
And um...actually loads of food for thought, really.
Well, we were waxing lyrical inside, weren't we? Lots of positive words.
It is a lot bigger inside than it looks from the outside.
I thought the downstairs, particularly the two sort of front rooms, were particularly impressive.
Yeah, I mean I thought upstairs it was just massive.
Everywhere, there was another double bedroom, a proper double bedroom.
So would you say this could be a house that you
could see you and hopefully your family living in maybe long-term?
I like the house and it has got a lot going for it, but I'm not falling in love with it.
Maybe when you find out the price
and all the money that you will hopefully have left over from the price, you might love it.
Montsy, would you like to play first on guess the price? We had a maximum budget of £375,000, was that it?
I would say maybe £325,000.
Looking nervous. Robert?
I would have said a little bit less because I think it does need a fair amount of work doing.
-I would have said about 315.
-315 and 325.
Well, they are good guesses!
Well, maybe you could negotiate down from the actual asking price,
which is £339,950.
Don't think that would leave enough for the work that we want to do.
I don't know why I'm saying this, you are in a good position to move,
but it would almost seem pointless because my property
is not on a main road and it does have a large back garden.
-Would you like to go to it?
-I really would.
-Do you want to come?
-Might as well. Let's see what you've got.
OK, Jonnie, I think after your offering,
-I'm going to have to raise my game.
-Are you admitting defeat already?
No, I just have to give them what they want in a more complete way.
Robert and Montsy, gaze if you dare at property two.
Now, can we hear traffic?
No, we can't. Are we on a main road?
No. Look at that property, right, I don't want to say too much, but what does that say to you, Montsy?
It's not the type of property we've looked at before,
but it is actually really nice. It reminds me of a cottagey type house.
-It does look very cottagey, doesn't it?
-It's picture perfect, almost.
-When you get in there,
they have done it immaculately. All right.
-Are you ready?
-Are you prepared to fall in love with this property? Enjoy!
Well, this is nice.
Yes, it is very nice.
-It is really, really cosy looking, isn't it?
I love the window features.
Yeah, the shutters on the windows and a nice fireplace.
-It is very homely, isn't it?
-It is quite a small room, isn't it?
It is. It is a lot smaller than the one we've already seen, but it's,
I think it feels a little bit more comfortable, really.
Yeah, a bit more homely.
Homely, if any Americans are watching, they are not saying it looks ugly,
they are saying it feels like a home. Homely, to an American, is ugly.
That's totally different to anything we've seen so far, don't you think?
-It is, yes.
-But I really like it.
I really like it as well.
bigger than I thought it would be. It is certainly giving you something to think about, isn't it?
That's nice, isn't it? And the garden is quite big. I like the bench at the bottom.
It is lovely, actually. It's just a nice sized space.
Oh, and another sort of sitting room area.
-It's very symmetrical downstairs.
Kitchen in the middle, room on each side, but I actually really like it.
Let's see what in this room first, then.
Oh, this is a much bigger room upstairs, don't you think?
I like it a lot.
My concern downstairs is I love the way the house is set up and decorated
but it just seems a little bit smaller than I was hoping for.
But the room is a great size and there is enough space for us to do everything we want to do in here.
-I like the little fireplace, as well.
-It is a really nice feature in the room.
This is the bathroom.
That's a lovely bath, isn't it?
It's a great bathroom, really.
I like the colours. Same sort of colours we've got in our house at the moment,
so we know it is exactly what we're looking for.
-Style wise, they love it, don't they?
-Exactly. It is the future of bathrooms.
I imagine Neil Armstrong has a bath similar to that.
-Or at least Buzz has.
-Either. Either or. Brilliant.
Oh, a single bedroom.
Perfect for a study, I think.
-I was just thinking the same thing.
-I could really see myself working in this room.
-It is a real surprise that there is a third floor. It didn't look like it from the outside.
-No, it didn't.
This is a bit of a funny shaped room, isn't it?
It is well used though, isn't it?
With the wardrobes, it is a good little storage area.
-The single bedroom. It is a bit of a tight squeeze.
-Yeah, very tight squeeze.
-What did you think about it?
-I really loved it. I thought it was beautiful inside.
Really, really well set out and just decorated
to the best standard possible. No complaints whatsoever, really.
-That was about that, but the concern was about its...
It is just a bit too small, really. The decor is lovely and the kitchen is fantastic,
but size wise it is just very small
and I think we could have lived with the size downstairs, but upstairs, there is not enough bedrooms.
Interesting. Now if you look at the extension.
They built the footings deep enough so you can put another extension on top of that,
so you have then got room for maybe putting one or two bedrooms in. What do you reckon?
Yes, it is something we can think about depending on how much it would cost, really.
So let's guess the price. You went first at my place.
Robert, how much is this house on the market for, please?
I would say, given the amount we would have to spend on the extension, £300,000.
-Go on then, Montsy.
-I would guess maybe £315,000.
Much more sensible.
And correct! You are closest.
The actual price is £325,000, but you are in a good position.
You don't have to sell. You can kind of buy.
Your maximum budget of £375,000 I would say would give you enough money to do that and do that
and make it in keeping with the rest of the property.
Listen, it sounds to me like we're getting there.
It's a bit closer to what you asked for at the start of the today.
Let's see if the wild card can get you all the way to your dream family home.
-Shall we go?
I absolutely love today's wild card.
-It has got everything except three bedrooms.
-A minor detail, Jonnie, my friend.
-They will not notice as this house has character.
-And history, over 240 years of it.
Now I think we'll all agree it is impossible to let this weather dampen our spirits
cos here we are at the wild card.
You said you like character, Montsy, what do you reckon about this?
-Do you like the idea of a black and white building?
-I do. It is actually quite picturesque.
-Is the road going to bother you?
-First impressions it looks really good from the outside,
-so hopefully not, if the inside is just as exciting.
-It is double glazed.
-That is catered for.
-The double glazing has been done for you but there is quite a bit of work
to be done inside, but go in there and think how you might like it to be done in the future.
-Are you ready? Three, two, one - enter.
-It is certainly different, isn't it?
-Yeah, it is. I love the doors.
-Yeah, they are a little bit low, but other than that...
You will have to be careful. Mind your head!
Oh, the beams are fantastic.
-I really like this room.
-I love the archway going into the kitchen.
If makes a real statement, doesn't it?
Well, because it is a bit like, and I don't mean this disrespectfully, it is a bit like a pub, isn't it?
In a nice way because it has that olde-worlde warm feeling, hasn't it?
This is a another good sized room, actually.
It is really, really big and again absolutely full of character, isn't it?
But what I quite like, I've got to duck to come through the doors,
but the ceilings are really high, so once we're in the room, it is really comfortable.
It's a nice view out of the windows there. It's lovely.
The garden looks massive.
-It is full of surprises, really, this place, isn't it?
This is a good-sized kitchen, as well.
I do, I like it. I can see us having a lot to work with here.
The decor might need a little bit of updating.
I don't think it is anything that would be too difficult, do you?
No. Well, this room is really big.
-It's absolutely massive.
-Is this a conservatory or an extension?
I think it is a mixture of both actually, but it seems to
bizarrely work really, really well.
-So ground floor, a resounding thumbs-up.
-It's a double thumb.
It's a quadruple thumb, really.
-This is another good-sized room.
-Yeah, it is.
It's... Just everything about this house surprises me,
but in a really good way.
There is a toilet there.
A little en suite for the master bedroom.
I hope that's not the only bathroom though.
Oh, I spoke too soon.
Another bathroom next door, which is perfect. Enough space for everybody.
Well, that's good, bath, toilet.
Now, separate toilets and bathrooms, I kind of like them.
This is what should be a bedroom apart from the weights.
What is it with the weights? Maybe someone is
trying to give me a message!
Another decent-sized bedroom.
This is a good-sized room.
Oh my word! Look at that.
Well, I don't know if she stays with the house!
I'm liking it even more, but it is a nice-sized bedroom again, isn't it?
It is. You can hear the traffic a little bit here, can't you?
It's all things that we can work on, I think.
It is the first time I've noticed it, though.
It is another really good-sized bedroom, so we've got
two big ones and smaller ones that are a little bit short on what we
were looking for, but the rest of the house is really nice, isn't it?
By the sounds of it, that seemed to go very well indeed.
Yeah, absolutely surprised, quite frankly.
That's the plan of the wild card, it is a bit different and
probably more different than you imagined because in every room,
you were like, "Actually, this is lovely."
You were kind of surprised at your thoughts.
I actually think the house has got a lot of potential.
The downstairs, I really love.
The upstairs needs a bit of work done to it, but it
is something we could do over time.
Shall we play guess the price? £375,000 is our maximum budget.
-Who would like to go first?
-You could say that's gallant.
I would be inclined to go maybe 350.
-350. OK, Robert?
Well, you are closest.
But we're all winners. 18 months ago you would have been very close
because 18 months ago this house was placed upon the market at 325.
Last week, it was reduced...
There is a lot to think about and we are at that point where you
have to head off and make the biggest decision of your adult lives.
Choosing which property you would like to test drive.
Good luck with that and we will see you later on.
-What will they do?
-Are you excited?
-I'm incredibly excited,
like a coiled spring ready to erupt.
Now, whilst he acts like a coiled spring and they go off and think
about maybe their potential future,
in legal terms this would be a round-up, and a round-up for
-you at home of the potential purchase of three properties.
Will it be property one? My offering is a huge five-bedroomed house
on the edge of Worsley, priced £339,950.
Or will it be my choice, property two? It has only got three bedrooms,
but has got great potential for a fourth,
all for 325 grand.
Or will it be today's wildcard?
It's the cheapest and does need a bit of TLC,
but it oozes character and could be theirs for £299,000.
Ah, look at that, Manchester's very own version of a Malibu mansion.
-They've gone for the wildcard.
-And they've brought Kerry
the estate agent with them for a bit more advice.
They could be serious about this one.
-So these are all original, the beams?
-The majority of the beams are original.
A damp and timber report would determine whether
some would need replacing when it came to purchasing the property.
True to form, it looks like our legal eagles are making sure the wildcard
is a watertight case, me thinks.
I was wondering, the garden is
really big and it is a really nice garden.
Has anybody looked into whether
planning permission is available for extending the back of this house?
Yes, we did have a previous potential purchaser that did look into building
into the garden and the stage it got to, it was approved, so there
are possibilities there for you.
-That's really good news. Thank you very much.
So why did you go for the wildcard?
Realistically, this wasn't
what you were after, but you were somehow lured by it, weren't you?
It's so different to everything we thought we wanted.
We wanted to give it as much of an
opportunity as possible to make an impression on us.
Different in as much as it's fairly near a main road. It doesn't
have the four bedrooms and there is a bit of work to be done to it.
-But it has got a big garden.
-But you seemed to fall for it.
When you came around you were talking about potential.
Now you've spent more time here,
has this potential materialised or has it scared you off?
Well, it is very quaint downstairs and as you say, potential is the
word with this property, but I don't think we've been scared off.
I think there is some more information that we need
to obtain before we make a decision.
But it is certainly one that we're seriously thinking about.
OK. To buy or not to buy? That is the question, Robert and Montsy.
-Maybe to buy.
-Maybe to buy?!
It is hard because it is a lot of money that you're spending here,
-so why maybe?
-Because we've got very
definite ideas of what we'd like to do, but we don't really
have the expertise or background to know whether we can do those things.
So it is budgetary then? If it all came in on budget, you would
-be prepared to maybe do the work and go ahead?
-Have you enjoyed yourselves?
-Had a great time.
-Has it been the best day of your lives?
-The second best day for me.
-Shall we push you for the best day?
-Obviously the day I married my wife.
-Ah, very nice!
-We will see you later.
Right, there we go, what a phenomenal success that was.
Is it actual success?
In legal terms, is a "maybe" binding?
-Actually, is it binding?
Well, if you want to do better than maybe or you think we could provide
you with houses that make you want to say "yes" to buy
instead of "maybe" to buy, then please get in touch.
Don't "maybe", do a "yes".
-Actually get in touch.
-No maybes about it.
-Shall we see you soon?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Series that gives buyers the chance to test-drive a property before they buy it. Ed Hall and Jonnie Irwin get on the case of two legal eagles looking to move across the Pennines to the suburbs of Manchester.