I have been house hunting recently with a friend of mine. I must confess it is a lot of fun, but some of the properties we have seen are utterly ridiculous.
I know that the TV stations are stuffed to the gunnels with property shows such as Escape to the Country and Location, Location, Location, yet the real world is somewhat different. When Sarah Beeny wanders around people’s homes they are clean with beds made. I bet she isn’t confronted with dirty dishes in the skink and knickers on the bedroom floors! Before you think otherwise, we are not looking for a 1 bedroom student flat either, we are looking for a pukka 5 bedroom detached home with a decent garden for children and a pair of big dogs to play in.
During our eventful house hunting, we have come up with a list of expressions to summarise what we think of the vast range of properties we have seen!
The Slap and Jazz Job: This is a property which is fundamentally ok. All it needs is for someone to slap in a modern kitchen or a fabulous bathroom, paint the walls Jasmine White at which point you will be 90% of the way to a good house.
The Fumigator: This is the type of house which has ancient carpets, woodchip on the walls and artex ceilings. Usually these houses are old and built in the age of asbestos, so after the guts have gone and before the plasterer starts the whole house will need fumigating. You’d only look at a “fumigator” type house if you had somewhere else to live or could call in the DIY SOS team to help.
The Hyacinth: Named after the famous Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping up Appearances. Although they have been very well maintained, these houses have been “done up” in a certain way and stuffed with flashy but tacky nick-nacks. These houses are usually crazily over-priced as the owner obviously wants to show off how much she or he thinks their house is worth.
The White Stick: These are houses which have been designed by someone who is clearly blind! They simply do not flow, don’t make the best use of natural light and have built-in cupboards in bizarre locations. For instance one house had a 4m x 3.2m bedroom but they had covered an entire wall with very deep wardrobes which consequently turned it into a 2m wide passage. What was a double bedroom was now a claustrophobic single.
Head bangers: These are cottages with beams, or houses which have rooms in the roof, where you can only stand in the central part. Anyone over 5’10” would need to walk around with a crash helmet on. Mind you, it might weed out how often certain people visit!
The Duster: These houses are so finished, that all you need to do before you move in is whizz around with a duster.
Money pit: Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer might be happy looking at a house thinking ‘Oh it’s fabulous, all you need to do is build another half a house as an extension on the back and you are all done’. They might be able to build half a house for £20k however be warned, if you try to do it you can triple that. It never costs what you think as there’s always ‘extras’ which unfortunately bump up the cost.
After much consideration and discussion we have decided our ideal property is somewhere between “The Duster” and the “Slap and Jazz Job.” We may consider a “Hyacinth” but only after it’s been on the market for a while and the owners are getting twitchy about selling and will consider a reduced price!