She’s making a list, she’s checking it twice…

…and she found she’d left the electrician off it!

Yes, we’ve reached the planning stage.  This is a list (not quite in the right order) of all the stuff we think we have to do to Ethel’s House.

  1. Treat woodworm.
  2. Strip all rooms back to walls.
  3. Repair kitchen ceiling.
  4. Re-wire house.
  5. Enlarge fireplace in living room to take woodburner.
  6. Replace windows.
  7. Replace front door.
  8. Replace roof and all rainwater goods.
  9. Repair chimney.
  10. Enlarge two existing roof lights and add two more.
  11. Insulate all rooms and roof.
  12. Install underfloor heating in kitchen and bathroom.
  13. Install new kitchen.
  14. Install new shower.
  15. Lay solid wood flooring throughout ground floor.
  16. Carpet up the stairs and throughout upstairs landing and bedrooms.
  17. Install woodburner in living room.
  18. Decorate throughout.
  19. Furnish.

Just a bit of work to do, then…  We are really dependent on the electrician and the roofer, as a lot of the rest can’t be done until they’ve finished.  By the time we’ve got it furnished, hopefully the decrofting of the house site will have come through and I’ll be able to get it revalued and apply for a small mortgage to pay off all the money I’ll be borrowing to pay for the list above.  At the moment I have a home report that says it’s worth £77,500.  Compared to other 3-bed near-identical houses in the village currently for sale, that’s very, very low – although all those came to market after the home report was done.  Given there’s a 2-bed bungalow with no land 200 yards up the road that’s been valued at £125,000, I think we should do okay when it comes to getting a good low loan-to-value.

A fun little quiz

Country Life magazine has set up this fun little Christmas quiz – look at a picture of a house, its location and the year it was advertised in Country Life and guess which of three prices it was advertised at.

I got six out of thirteen – weirdly I got the first four right, which were all in the ’80s (I was born in 1975, so not really taking much of an interest in the housing market at that time!) and then tailed off badly as it moved into the ’90s and 2000s!

Two-speed housing market

I’m back at home now and although I wasn’t best pleased at the hour’s delay to my flight back to Inverness, meaning I didn’t get home to the north coast until 2am, it did at least give me a chance to look at the property pages in the Evening Standard while I was waiting and it rammed home just how disconnected the housing market up here is compared to London.

One small snippet that caught my eye was a piece about the effects of the CrossRail project on housing prices – analysts reckon that property prices in the Canary Wharf area are going to rise by up to 43% between now and 2020 as a result of the project.


Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of some of the new-build apartment blocks going up in London at the moment; I think many of them are fantastic pieces of architecture.  But the cheapest one-bedroom apartment I could find in Canary Wharf on Right Move (excluding shared ownership options) was £330,000.  If the analysts are right, in 2020 that’ll cost £471,900.

In contrast, 661 miles away from Canary Wharf’s gleaming towers, I’m buying a three-bedroom detached house with stunning views, outbuildings and just under 10 acres for £95,000.  It really does make you wonder which end of the country is more out of kilter.