A couple buying a second home in the country

Why they came to Stacks

The clients lived in west London, but wanted to find a suitable second home to escape to from time to time. Not being familiar with the property market outside London, they came to Stacks for help in narrowing down an area and then finding a suitable property.

 

What they were looking for

The brief was actually very loose, but there were some key requirements.

With regards to the location, they wanted:

  • Good road and rail links to their home in west London
  • A quiet and peaceful location

With regards to the property, they were keen to find:

  • A property for a budget of circa £1m
  • With a garden, to enable them to fulfil a love of gardening

 

What the local area offer could offer

The clients narrowed their focus down to Hampshire and West Berkshire. These areas have good travel links with west London and would suit their time constraints and lifestyle well.

 

How Stacks helped

Initial investigation: We set up a viewing day and took them to see about eight properties. This was a really useful exercise because we swiftly formed a clearer picture of what the client did, and didn’t like.

Off market intelligence: After a short time, via our contacts, we discovered a property that was available ‘off market’. It was a beautiful period, Grade II listed, thatched house, with stunning gardens.

Negotiations were initiated on behalf of our client: Our offer was accepted, but this was actually when the hard work then started.

Resolving issues highlighted in the survey: The survey showed that one of the chimneys appeared to be below the specified height for a thatch, and this issue was compounded by the fact that the fireplace was open. On behalf of the client, we arranged for a chimney specialist and a thatch specialist to visit and survey the property.

Resolving issues regarding insurance: It can be hard to find an insurance company prepared to provide cover for a thatched property; and that’s when there isn’t an additional issue to deal with. Obviously, the vendor had insurance, so we initially approached their insurance company expecting them to be happy to provide a policy to new owners. However, this was not the case. They refused.

Liaising with the vendor: By this point, we’d already agreed an exchange date and it was approaching fast. With the insurance cover now causing a problem, the vendor began to threaten to pull out altogether. We contacted the current insurer once again, who reviewed their decision and said that they would consider a new policy if a new wiring survey was carried out first.

Sourcing an electrician to carry out the survey: We found a local electrician who could carry out the necessary survey quickly. Fortunately, the insurer then accepted the risk and was prepared to provide cover. Exchange took place.

 

The happy outcome

Our clients are now enjoying a beautiful Grade II listed, thatched, property with stunning gardens as a second home.

 

How Stacks made a difference

This project went down to the wire. If our clients had been dealing with this on their own, a significant amount of their time would have been taken up with phone calls, chasing up, negotiating, and presenting ideas. We brought:

  • Our determination to get things right on their behalf
  • Our time to chase people down, source suppliers, resolve issues
  • Our local knowledge to recommend the best location to meet our clients’ needs
  • Our contacts to discover a property that wasn’t officially on the market for sale
  • Our technical knowledge to liaise with the estate agent, specialist suppliers, insurers, and solicitors

Overall, we saved our clients time, stress, lost sleep, and disappointment. And it gave us great pleasure to hand over the keys to them, for the purchase almost certainly would have fallen through without our input.

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