Mr & Mrs D had recently sold their GP practice in Leeds and were seeking to relocate to Devon. They turned to Stacks for help because they simply didn’t know the area well enough, and the regular journeys required to view and carry out research was going to make the process quite difficult. Being local, we could help on both counts.
Their dream was to own a small holding. The family were still young and the quality of life in Devon appealed after the hustle and bustle of Leeds. They needed enough land to manage a small flock of sheep, and appropriate premises/buildings to make artisan cheeses and yogurts. The ability to find some locum work in Exeter and Plymouth initially was also important.
We settled on West Devon, which was good for travel to Exeter and Plymouth, and also suited their budget and offered choice on the type of property they wanted.
Mrs D was the first to fly down to Exeter airport on a bank holiday Monday, where we picked her up, took her to view four properties, and then dropped her back to the airport. It was a whistle-stop tour that day, but a useful one. For although most of the properties were on the right lines, none were ideal, which helped us narrow down the brief.
With a clearer idea of what was required, we next spoke to all the agents in the area and viewed another dozen properties on our clients’ behalf. After giving feedback to them, we then shortlisted a few for the next visit. Mrs D arrived, viewed them, and we were really pleased to be able to settle now on one for a full visit with her husband and children.
A date was arranged, and the whole family arrived and we all went for a rather wet walk. Viewing a property in the rain, grappling with a push chair across 60 acres, and seeing things as they can be in the country was exactly what was needed. Our clients were able to take the smallholding in for what it was… and they loved it. Now it was time for us to work our magic on the next stage of the process and find out more.
Sometimes with a deceased estate, as this was, the information held by the beneficiaries/executors is a bit scant. However, we knew the agent dealing with the sale well and communication between the parties was very good because of this. It turned out that the beneficiaries were actually very familiar with the property, but there were still a lot of unknowns that needed to be taken into consideration. For example:
Then, in addition to these quirks, there was the fact that our clients also wished to be able to make changes to the buildings. For example:
We decided the best way to proceed, therefore, was to arrange for an appropriate survey to be carried out whilst we took advice regarding the house and their plans from a local architect we knew well.
Fortunately, all aspects on that front seemed satisfactory, so the next challenge we had was to review our clients’ mortgage requirements. They had agreement in principle for a residential mortgage, but this type of property did not conform to the norm and an agricultural mortgage would have been a more natural approach. However, our clients knew that they wouldn’t need the mortgage for long and agricultural mortgages tend to have significantly less favourable rates and terms. We spoke to a specialist broker, and this problem was resolved.
We’re delighted to say exchange of contracts happened soon after. On completion day we then did what we like to do, which is check the property over in the morning, particularly with respect to the fixtures and fittings form, and then meet our clients to hand over the keys.
For people moving from an urban setting, having pursued an urban lifestyle and run a GP practice, little about this project would be deemed straightforward. The experience we have of such purchases at Stacks, therefore, made all the difference. For example, our knowledge of:
It would have been a project laden with obstacles every step of the way if our clients had been working this through alone. Instead, however, we tackled them on their behalf, and they’re now delighted to be living in the property of their dreams.
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