Country house bargains

Now is the best time to find a bargain when you’re looking for a new property, as savings are huge on what you would have paid a year or 18 months ago.  This advice comes hot off the press from one of the UK’s leading property finders, James Greenwood from Stacks Property Search & Acquisition (www.stacks.co.uk).

In fact, he goes as far to declare that buying over the next two to three months ‘was the opportunity of a generation, but now it is the opportunity of a lifetime.’

But with some agents still building a cushion of comfort into the asking price ‘so there is room for negotiation,’ how do you know you are getting a good buy? Mr Greenwood says you should be getting at least 35% off peak prices back in August 2007. ‘We are getting on average 51%.’

A certain amount comes down to price, but Mr Greenwood believes you also need to make sure the property has quality. ‘And ask yourself why you are buying and how long will you live there.’

Do proper research

Anyone these days can ascertain whether they are getting a bargain by doing their research.

‘Check the Land Registry for how much the property sold before, ask around the neighbourhood, knock on doors, talk to rival agents and build up a picture of what “actual” prices have been achieved,’ he recommends.

There is a good market there and deals in every single sector, Mr Greenwood suggests. He advises going for the flip side of the recent trend of buying a house and pouring money into it to renovate it: ‘I would say now is a good time to buy something with everything done.’

Agent Elizabeth D’Allemagne from Butler Sherborn in the Cotswolds says, ‘The days when you advertised a house “in excess of the guide price of X” are long gone. Look at what is for sale in your price range and find out the circumstances of the seller.’

She adds that you can be assured that vendors putting their homes on the market now really do need to sell. ‘They are serious sellers, so you should have a smooth transaction.’

Bargains currently on the market for those seeking a bargain property for sale

Top Cottage, Upper Oddington, Gloucestershire
Reduced from £850,000 to £775,000

Renovated four-bedroom village house with detached annexe in one of the best villages in the Cotswolds. The owner has retained original features, such as exposed beams, flagstone flooring, Inglenook fireplaces and a bread oven.

Butler Sherborn Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 830731 www.butlersherborn.co.uk

Horseshoe Hill, Littleworth Common, Buckinghamshire
Reduced from £715,000 to £595,000

Grade-II listed three-bedroom, two-bathroom home and double garage with study on top in hamlet on edge of Burnham Beeches woodland.

Hamptons International 01494 677744 www.hamptons.co.uk

Church Farmhouse, Thurning, Norfolk

Reduced from £895,000 to £695,000

Restored century-old five-bedroom former farmhouse with three bathrooms, four reception rooms and a separate self-contained three-bed cottage. The owners have replaced many lost details, drawing on Arts & Crafts style.

Fine & Country Norwich 01603 251587 www.fineandcountry.com

Hailcombe, South Newington, Oxfordshire
Reduced from £2.75 million to £1.95 million

Five-bedroom house with modern technology, good views, one-bedroom flat, summerhouse, triple garage, separate barn, paddock and lake in just over 14 acres.

Knight Frank Oxford 01865 790077 or 020 7629 8171 www.knightfrank.co.uk