Property: Stepping Stones

One Couple's Property Story

"A GREAT deal has happened to us, not only property-wise," says Janet Midlane, who has bought six properties in her time and who warns: "Stepping stones can be slippery."

Finding sharing with a stranger to be an odd experience, Janet decided in 1982 that it would be easier and cheaper to buy. She got a 100-per- cent mortgage and paid pounds 19,950 for a first-floor, two-bedroom flat in Watford. Training as a careers adviser meant a great deal of travelling, so the following July she sold for pounds 26,950, and rented a flat in Weymouth, Dorset.

She and her fiance David bought a small cottage for pounds 29,950, which was "cold but full of character". After getting married in 1986, they sold it for pounds 36,000.

They then bought a 300-year-old, two-bedroom cottage for pounds 40,000, which they considered expensive but loved for its garden and views: "Here began our DIY in earnest, carrying out minor repairs and restoring it to its former glory."

After "getting the bug", they decided to sell at the tail end of the boom for "the magnificent sum of pounds 75,000", and paid pounds 60,000 for an unmodernised cottage and barn in Dorset which had no toilet, and a bath in the kitchen. They lived in a caravan while they and their builders struggled to create a home - surviving winter mud, summer dust, wet and cold.

"We spent our wedding anniversary cutting stone," recalls Janet.

The improvements cost pounds 40,000, plus a record collection sold to pay for a kitchen, but worse was to come. On what Janet calls "Black Wednesday" David fell from a ladder and broke his neck.

"People kept saying how lucky he was, but it didn't feel like it at the time," she says. David recovered, but the couple feared the house was unlucky, so in 1992 they decided to sell. Again they were told how lucky they were, this time by an estate agent, when they got a "disappointing pounds 95,000" for the ill-fated house.

Admitting to "panic buying" a Thirties bungalow for pounds 70,000, which cost pounds 12,000 to refurbish, they got their money back when they sold for pounds 86,500 three years later.

For pounds 79,000, Janet and David then found their "ideal home"; a detached, four-bedroom, 300-year-old cottage, again in Dorset and with a "reasonable amount of work to get our teeth into". Sadly, builders later found "the best-built thing in the place was a wasps' nest".

Some pounds 30,000 later, they had a fantastic house but no money or carpets. A job with accommodation in Derbyshire meant another move so they sold (a year after it went on the market at pounds 125,000) for pounds 92,500. After being made redundant in August 1998, the Midlanes have "taken the money and run" to a rented cottage in Cornwall. They are considering buying again but will "think carefully" before doing so. In spite of their love of old buildings, they are not risking any more ladders: "This time we're going to buy something modern."

Ginetta Vedrickas

Those moves in brief:

1982 - bought flat for pounds 19,950, sold for pounds 26,950.

1985 - bought terrace for pounds 29,950, sold for pounds 36,000.

1986 - bought terrace end for pounds 40,000, sold for pounds 75,000.

1989 - bought "ruin" for pounds 60,000, sold for pounds 95,000.

1992 - bought bungalow for pounds 70,000, sold for pounds 86,500.

1995 - bought four-bed detached for pounds 79,000, sold for pounds 92,000 in 1998.

If you would like your moves to be featured write to: Nic Cicutti, Stepping Stones, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. pounds 100 will be awarded for the best story printed by 31 March

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

    £23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

    Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

    £14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

    Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower