Property: Stepping Stones, One Couple's Property Story
Saturday 13 February 1999
However, their only alternative was a squalid rented flat in Hackney; and Mandy believes that their backgrounds also influenced them: "Our parents had bought, so we thought we should." She admits to a certain naivety about the process: "We were told we could borrow up to pounds 50,000 but we didn't dare; it seemed such a lot of money at the time."
They viewed only two properties and plumped for the second, a converted, ground-floor two-bedroom flat, overlooking Hackney's main road, which cost pounds 38,000. The flat, in a listed building, had certain advantages: "It was close to friends and the flower market and near a good pub and fish-and-chip shop. There was even a bingo club if I got desperate," Mandy recalls.
The couple lived there for six years but found the community feeling starting to fade: "We were burgled and my car was broken into every Friday night because of the disco-pubs."
Finally, a combination of the flower market's popularity - "you couldn't move on Sunday mornings" - and the mugging of nurses living next door prompted Mandy and Syd to move. They sold their flat for pounds 87,000, "to a reporter from The Sun, which made it even better," and moved to Blackheath. This time they viewed at least 70 properties before settling on a huge top-floor flat in a semi-detached house built in 1790. The property, uninhabited since the great storm of 1987, still bore the scars: "The roof tiles were ripped off and it had flooded. Our friend insisted that a huge stain on the carpet was the result of a murder."
In 1990 they paid pounds 94,000 for the flat, which they loved for its "four big, square rooms".
In 1996 they decided on a second home in the "forgotten" resort of Broadstairs. They paid pounds 39,000 for a two-bedroom flat on the top two floors of a house built in 1800. They now enjoy the benefits of a London flat and a coastal retreat: "It's stretched us, and the dying ferry industry means prices have not risen, but it's worth it."
Those moves in brief...
1984 - bought Hackney flat for pounds 38,000, sold for pounds 87,000.
1990 - bought Blackheath flat for pounds 94,000, now worth around pounds 160,000.
1997 - bought second home in Broadstairs for pounds 39,000. No increase in value.
If you would like your moves featured, write to: Nic Cicutti, Stepping Stones, The Independent, 1 Canada Sq, London E14 5DL. A prize of pounds 100 will be awarded for the best story published before 31 March
Life & Style blogs
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers
Airline food across the classes: Ever wondered what the other half are eating?
Coachella Festival 2015: from Kendall Jenner to Alexa Chung, stars and festival-goers parade their boho best
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
Huawei P8 review: best phones nobody's seen from the biggest company nobody's heard
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...