Property: Stepping Stones, One Couple's Property Story

MANDY EVANS, a TV producer, and her partner Syd - who have bought three properties since 1984 - were the first of their peers to buy, but were surprised at friends' reactions. "One said: `You're really stupid.' They thought we were mad," Mandy remembers.

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

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

    £38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

    Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

    £35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

    Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

    £15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

    Day In a Page

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea