Stepping Stones: One Woman's Property Story

IN THE Seventies, Marion Gray and her then husband bought several properties in Sunbury on Thames, Middlesex. But it was in 1985 that her real property story began when, aged 42, divorced and with no financial settlement, she determined to help herself: "I used my home, my only asset, to turn my life around from one with an extremely bleak future and even bleaker retirement, into a future I could look forward to with optimism."

She first bought a house for pounds 55,000, with a mortgage of pounds 20,000. Marion also had a son in a relationship that failed. For the next five years she struggled: "I tried to juggle work and childcare but by December 1989, having increased my loan to pounds 40,000, my financial situation was critical."

Now 46, Marion had no means of repaying her mortgage and funding a pension. Recession meant her house was falling in value: "I jumped before I was pushed." In 1990 she sold for pounds 95,000 and after much searching, saw a three-bedroomed house, under offer but still on the market at pounds 95,000. When the sale fell through Marion found the agreed price had been just pounds 80,500. She made the same offer via the current agent who scoffed - but it was accepted: "I knew then that, although I was buying a property for less money, it was pretty level in value."

After improvements, Marion sold in 1996 for pounds 100,000 but her financial situation, although easier now her son was at school, was not secure: "I still had a mortgage and no provision for a pension." Later that year she saw a scruffy house nearby for pounds 85,000. Her own house was valued at pounds 105,000 and Marion realised that, by selling and moving down the road, she could wipe out her pounds 10,000 mortgage. With no mortgage, Marion was free to concentrate on renovating.

Her work paid off and in 1998 she sold for pounds 145,000. She scanned the property pages until she found a house in Addlestone, Surrey, again needing work and again already under offer. When this sale fell through Marion's offer of pounds 120,000, the full asking price, was accepted and after a traumatic contract race she completed in June 1998.

The house was recently valued at pounds 175,000 and, with no mortgage, Marion believes that her pension is secure. She has this advice: "Anyone can reduce their mortgage by getting a better house for less money and by not spending much on it. You don't need expensive kitchens and you can decorate yourself. Against all advice, people said I'd never do it, I've got a fantastic house and no mortgage."

Marion's story is not finished: "I won't stop now. I'm always on the lookout - and it's a trip round the world next."

Those moves in brief

1970s: several houses bought with former husband.

1985: bought Weybridge house for pounds 55,000, sold for pounds 95,000.

1990: bought three-bed Victorian terrace, pounds 80,500, sold for pounds 100,000.

1996: bought semi with garage, pounds 85,000, sold for pounds 145,000.

1998: bought detached house, pounds 120,000, now worth pounds 175,000.

If you'd like your moves to be featured write to: Ian Griffiths, Stepping Stones, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. pounds 100 for the best story printed by 30 September

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
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: Business Manager

    £32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

    Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

    £25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

    Day In a Page

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones