Property: Stepping Stones

One couple's property story

ROBERT AND Sheila Pearl's story spans 42 years and eight purchases.

After marrying in 1957 they rented a "crumbling Victorian flat" in Leicester; but a year later, with a baby on the way, the couple decided that it was time to buy.

"Fond dreams of a thatched cottage soon gave way to reality," remembers Robert, and their compromise was a three-year-old semi in a nearby village, bought for pounds 1,750. By 1961, and baby number three's arrival, a job in London meant another move. Again their hopes were dashed: "More fond dreams of a larger house for our expanding family evaporated in the face of inflated prices compared with Leicester."

Somewhat predictably, an agent told them that they would never recoup their purchase price: "We dumbfounded him and sold for pounds 2,025." They then searched further than London, balancing housing against commuting costs, until they settled on a 1930s three-bedroomed semi in Tonbridge, Kent, bought for pounds 3,250.

The next few years saw the Pearls on the move around the country. A promotion meant a quick sale for pounds 3,750 and the purchase of a detached chalet in Basingstoke for pounds 5,500. Baby number four's arrival brought a need for more space and coincided with another promotion, this time in Hertfordshire.

In 1968, they sold for pounds 6,300 and for pounds 8,750 bought a four-bedroomed detached 1930s house in St Albans. "It was a case of buy in haste, repent at leisure," says Robert, as they unearthed problems including damp, and metal frames which fell out when they opened the windows.

By 1970 they had had enough, so they sold the house for pounds 9,250 "to an unsuspecting purchaser", and for pounds 10,000 bought a five-bedroomed 1880s house in Fleet, Hampshire: "I made an offer which the agent said was too low to put forward, but a month later I got a call to say it was accepted."

They were unwilling to repeat their earlier mistake, and a full survey revealed the house's requirements. They set about restoration, tackling electrics, plumbing, redecoration and, when funds allowed, central heating, at a total cost of around pounds 3,000. But in 1977 a leaking roof, which they had no means of repairing, forced a sale at pounds 26,000.

In its place they bought a Fifties-built house where they stayed until 1985. When three of their four children left home, the Pearls "downsized" to a three-bedroomed cottage in the sought-after Hampshire village of Odiham. Child number four left "after the move interrupted his social life", leaving the Pearls to enjoy life together.

But instead of peace they discovered a damp problem, not revealed by a survey, which they failed to eradicate over the next seven years. "This, coupled with a hostile native, persuaded us that life elsewhere would be more comfortable."

So in 1992 they sold to a young couple for pounds 123,000, "having made them fully aware of the damp problem", and bought a 1960s house for pounds 109,000.

Here the couple still live surrounded by "friendly neighbours aged 0- 70" and a large nature reserve: "As long as we can manage the stairs, we'll stay." They estimate the house's value at pounds 165,000.

Ginetta Vedrickas:

Those moves in brief

1958 Bought Leicester semi for pounds 1,750, sold for pounds 2,025.

1961 Bought Tonbridge semi for pounds 3,250, sold for pounds 3,750.

1963 Bought Basingstoke chalet for pounds 5,500, sold for pounds 6,300.

1968 Bought St Albans four-bed for pounds 8,750, sold for pounds 9,250.

1970 Bought 1880s house for pounds 10,000, sold for pounds 26,000.

1977 Bought four-bed for pounds 28,500, sold for pounds 84,000.

1985 Bought Victorian cottage for pounds 88,000, sold for pounds 123,000.

1992 Bought 1960s detached for pounds 109,000, now worth pounds 165,000.

If you would like your moves featured write to: Nic Cicutti, Stepping Stones, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. pounds 100 for the best story printed by 30 June

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Audit Manager Central Functions

To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...

Credit Risk Audit Manager

Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week