Three factors influenced their leap from rented to privately owned property: "Space, financial ability and commuting distance." They chose Brixton, south London, because of its transport links and, despite the financial constraints of starter teachers' salaries, found many choices among the multiple renovations of the time.
In 1983 Marie and Jay paid pounds 25,000 for a two-bedroom, first floor flat which "seemed astronomical then" and enjoyed Brixton life: "There was a great community feel, people of all ages had moved in and were doing up their homes."
Speedy promotions meant "ridiculous amounts of travelling" for Marie and Jay who both wanted a house with a garden. A friend had moved south, to Catford, so Marie and Jay focused their search there.
By 1988 prices were at an "absolute peak". Their Brixton flat sold for pounds 74,000 producing a "huge amount of capital" but despite increasing their mortgage they couldn't find much for under pounds 90,000.
Eventually they paid pounds 87,000 for a double-fronted Victorian conversion on three levels which was "bigger than any house we'd seen". They invested time and money renovating, installing a new kitchen and central heating.
Marie and Jay had their first son and were happy until a combination of factors inspired restlessness. Jay wanted promotion and Marie, tiring of the 30-minute drive to the park, wanted nearby facilities. Having "neighbours from hell" confirmed their desire for a better quality of life outside London.
In 1992 Jay accepted a new post in Staffordshire and they sold for just pounds 60,000 but Marie is philosophical: "In the end it was only money. We came out with nothing but we'd had years in a beautiful home."
Marie and Jay paid pounds 86,000 for a Victorian four-bedroom, detached house in a quiet street in Burton upon Trent. The house has a mature garden for their two sons and, importantly for Marie, a "ginormous" kitchen.
"Money has never been our incentive," says Marie. "It's important for us to be together as a family and here we can walk by the river into town and cycle to the library."
THOSE MOVES IN BRIEF
1983 - bought two bedroom Brixton conversion for pounds 25,000 sold for pounds 74,000.
1988 - bought Catford flat for pounds 87,000 sold for pounds 60,000.
1992 - bought four bedroom detached house in Staffordshire for pounds 86,000, now worth pounds 150,000.Reuse content