Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer: You Ask The Questions

Whose house would you most like to pull down? And which area of London really is up-and-coming?

Kirstie Allsopp is the daughter of Lord Hindlip. She became a property agent while working as a journalist, after helping a friend find a flat. She met Phil Spencer, an ex-Marine and property surveyor, in 2001 when she went for a screen test. The meeting resulted in the Channel 4 property show Location, Location, Location, which is now in its eighth series. The pair now also manage their own off-screen property agency, Garrington Home Finders. They both live in London.

Have any of your victims on Location, Location, Location lost oodles of money and blamed you for everything?
Olivia Flint, Grantham

Kirstie: Not as far as we know, touch wood. But it's got to happen at some stage because we're getting towards 100 shows, and no matter how professional you are, you can't have that kind of success rate. I'm waiting for the headline "Kirstie And Phil Ruined My Life". It will happen. Every day the likelihood gets stronger and stronger.

Phil: Fortunately no, not one. In fact, we've been helped by the market moving in our direction, and many of our contributors have made shed loads of money.

Which private residence would you like to pull down?
Penny Bennett, Nottingham

K: Ken Livingstone's house, with him still inside it. I'm violently allergic to him in every respect. The fact that he won't give 24 hours' grace to the congestion charge. The fact that he's extending the congestion charge despite 63 per cent of residents and 77 per cent of businesses being against it. I would do anything to get rid of Ken, short of voting for that idiot Steve Norris. I would certainly stand for mayor and bring down Ken if I thought I had a snowball's chance in hell of winning.

Describe your own homes. How desirable are they?
Louise Powell-Smith, Norwich

P: I absolutely love my house. And I love where it is: Wandsworth Old Town. When I moved house there were only two roads I wanted to live on and I only wanted to live on one side of each of those streets. I got what I wanted.

K: Cosy, somewhat old-fashioned, light and bright and very desirable, because I'm biased. It's kind of small but perfectly formed, and it's in west London. I've lived there six years. I totally refurbished it, and I should have moved on so many times, but I'm too attached to the place. I'm breaking every rule in the book. I'm unattached and financially fluid, and I really should be using this time in my life to build up my property portfolio, and am I heck?

What is the best soundtrack for house renovation?
Louisa Smith, by e-mail

P: I'm the worst person at DIY, so personally I don't have one. I get professionals in. I have put up shelves and I've messed it up. I believe in sticking to what you know and getting specialists in to do what you can't.

K: Probably the soundtrack to Flashdance or Footloose: you need something fast and energetic. Radio 4 is a big thing with me, ideally The Archers omnibus - it would keep me going for ever.

What's the most money you've spent on something for the home? Was it worth it?
Mark Elbourne, Manchester

P: My living-room floor cost about £4,000. It's an old French oak floor. It's a heavy investment, but I love it.

K: I spent £7,000 for the office at the end of my garden, but it was worth every penny. I put it up last March. It's a little green shed made of wood with a little veranda and a huge white K on the roof, which I found in an antique shop.

What was the most shocking discovery you made about yourselves by watching Location, Location, Location?
Stan Alliss, by e-mail

K: I don't watch myself on TV, well at least only from under a cushion, behind the sofa - the same way I used to watch Dr Who.

P: There is always a moment in every programme that makes me wince. I now recognise that I look like my brother when I laugh. I also sound like my dad. I suppose I shouldn't be particularly shocked about either of those, but they're my revelations.

Kirstie, Dead Ringers has suggested that you are, in fact, half-woman, half-Care Bear. How much truth is there in this allegation?
Karen Shields, Macclesfield

K: It amuses my dad no end, even though he doesn't really know what a Care Bear is. It was incredibly well-observed. And the thing about Phil always being dressed for Barbados and me always being dressed for the Baltic is really true.

Did the Blairs buy the right house?
Sean Reddin, London

P: Well, it's certainly a very Tony Blair location - very prestigious - so he got that right. But there are three major problems. Mostly importantly, it's a very expensive family house with no garden. There is only a very limited number of people who would want to buy it. Also, I think there are major security concerns with so many people driving past as well as limited parking.

I've built an extension without planning permission. It's added value to the house, but I'm worried that I'll have to tear it down. What are my chances of getting away with it?
Lisa Baker, London

P: You can apply for retrospective planning permission, but in fact you have severely damaged the value of the house - it is now unmortgageable. It was a massive mistake. It's completely untrue to say it's added value to the house. Your best bet now is to get the paperwork sorted out as soon as possible.

K: It depends on your local authority, but it's unlikely they will waste taxpayers' money forcing you to take it down. Find an architect who's chummy with the local planning office and get him to submit a retrospective application. I'm not a great one for following rules, but in this case you really have to.

Is getting on the property ladder in your twenties more important than spending all your money on shoes and booze?
Harriet Kirby, by e-mail

P: Yes, yes and yes. It's important to get on to the housing ladder, and in order to do that you have to make some sacrifices.

K: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I didn't go to university, and I'm a great advocate of leaving school at 18, staying at home for three years, saving up for a deposit, buying your first home and getting on with it. Particularly with increased student loans. All the stats show that this great push to get people to go to university is absolutely insane.

Which area of London really is up-and-coming?
Laura Tomlinson, Warwick

P: Elephant and Castle is a dead cert. It's in Tube Zone 1 and there will be millions of pounds being spent on developing it over the next 10 years.

K: Shepherd's Bush. Folk have been saying so for 15 years, but now I think it's really true. I live near Shepherd's Bush, but it won't affect me. I remember when Alexandra Shulman wrote in Vogue that Queen's Park was the next place, and I thought, "She lives in Queen's Park!" I really disapprove of that.

Who has the most fans?
Sandra Moore, by e-mail

P: I'd say Kirstie's shoe designer probably has the most fans. I get dribs and drabs of fan letters.

K: Phil, by a long way, for all sorts of reasons that he won't let me go into. He has two fan bases, but if I say any more he'll have my guts for garters....

P: No comment.

'How to Buy a House' by Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp is published by Penguin (£12.99)

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