House Hunter: 'I want to be near work and the Tube'

International PR executive Stephen Morgan, 35, wants to sell his three- bedroomed house in Brixton and buy a property near his work in Spitalfields. His budget is around £550,000
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The Independent Online

"I've been trying to sell my three- bedroomed house in Brixton for three months. I've had several offers, but they have all been from people who are unable to sell their properties. I like Brixton, but I want to be nearer to work and I don't have a car so need good transport links.

"The areas I've been thinking about have been Shoreditch, or Spitalfields itself. The southern side of Islington also appeals, perhaps near King's Cross, or Kennington - but I'm worried that this area does not really have much of a heart.

"I was originally thinking about a loft conversion, but don't really want anything that is dark or has no outside space or has high service charges. My current home is a Victorian terrace, and perhaps another house would suit me; maybe a larger, Georgian terrace? I'd like room to have somewhere I could exercise, and some office space.

"I restored my current house, which was a difficult process, so I'd rather not do that again. I need help in what to do about my sale and some guidance on area and type of property. I don't want to have to move again in a few years and am wondering if, for investment purposes, it would be even better to buy two flats?"

MICHAEL'S ADVICE

"As far as Stephen's sale goes, I don't think he should panic and change his agent or his asking price. The agent seem to be getting the right types of people round to view who are making offers, and it's not their fault if these keep coming to nothing as this is extremely common with the market at the moment. There are still many vendors out there who are not being realistic and there are also many people making offers that are considerably below the asking price. But there has been a lot of activity within recent weeks and things are improving.

"I would suggest that, whatever offer Stephen accepts, he should keep his house on the market and should continue to show it in case things fall through . He must also make it clear to any potential purchaser that this is what he's doing - it's vitally important.

"Stephen is quite right about Kennington not having a heart, but it is close to the river frontage and to Southwark, where there's a lot of regeneration, so I believe it has a lot of potential, and there are great transport links. King's Cross in my opinion still has a fair to way to go yet, but that's a matter of personal taste. Islington has seen great strides over the past 10 years - what we call "the Blair factor" - but prices have risen accordingly.

"I would strongly suggest that Stephen considers Clerkenwell, which is an area where you can get some interesting loft spaces that do not look straight out onto a brick wall, as so many do, and that give you more light and space for your money.

"Stephen must narrow down his area considerably and then make good contacts with agents. It is an impossible task for either a search agent or an individual to keep up with new properties coming on all the time in a range of areas.

"As for property style, I think it will be hard for Stephen to find many Georgian houses within his budget, as they tend to be very expensive. I also don't think he sounds as though he wants to give up light, space or any of his other requirements, so realistically buying two flats, however good an investment, is not really going to be an option."

Michael Chetwood is a home- search agent: 020-7622 5314

Property one: The Canal Building, Shepherdess Walk, Hoxton, N1

Price: £595,000 Agent: Thomson Currie, Islington, 020-7354 5224 Agent's details: A stunning 1,400sq ft, two-bedroom duplex penthouse with sweeping views of the Grand Union Canal in this sought-after block, located midway between Angel and Old Street stations. This stylishly designed apartment boasts double-height living areas, superb bathroom suites, a high-quality German kitchen with Maytag American fridge/freezer, galleried master bedroom, huge terrace and secure underground parking space.

Property two: Pearson Street, Hoxton, E2

Price: £375,000 Agent: Thomson Currie, Clerkenwell 020-7251 5666 Agent's details: This three-bedroomed character home has generous living space and well-proportioned rooms. The property still has some of the original features, typical of the early Victorian period. The solid oak floors are a feature, as is the sympathetic decor. Could benefit from a little modernisation. Trendy Hoxton and Shoreditch are nearby. This property is also close to the site of the proposed Hoxton Tube station.

Property three: Banner Street, Clerkenwell, EC1

Price: £549,950

Agent: Thomson Currie, Clerkenwell, 020-7251 5666 Agent's details: A 1711sq ft, two-bedroom loft apartment located in an attractive turn-of-the-century print works. This fantastic space offers masses of industrial style, windows to the south and north, a fully fitted kitchen, individual bathroom and masses of storage space. Bedroom two has been fitted out as a home office. Features include exposed brickwork, steel pillars and supports, wood floors and a small terrace. Banner Street is just a short walk to Barbican and Old Street Tube stations and is also close to the City and to nightlife.

STEPHEN'S VERDICT

"I think property one is too much of a compromise on space, but two sounds intriguing. I like the idea of a house with character that still has room for improvement, but I would want to know that the East London line is definite before considering this location, which is quite far from a Tube station.

"Number three sounds right in terms of location and space and is the most interesting. I'm feeling confident about my own sale and don't feel I have to act quickly to nab my 'dream house', but as soon as it's sold, I will definitely narrow my area. Another key point for me is to decide on the compromise between open space and a property's character."

If you would like House Hunter's help, write to House Hunter, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail househunter@independent.co.uk

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