Stepping Stones

One Couple's Property Story
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The Independent Online

David and Diana Foulger bought their first home in 1978. "Prices were going up weekly. We saw it and posted the deposit through the estate agent's letterbox later that day," remembers David.

David and Diana Foulger bought their first home in 1978. "Prices were going up weekly. We saw it and posted the deposit through the estate agent's letterbox later that day," remembers David.

They paid £11,000 for a two-year-old semi in Silverend, Essex, near to where they now live, six purchases later. "We seem to have come full circle," says David. Their houses have all been new, which wasn't their original intention: "The idea was to buy somewhere olde-worlde, but we couldn't bear the thought of ripping it apart."

In 1981 they sold their home for £22,000, and paid £28,750 for a brand-new, three-bedroom detached property in Malden, Essex. What is it like buying new-build? "The idea is nice until you get in touch with reality. There's a lot of dust, and they always have a few faults," warns David.

Three years later they sold for £33,000 and bought a four-bed property for £53,250, just 500 yards away - "same estate, same builders". The mortgage increase was steep: "At the time it scares you to death."

The couple extended into a five-bedroom home and lived here, while their children were growing up, until 1993: "It was ideal and we stayed until my company relocated to Lincoln." At one point their home was worth £150,000 - "we rejected an offer of £145,000" - but by the time they sold its value had dropped to £100,000.

They bought a two-bed house nearby for £45,000, from where David commuted to Lincolnshire for 10 months until work took him to Berkshire. Their children, by now grown, didn't want to move. "We chucked them in the small house and the idea was that they'd rent it - but we only got the first month," says David.

They bought a three-bed show home in Warfield, Berkshire, so they could leave their Essex house furnished for their children. But their show home held some surprises: "There's a lot of deceit in the size of the furniture to make it look bigger. The bed was only 4ft wide."

After David's company went bust, he decided to strike out on his own. They sold their home for £115,000 and returned to Essex, where they sold their small house to their children for the purchase price and bought a new, four-bed home for £130,000. "I think you should try to maintain some equity in your property," says David.

They were back in Essex but the location wasn't ideal: "It was near a ring road and we got fed up with the noise." Upkeep was also a problem and they sold for £170,000. For £140,000 they bought a new, two-bedroom home from Countryside after failing to find an old character cottage: "It's like the old cottage you've always wanted, except it's new."

The Foulgers plan "a few little luxuries" for their new home, which is small enough to leave for a time should, in the future, they decide to rent abroad. Permanent exile isn't for David: "There's only so many times you can play golf."

Those moves in brief:

1978: bought first home for £11,000, sold for £22,000.

1981: bought three-bed home for £28,750, sold for £33,000.

1984: bought four-bed house for £53,250, sold for £100,000.

1993: bought two-bed house for £45,000, sold to children for £45,000 in 1997.

1993: bought show home for £100,000, sold for £115,000.

1997: bought Essex house for £130,000, sold for £170,000.

2000: bought Countryside home at The Stowe, Braintree, for £140,000.

If you would like your moves to be featured e-mail ginetta@dircon.co.uk or write to: Jackie Hunter, Stepping Stones, The Independent, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL

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