London couple pay double asking price for dilapidated Shropshire cottage

A London couple have paid almost double the asking price for a tiny run-down rural cottage with no kitchen as they swap city chaos for their dream of the good life in the heart of Shropshire.

The cottage
The cottage

Philip and Dee Rand snapped up the two-bedroom property in a bidding war as a growing clamour to escape to the country sees prices soaring.

The house in an isolated area of the county is in need of complete renovation but boasts stunning views of the historic Wrekin landmark.

When staff at Much Wenlock-based Madeleys Chartered Surveyors put the cottage, in Aston Lane, Aston, up for sale just three weeks ago, they were not expecting the flurry of activity that it attracted.

Described as a "charming, country cottage set within substantial gardens together with a timber-framed barn", the property was put on the market for £200,000 for cash buyers only due to its poor condition.

More than 40 viewings were held and 14 offers were made on the cottage in total, with sealed bids from potential buyers from Bristol, Kent and London, as well as Shropshire.

The winning bid was made by husband and wife Philip and Dee, who offered an undisclosed sum said to be almost double the guide price.

Philip and Dee Rand outside their 'dream' cottage

The couple said today it had secured their “ultimate dream” of living the good life in a quiet rural haven.

National figures show rent and asking prices for rural properties are on the rise while those in town and city centres remain relatively flat.

Experts say city centres have struggled because of the lockdown and people have had more time to think about their choices as they look for a better quality of life.

Dee said every time she thinks about the house she feels like “sunshine inside".

The couple currently live in a three-bedroom property in Greenwich enjoying views of some of London’s most noteworthy landmarks, but they were desperate to swap it for a more peaceful country existence.

“We have a number of allotments. Having our own corner of land in the country has been a dream for some time for us and of course, the current crisis has made it feel a bit more urgent,” said Philip.

Dee, who has ME and has been shielding, said the move was very much a lifestyle choice for them and they had known the minute they viewed the house it was “the one”.

‘We are just over the moon to have secured it,” she added, while recognising they still have a lot of work ahead of them.

The house currently has no kitchen or septic tank.

“I can imagine myself waking up and looking out at the Wrekin and I know it will be a really happy place for us to live," she said.

The cottage had a guide price of £200,000

Philip said they couldn’t wait to get their hands on the keys and get started as they were now eager to leave London.

“There have been a few problems with neighbours and we have grown out of city life," he said.

"We have so many exciting plans for the cottage. Luckily we have friends and contacts who can help us with this next stage of the move and get the right advice and support for the work we need to carry out to turn this house into our dream home for our dream lifestyle.”

Paul Madeley, of Madeleys Chartered Surveyors, said: “Within five minutes of us putting the sign in our window, we had a lady in from Kent who was in Much Wenlock that day looking for a property so she could relocate.

"And as soon as it went onto Rightmove, things went a little crazy. We had more than 60 online enquiries and the phone never stopped.

"More than a third of them were from people down south.

“We believe that Shropshire has become known as a relatively safe county, with an easy commute, and stunning scenery, so it’s easy to see why we’ve had all of the interest.

“It’s in a fantastic location overlooking the Wrekin, and it will be a lovely home once it has been renovated.

"It was also on the market for a relatively low guide price due to the work needed.

"That said, I’ve been amazed at the amount of enquiries we’ve had in. The phone didn’t stop, it’s been staggering.

“We were able to hold proper viewings - all staggered and Covid safe of course, with strict social distancing measures in place.

“To get almost the double the guide price was astonishing. What’s made it all the more incredible is that the cottage was cash buyers only because it currently has no kitchen, no septic tank and it needs a complete renovation.

“It’s definitely an effect that the pandemic has had. People are looking to move out of cramped cities and into rural homes with more land.

"They are able to get more for their money and given the home working situation, the commute is no longer the biggest factor.

“People are also looking to capitalise on the reduction in stamp duty before it goes back up again in March.”

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