When the coronavirus pandemic hit, ME sufferer Dee Rand had no choice but stay inside her London home and shield.
The lockdown prompted the 50-year-old and her driving instructor husband, Philip, 49, to re-evaluate their city life in true Escape To The Country fashion.
So when they spotted a tiny, run-down, isolated two-bedroom cottage for sale 200 miles away in Shropshire, they knew they had to have it. Unfortunately, it seems, dozens of others had the same idea.
A bidding war broke out and it was more like Homes Under The Hammer as the Rands ended up paying almost double the £200,000 asking price.
Dee Rand, 50, and her husband Philip, 49, are thrilled with their new home in Shropshire, which they bought for almost double the £200,000 asking price
The house, an isolated, two-bedroom cottage, is in need of a complete renovation and has no kitchen or septic tank
Despite the needed improvements, a bidding war broke out over the property, with many apparently seeking to flee cities for the country life during the ongoing pandemic
The house, which has no kitchen and is in need of a complete renovation, is in the hamlet of Aston, six miles east of Telford.
Described as a 'charming country cottage set within substantial gardens together with a timber-framed barn', it has stunning views of the Wrekin, a 1,335ft hill.
Due to its poor condition, the property was put on the market for cash buyers only. However, within hours of Madeleys Chartered Surveyors advertising it for sale at £200,000, enquiries began flooding in to their Much Wenlock office.
Within three weeks, more than 40 people requested a viewing and 14 put in offers – with sealed bids from as far afield as Bristol and Kent.
Due to its poor condition, the property was put on the market for cash buyers only. However, within hours of Madeleys Chartered Surveyors advertising it for sale at £200,000, enquiries began flooding in to their Much Wenlock office
Within three weeks, more than 40 people requested a viewing and 14 put in offers – with sealed bids from as far afield as Bristol and Kent
Yesterday Mr and Mrs Rand, who live in a three-bed semi in Greenwich, south-east London, said buying the cottage would fulfil their 'ultimate dream' of the good life.
Mrs Rand who suffers from ME – myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome – said she knew the minute they viewed the cottage it was 'the one'.
'We are just over the moon to have secured it,' she said. '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.'
Mr Rand said: 'Having our own corner of land in the country has been a dream for some time. Of course, the current crisis has made it feel a bit more urgent. We have grown out of city life. We have so many exciting plans for the cottage.'
The house has stunning views of the Wrekin, a 1,335ft hill that is a well-known local landmark [File photo]
Prices for rural properties have soared during the pandemic as people have had time to ponder their quality of life while realising they do not need to live in a city if they can work living from home.
Paul Madeley, managing director of Madeleys, said: 'Things went a little crazy. It was 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.
'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 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.'
'Queen is evicting us over a £32 bill,' couple living on the Crown Estate say
A couple have been evicted from their home of five years on the Crown Estate for charging their electric car at the property.
Christopher Brown, 33, and Daisy Bow Du Toit, 31, were told in October to leave home in Royal Mews, Hampton Court before Christmas.
The couple, whose rent is £1,175 a month, ran up the estimated £32 bill charging their VW eGolf.
The couple: Christopher Brown (left), 33, and Daisy Bow Du Toit (right), 31
During lockdown, the couple resorted to a plug at home in a communal boiler room so they could look for work for Miss Du Toit, who lost her job as a carer.
Mr Brown, a design engineer, said: ‘We immediately wrote a letter of apology. I said I could pay for it and any fine.’ Miss Du Toit added: ‘The Queen has evicted us from our home.’
A spokesman said the Royal Household terminates tenancies ‘very rarely and only in exceptional circumstances’.