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Wednesday, 21 March 2018
The far end of Greys Road is our destination this week, as LUCY BOON takes a tour of a new home that offers an opportunity — if you’re a savvy buyer
NEW homes are enduringly popular, and it’s no surprise. Aside from the obvious benefit of the home being brand new and you being the only person to have lived in it, buying a new home has a whole host of advantages which many of us often overlook.
Lifestyle plays a role. Some come with gyms, cinema rooms and a host of other features to tempt you — as this week’s property does.
And don’t forget, there won’t be any wear and tear from the previous owners and the appliances will all be brand new. The same goes for walls, flooring and work surfaces.
In fact, most new homes in the UK are covered by a 10-year home warranty and insurance guarantee. This provides owners with protection against a range of eventualities, including construction.
But probably the most important point to remember, in this year of a slow-moving property market, is that a new home is chain-free. Important when you consider that there are only about 16 weeks left until Christmas — most people’s goalpost for a move this year.
Indeed, the property chain is one of the biggest concerns when buying or selling a home.
Being new means the home doesn’t come with all the complications of someone else’s deal falling through and delaying the process.
So you can certainly consider all of these benefits when looking at large and luxurious Long Acre, which is one of the last houses at the very far end of Greys Road, as you leave Henley for Rotherfieid Greys. It’s been reduced in price, too.
Spread over four floors, one of which has been dug under the house — in effect giving you a brand new basement floor, which has a second access from the back garden — this is a development which has many positives.
The design includes a large living room with a stone fireplace, a kitchen with vaulted roof and bi-fold doors to the garden entertaining area, and nice-to-have extras such as a Nuvo sound system (a multi-room audio system to you and me), a temperature-controlled wine cellar, an indoor swimming pool, a cinema room... I could keep going but it’s best to see it for yourselves in the flesh.
There are also five double bedrooms with en suites, as well as the master suite.
The pièce de résistance, though, is the garden — a whole acre, which is bordered and backed by trees, and which makes you feel like you’re somewhere rural.
And yet it is only a 15- to 20-minute downhill walk to Henley train station, the town centre and the river.
Sounds great, no? So why hasn’t this house sold? To be frank, it has a bit of an identity crisis.
It seems we have an Ascot house in Henley.
Which makes for quite an opportunity, if you’re a savvy buyer who can appreciate the potential of a high quality new-build that perhaps needs a bit of fine tuning.
Standard Property thinks Long Acre would probably suit downsizers who are used to a certain kind of lifestyle.
Or a power couple (they’ll like the underground pool and gym) who have had no time to have children just yet.
Certainly, it’s the right size for a family, and family homes are more in demand than ever.
But what does a family look for when they’re house-hunting? The basic nuts and bolts would be lots of bedrooms and bathrooms, a garage and a decent-sized garden.
If you’re lucky, it’s not far to amenities, and it’s in a picturesque location.
Along with all of the above, plus school catchment is good, Long Acre fits the bill.
So yes, the boxes have been ticked and then some.
But Standard Property strongly suspects that things will need to be negotiated before a deal can be done.
Just a few pointers — Standard Property would want replace the new stair rail (at the moment it’s wrought iron railings, more akin to a Portugese villa), add a welcoming stair runner and home-making rugs, as well as marrying décor to the fixed materials.
Having said that, personal taste is paramount and a description on a website or brochure is no substitute for seeing a house in person.
You really need to see Long Acre at first hand — and talk things over with Henley’s many experienced estate agents, who know the Henley market well — to appreciate what’s on offer here.
Standard Property is even wondering if perhaps the kitchen area would benefit from a visit from an architect, who could solve the issue of the small kitchen/family area.
A lower priced fix would be to improve the work surface area, which is too small for a house of this price and size, and replace the two mini-sinks with something more family-oriented.
A top-of-the-budget solution would be to improve the ground floor look and layout at the back, possibly replacing the French doors with bi-folds, and softening the child-hazardous outdoor staircase to the basement.
Pertinently, increasing the size of the kitchen/family room area — the most important space in a family house — would go a long way towards fine-tuning this luxurious house. This would also serve to make more of the garden/entertaining space.
So if you’re savvy, and able to see how a bit of fine-tuning can change something into an exciting space to live, Long Acre could be the dream house you long for.
Long Acre is for sale with Knight Frank at a guide price of £2,950,000. For more information and to arrange a viewing, call (01491) 844900.
At a glance
LONG ACRE, GREYS ROAD, HENLEY
Reception rooms: three
Extras: wine cellar, laundry room with linen lift, gym, changing rooms with shower, steam room, heated indoor swimming pool with reflective ceiling, cinema room, garage, and a whole lot more
Land: one acre
Space: 5513 sq ft / 512 sq m
Guide price: £2,950,000
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