PROPERTY expert Phil Spencer has come to the rescue of Huddersfield’s sluggish housing market.
Phil, who presents the Channel 4 TV programme Secret Agent, has been in town helping to shift houses that have failed to sell.
Over the last couple of weeks Phil has been filming around the area helping people in Marsden, Longwood and Fixby make their homes more saleable.
Phil has gone into three homes and advised the vendors on simple and cost-effective ways to attract buyers and – hopefully – clinch a sale.
The three homes, which will be featured in the programme in the New Year, are in Meltham Road, Marsden; Ballroyd Lane, Longwood and Netheroyd Hill Road, Fixby.
Deep Dale, a stone-built three-bedroomed semi, is the Marsden home of Malcolm Lock, 65, and wife Muriel, 75.
The couple want to downsize to a bungalow but the house has been on the market for three years – and that’s where Phil comes in.
The idea behind the programme is that Phil goes through a property with a buyer’s eye and recommends changes.
After the makeover an open day is organised to woo potential buyers and invite back people who previously rejected it.
Mr Lock said the couple had nothing to lose by inviting Phil in, adding: “I watch the programme quite often so I knew what to expect.
“The house has been on the market for three years, which is a long time.
“We have had plenty of people viewing it over that time and they’ve all been interested, but they’ve had their own house to sell.
Phil hit the nail on the head for us.
“He said the reason we hadn’t sold was mainly the state of the market but also said our house needed a bit of updating.”
That updating involved getting rid of flowery and patterned carpets and replacing them with neutral colours, laying a laminate floor in the kitchen-diner and swapping fussy curtains for modern blinds.
The couple were also told to ‘de-clutter’ – put away ornaments, pictures and photos – and add some smart accessories such as mirrors and cushions.
The TV company gave Mr Lock a budget of £900 but the couple had to pay for the flooring and carpets themselves.
The house is on the market for £160,000 but people will have to wait until the programme airs to find out if Phil’s advice has paid off.
Concrete mixer driver David Wadsworth, 60, was also subject to Phil’s property wisdom.
Mr Wadsworth wants to sell his three-bedroomed weaver’s cottage in Longwood and start a new life running a country B&B with partner Lynda Chappell, who is also selling her Almondbury home.
Mr Wadsworth admitted his home, on the market for six months, had been “neglected” and his makeover turned into a bigger project.
As well as decorating and laying new carpets and flooring, Mr Wadsworth went further and put in central heating and double glazing, spending £10,000 in total.
“I did a lot more than Phil expected,” he said. “It was a brilliant experience if a little stressful.”
The final property featured was Jean Conway’s four-bedroomed bungalow in Fixby.
Mrs Conway, 65, had to neutralise some ‘individual’ colour choices.
The black lounge carpet with dark brown and fawn circles had to go along with the yellow and red bedroom.
“I loved that carpet but I can see it’s not everybody’s taste,” said Mrs Conway.
“As for the bedroom, it was horrible! My son painted that when he lived with me.
“It was a great experience and I’m hoping the house will sell before the programme goes out in the New Year.”